LONDON (AP) — After losing to Manchester United, English Premier League leader Arsenal will host surprise package Southampton on Saturday.
The Gunners are two points clear at the top but will be facing a team that has lost only one game this season.
Second-place Liverpool travels to Everton in the Merseyside derby and Manchester United is looking to continue its recovery at Cardiff, chasing a fourth consecutive win. Here are five things to know about the weekend's Premier League matches:
MARCHING ON: At this stage last season, Southampton was second-to-last under former coach Nigel Adkins. His successor, Mauricio Pochettino, has transformed the team into one of the most entertaining sides in England with young and athletic players displaying a pressing game. The Saints have secured good results at Liverpool and Manchester United and are confident they can hand the Gunners a second home defeat this season.
"It's a massive game. It's top versus third so why can't we go there and get a result?" said midfielder Adam Lallana, who is in contention for a place in England's team for the World Cup. "We've done it at Old Trafford and at Anfield already this season, so the lads will be full of confidence."
Southampton is not only pressuring opposition with its free-flowing style of play, the team is also boasting the league's best defensive record, conceding only five goals. "We know it's going to be one of the hardest tests to date because Arsenal are playing well at the minute," England striker Rickie Lambert said. "It's going to be tough, but we're confident that we can go there and get something."
DOUBTFUL WILSHERE: The Gunners could be missing one of their key players as midfielder Jack Wilshere picked up a knock while playing in a friendly for England against Germany on Tuesday. According to the British media, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger asked England coach Roy Hodgson not to risk Wilshere after he played 71 minutes against Chile but the player came in as a substitute before taking a knock on his ankle. Wenger said he has no issue with the English FA and brushed off speculation of a club vs. country row. "I have no problem with the FA, they respected completely what they told me and it was (for Wilshere) to play in one game and be on the bench in the other," he said. Arsenal received more positive news this week, with Theo Walcott's expected return against Southampton after the winger recovered from an abdominal injury.