Arsenal will attempt to build on their impressive 2-1 win over Manchester City on Monday when they travel to Southampton in the Premier League on Boxing Day.

The Gunners have their sights on first position in the table, but a poor run of form for Southampton has seen them drop into 12th position in the table. 

Arsenal

While Southampton will be looking over their shoulder following a poor run of form, the same cannot be said for Arsenal, who are unbeaten in their last six games in all competitions.

Victory over Man City on Monday moved the Gunners onto 36 points and they are now just two points behind the league leaders Leicester City, who face a tough trip to Liverpool on Boxing Day.

Arsene Wenger's side had a bit of a wobble at the start of November - losing to Bayern Munich and West Bromwich Albion in the league and also dropping points against Tottenham Hotspur, but they have not been beaten since that 2-1 reverse at West Brom.

They managed to qualify for the knockout stage of the Champions League with a 3-0 win in Olympiacos and have since won each of their last three in the league.

Man City and Manchester United are not showing signs of consistency at this stage of the season, while Chelsea appear to be out of the title race. All of those factors should make Arsenal the favourites to win the title, but supporters are still to be convinced due to recent history.

That said, victory at Southampton would set Arsenal up nicely for back-to-back home games against Bournemouth and Newcastle United. Arsenal have lost just one of their last 11 Premier League games against Southampton, but only won one of their last six trips to the Saints.

The Gunners have also only ever lost one Premier League match on Boxing Day - recording 12 wins in the process. No team in 2015 has recorded more points on their travels than Arsenal (38) and they will be the favourites to triumph against an off-colour Southampton.

With players now returning and Wenger expected to strengthen in January, it is an exciting time for the club's supporters.

Recent form: DLDWWW

Recent form (all competitions): WDWWWW 

Southampton

Southampton have somewhat become the masters in the transfer market in recent seasons - managing to replace quality with quality and making sure that they are still competitive in the top half of the table.

Last season, Ronald Koeman's side were spoken about as top-four challengers, but with the mid-point of the season approaching, the Saints currently sit 12th in the table, just six points clear of the relegation zone.

They had to wait until the end of August to record their first league win of the season, but then lost just once in 10 to move to within touching distance of the top four. Their form has been disappointing in recent weeks, however, having failed to record a win in their last five - losing four in the process.

The goals have also dried up in recent weeks, with Koeman's team only finding the back of the net twice in their last five fixtures. It has been a tough run over the last month with games against Stoke City, Manchester City, Crystal Palace and Tottenham Hotspur, but at the start of the season, Southampton would have fancied their chances of pushing for another European finish in the top flight.

Southampton have lost just one of their last seven Premier League games on Boxing Day, however, and they will be attempting to make it successive league wins against Arsenal for the first time since April 1988, having beaten the Gunners 2-0 in their last match in January.

Koeman will once again have to fight off interest in his key players when the winter transfer window opens next month, but the Dutchman insisted on Wednesday that his club would not be selling any of their stars in January.

One of those players, Victor Wanyama, has been strongly linked with a move to Arsenal over the last couple of weeks.

Recent form: WLLDLL

Recent form (all competitions): LLLDLL 

Team News

Southampton have been boosted with the return of Fraser Forster to training, but the 27-year-old goalkeeper will not be fit to face Arsenal.

Jay Rodriguez is also on the sidelines for the home team, but both Shane Long and James Ward-Prowse are pushing for starts.

Should Long be given a spot in the final third, Steven Davis may well be the one that drops out. Wenger, meanwhile, revealed that his injury situation is still the same during a press conference on Wednesday.

Seven senior players remain on the sidelines for the capital side, including Alexis Sanchez, Danny Welbeck and Santi Cazorla.

There are not expected to be too many changes from the clash with Man City, but Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is pushing for a return to the starting XI after playing the final 15 minutes on Monday.

Mesut Ozil will also look to continue his assist record for the season, which currently stands at 15.

24/12/15

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