Wenger looking for payback against Saints

LONDON • Arsene Wenger will hope his Arsenal side can put a disappointing January behind them and get their Premier League title challenge back on track at home to Southampton today.

Wenger's team won just one of their four league games last month - a run that means they will head into the latest round of fixtures in third place, three points adrift of leaders Leicester City.

The weekend's FA Cup fourth-round victory over Burnley helped draw a line under the disappointing home league defeat by Chelsea six days previously, which raised questions about the Gunners' consistency.

Alexis Sanchez and Francis Coquelin could start, as Arsenal look to use a third successive home game to avenge the crushing 0-4 defeat they suffered at Southampton on December 26.

"They gave us a tough game last time and we have to put that right," Wenger told a press conference yesterday. "It is a very important time in the season as we go into big, big games and have 13 matches to go.

"They were dominant in the challenges and the duels. We just came out of a very tough game at Manchester City, and maybe didn't have the urgency to cope with that. We were a bit unlucky with three goals on the decisions of the referee as well. The message (this time) is that we play at home and we want to put things right and put a strong performance in because the strength we show at home now in the remaining games can be decisive."

Sanchez and Coquelin both made their first starts in two months against Burnley at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday and their returns could hardly have been better timed.

"It's a big month for us," added Wenger. "I am quite confident, having everybody available, that we can do very well."

Southampton head to north London on the back of three successive wins, including a 1-0 victory at Manchester United last time out. That run has revived the club's hopes of forcing their way back into contention for a Europa League place.

The Saints begin the week in eighth place, four points off the European qualifying positions.

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ARSENAL V SOUTHAMPTON

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 02, 2016, with the headline 'Wenger looking for payback against Saints'. Print Edition | Subscribe