Theo Walcott says Arsenal are determined to get their title challenge back on track by avenging their Boxing Day hammering at Southampton.
The Gunners haven’t recorded a win in the Premier League for a month and know that three points are vital on Tuesday night if they’re to keep up the pressure on top two, Leicester and Manchester City.
Reflecting on the threat posed by Ronald Koeman’s in-form squad, who ran out 4-0 winners at St Mary’s, Walcott spoke of the need to defend well.
“We need to be aware of their threat going forward,” he told Arsenal Player.
“How they press from the front is very good and as soon as we get past that first press, I’m sure we can cause all sorts of problems with the attacking threat we have.
“We need to put this right. We haven’t won for a couple of games in the league so we need to get back to winning and make things right.
“It’s going to be a tough game, as every game is, but there’s a lot on this one.”
Walcott’s wariness is echoed by Arsene Wenger who says his defenders will have to shackle the threat of Southampton’s attackers, led by new boy Charlie Austin.
Austin, who signed from QPR last month for £4 million, marked his debut with a headed winner as a substitute at Manchester United.
“I was surprised that he wasn’t bought sooner and that he was quite a bargain when you look at his price,” the manager said of Austin’s switch.
“He made the difference when he came on against Manchester United on a corner.
“Charlie Austin can score goals and he is another player who has come out of the lower leagues and has done extremely well.
“Southampton are a team who has the quality, because they also have players like Tadic, Mane, Shane Long and Pelle, who are very dangerous going forward. For us it’s important to keep them quiet and to turn up with high pace in our game.”
Southampton come into the match as the division’s second most in-form team behind Sp*rs. With Gunners’ confidence a little fragile it’s going to be a very tough test, although we can at least take heart from our home record against the visitors who’ve only beaten us on our own patch once in 21 attempts.
That should jinx it.