Analysis

FLIP’s Picks In-Play: Southampton vs Arsenal

Written by Sam Hopkinson

Only two teams are in poorer form than Southampton, who boast just a single point from their last five games. The losses of Schneiderlin and Clyne have taken their toll much more than the departures of Lallana and Lovren did. Koeman is unlikely to turn the Saints’ form around against the Gunners who are fresh from beating a rather limp Manchester City. This has home defeat written all over it, but which players are worth adding to your FLIP teams?

DEFENDER

Nacho Monreal

For the second week in a row, Spanish defender Monreal makes our FLIP team picks. We aren’t the only ones to recognise his growing worth to this Arsenal side—Thierry Henry and Jamie Carragher also named the Spaniard in their team of the season so far. 893 FLIP Fantasy Points from 17 league appearances is very impressive too, achieved thanks to Monreal’s ability of holding onto the ball and an excellent passing game—he maintains a pass accuracy of 85% on average. Against Manchester City he was relatively quiet, but it was his defensive work that helped blunt the visitors to such great effect.

MIDFIELDER

Victor Wanyama

One of the few Saints to play well against Spurs last time out, Wanyama faded as the second half wore on. Although Southampton rejected interest in the Kenyan over the summer, it would appear that more than one club will try to sign him in January. Wanyama made 7 tackles in his last game, comfortably more than anyone else on the field, as well as 4 interceptions. Unfortunately the rest of his team couldn’t match his tenacity, and St. Mary’s witnessed yet another defeat. Lucky for Southampton, their opponents are still missing their best central midfield pairing, and could still be vulnerable in the middle of the pitch.

STRIKER

Sadio Mané

Keeping Mané from moving to Manchester United over the summer was one of Southampton’s best bits of transfer business. The Senegalese has grown to be the most potent attacking threat Ronald Koeman can call on, his pace and creativity proving vital. Arsenal won’t relish facing him again, keeping in mind what happened in this fixture last season. Like many Saints players, Mané didn’t have his best game against Spurs last time out, dispossessed 4 times and completing just one dribble successfully.

HONOURABLE MENTION

Mesut Özil

Arguably the second best player in the league right now (after Riyad Mahrez), Özil has been in revelatory form for most of the season. His languid creativity is unlocking defences every single week, with an incredible 15 assists from 16 league starts making him the top goal creator in Europe currently. Arsene Wenger’s title charge rests on Özil staying fit and firing—without him the Gunners look decidedly thin.

About the author

Sam Hopkinson

Sam has attended matches everywhere from Cambodia to Canada, and is a persistent Spurs fan. If he didn't have football, he'd probably turn to a life of crime just to get that exhilarating fix. Superstitious enough to believe that picking a player for his fantasy team spells doom for the poor sod.