Premier League preview: Three and easy for Arsenal


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The Independent Football

You won't find a manager with a more positive disposition than Nigel Adkins but even he seems to understand the ominous feeling that accompanies Southampton's efforts in the Premier League up to this point.

The Saints have stood toe to toe with the two Manchester clubs, catching both with a couple of their best punches, only for defensive naivety to be exposed late on, leaving them with nothing. Now a sense of helplessness could consume the Hamsphire newcomers away from the television cameras at Arsenal and the outcome this time might be altogether more resounding.

The sense of occasion will diminish, if only slightly, but the opposition will be no less forgiving. Indeed, if Arsene Wenger's men create the kind of openings that Manchester City spurned on the opening weekend, they could be in a position to take their foot off the gas long before the final whistle.

Four goals is a fair return on the chances Southampton have created across all three matches but now an Arsenal side yet to concede a goal is likely to subject them to a more chastening experience with efficiency of paramount importance ahead of Tuesday's trip to Montpellier in the Champions League.

The Gunners are still seeking their first win at the Emirates after an opening day stalemate with Sunderland but an impressive 2-0 victory last time out at Liverpool eases the pressure somewhat and an injury to visiting left-back Danny Fox offers them an area to exploit.

Fox is struggling to recover from a groin strain, so teenager Luke Shaw could be set to make his league debut, and it could be a real baptism of fire for the 17-year-old with former Southampton academy products Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain raiding down that flank at various points in the afternoon.

All of which considered, you can't really argue with odds-against quotes on Arsenal (-1.5) on the Asian handicap and we're also attracted to odds of 17/2 about Arsenal to win 3-0. It's a scoreline they've dished out to three of the eventual bottom five in each of the past two seasons and we see it as the natural cut-off point when minds will turn to the Stade de la Mosson.

Recommended bets:

2.4pts Arsenal (-1.5) to beat Southampton on the Asian handicap at 9/8 (Betfred)

0.6pts Arsenal to beat Southampton 3-0 at 17/2 (Bet365)