FOOTBALL: Match Of The Weekend - Southampton v Arsenal Last season: 1-3

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The Independent Online
ARSENAL FEAR a double Dutch blow could hit their Premiership title hopes with Dennis Bergkamp ruled out of today's trip to Southampton and Marc Overmars rated "a serious doubt."

Bergkamp and Overmars played in Holland's midweek friendly against Argentina. Bergkamp managed only 75 minutes and was taken ill in the night after the game with a virus that has kept him out of training since. Overmars, who played for just an hour, had to come off with the pain of infected blisters on both feet.

"You can see why I'm not a fan of international football, especially friendly matches at this time of year," said the Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger, who is already without the suspended Frenchman Emmanuel Petit for the next three games.

The reserve goalkeeper Alex Manninger has added to Wenger's woes after dislocating a wrist in training - stopping a shot from David Seaman as they practised together. The young Austrian is out for the season and 38-year-old John Lukic takes over as deputy on the bench.

Bergkamp's absence tomorrow is likely to give the Nigerian striker Nwankwo Kanu only his second Arsenal start although Frenchman Kaba Diawara is also in contention. Fredrik Ljungberg, fresh from his winning goal for Sweden against Poland in midweek, is likely to come in for Petit as Stephen Hughes is only just out of plaster after fracturing an arm.

The good news is that the captain, Tony Adams, looks a certain starter following six days of rest for his troublesome back which forced him to drop out of England's game last week.

The Southampton manager, Dave Jones, has a selection crisis with five first team squad members missing either through injury or suspension. Goalkeeper Paul Jones and midfield player Matthew Oakley are injured while Matthew Le Tissier, Chris Marsden and Hassan Kachloul are suspended.

Ken Monkou, the Saints defender, believes Arsenal will still find it tough against his struggling side, whose home form remains the key to their Premiership survival hopes.

"We are unbeaten in our last five games at The Dell and we've not lost at home so far this year," Monkou said. "Teams don't seem to find it easy coming to The Dell to play and that's the way we like it."

Mark Hughes is expected to return to midfield while the Latvian striker Marians Pahars, 22, is expected to make his debut.

SOUTHAMPTON (from): Moss, Dodd, Colleter, Monkou, Lundekvam, Ripley, M Hughes, D Hughes, Bridge, Ostenstad, Beattie, Pahars, Oakley, Hirst, Hiley, Benali, Gibbens, Stensgaard.

ARSENAL (from): Seaman, Dixon, Keown, Adams, Winterburn, Ljungberg, Parlour, Vieira, Kanu, Vivas, Overmars, Anelka, Diawara, Bould, Grimandi, Boa Morte, Lukic (GK).

Suspensions: Southampton: Le Tissier, Marsden, Kachloul. Arsenal: E Petit.

Referee: P Jones

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