Mikel Arteta says Arsenal and Southampton are hurting ahead of Hampshire clash
Neither team is in good recent form going into the Premier League contest.
Mikel Arteta believes both Arsenal and Southampton will be “hurting” ahead of the Premier League meeting between the sides at St Mary’s on Saturday.
Arsenal had been on an impressive run and boosted their chances of finishing in a coveted top four spot having lost just once in 11 games before they suffered successive defeats against Crystal Palace and Brighton.
Southampton, however, are without a win in their last five matches and were hammered 6-0 at home by Chelsea in the last round of fixtures.
Arteta believes both sides will be feeling the effects of recent defeats.
“I think you are going to see two teams that are hurting,” the Arsenal manager said.
I think you are going to see two teams that are hurting
“We are hurting because of the last two games and we want to perform and win and I am sure after the home defeat that they had they want to do the same.”
The Gunners’ north London rivals Tottenham currently sit in fourth spot, three points clear of Arteta’s side having played one game more going into the weekend’s fixtures.
However the Arsenal manager insisted that the club’s long-term aim is not solely focused on securing a place in the Champions League.
“I think it’s related to our history, we want to not be fourth but third, second, or first and that’s what we have to do and that’s always within every supporter and anyone who has any connection with the club,” Arteta said.
“So the moment that you see the team doing better and having better aspirations, your tendency is to get excited about it and I think that’s the right reaction.”
Arteta will continue to be without a number of players for the upcoming match.
The manager admitted the current injuries to crucial players had had an impact on the squad.
“At the moment it is not ideal and we knew that towards the end of the season one of the key elements was going to be having the team available and the squad available as much as possible and we have a few issues, with him (Kieran Tierney) and as well with (Takehiro) Tomiyasu.”
On Thomas Partey, he added: “The news that we got after having another assessment…not great, it is not looking very positive (for) his availability this season, but we’ll have to wait and see.
“He is trying to get back as quick as possible but at the moment we are not very optimistic about it.”
As for striker Alexandre Lacazette, he added: “Obviously there are private reasons that I cannot comment on but I have no other team news other than the guys that we have discussed.”
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