Southampton v Arsenal preview: Gunners face tricky away day
Last Updated: 28/01/17 4:37pm
Arsenal will look to keep their hopes alive of winning the FA Cup for the third time in four seasons when they face Southampton at St Mary's on Saturday (kick-off 5.30pm).
The Gunners have reached 19 FA Cup finals, a joint record with Manchester United and have won 16 of their last 17 ties in the competition.
Southampton, who reached the EFL Cup final on Wednesday after beating Liverpool 2-0 on aggregate, have won their last three games in all competitions, without conceding.
Southampton will be without Virgil van Dijk, James Ward-Prowse and Jay Rodriguez.
Van Dijk, who sustained an ankle injury last Sunday, is set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines after missing Saints' EFL Cup win over Liverpool, while striker Rodriguez suffered a knock to his ankle at Anfield and was forced off at half-time.
Ward-Prowse also hobbled off in the same game and Saturday's match comes too soon for the midfielder. Defender Florin Gardos is edging closer to a return to action after taking part in training this week but is still short of match fitness. Charlie Austin, Jeremy Pied, Matt Targett, Alex McCarthy and Sofiane Boufal all remain injured.
Arsenal welcome Theo Walcott back into their squad.
The England international has been struggling with a calf problem but is now fit to be in contention, while Per Mertesacker (knee) and Mathieu Debuchy (hamstring) have also returned to full training.
Gunners boss Arsene Wenger is likely to rest two or three key players but is without Granit Xhaka, who starts a four-game ban following his red card against Burnley, as well as Mohamed Elneny (international duty) and Santi Cazorla (Achilles).
Southampton could become the first team to knock Arsenal out of both domestic cups in the same season since Manchester United in 1982/83.
Arsenal have progressed from 16 of their 20 FA Cup fourth-round ties under Arsene Wenger, losing only to Leeds (1996/97), Leicester (1999/2000), Bolton (2005/06) and Stoke (2009/10).
Southampton have kept clean sheets in four of their last five games against Arsenal in all competitions.
The Gunners have won their last five away FA Cup matches in a row - they have never won six consecutively in the competition's history.
This is the first FA Cup meeting between Arsenal and Southampton since the 2003 final, which the Gunners won 1-0 courtesy of a Robert Pires goal.
Southampton have never beaten Arsenal in an FA Cup tie (semi-final in 1926/27, sixth Round in 1978/79 and the final in 2002/03).
After losing back-to-back games against Everton and Man City, the Gunners have since gone six games unbeaten in all competitions (W5 D1).
Southampton will be confident after their phenomenal result in the EFL Cup semi-final. They're already at Wembley and I see them causing Arsenal problems. With that in mind, I see this one going to a replay, a replay Arsenal will not want.
PAUL PREDICTS: 1-1 (5/1 with Sky Bet)
Arsenal are favourites at 11/10 to run out victorious at St Mary's while the hosts can be backed at 12/5 to end a successful week with another cup win. Sky Bet are offering Price Boosts on the game with Olivier Giroud to score a brace boosted from 4/1 to a massive 8/1.
Charlie Nicholas has tipped Arsenal to win 3-1 with Aaron Ramsey scoring the first goal - that's a 75/1 shot.