REUTERS – Southampton will face a more spirited Arsenal side on Saturday in the Premier League as the Gunners will look to avenge last season’s damaging loss to the Saints, defender Calum Chambers has said.
Last season’s 2-0 loss crushed Arsenal’s title hopes, leaving them 13 points behind eventual champions Chelsea after just 20 games.
Arsene Wenger’s men head into the game at the St Mary’s Stadium this time on the back of four successive wins and former Southampton player Chambers is confident they will pick up the three points.
“I’m really looking forward to it. It’s always nice to go back there and see everyone,” Chambers told the club’s website (www.arsenal.com).
“I’ve got a lot of memories at the stadium and at the club so it’s always a game I look forward to when it comes around to it.
“We’ve improved our character in the team (since last season). We had good character then but right now the spirit in the team is really strong.”
Alexis Sanchez, Santi Cazorla, Francis Coquelin, Mikel Arteta, Jack Wilshere, Tomas Rosicky and Danny Welbeck are all ruled out for the festive fixtures with injury.
Chambers is certain Arsenal, who play three games in eight days, can cope with the injury crisis.
“Although we’ve been unfortunate with a few injuries, we’ve come together, we’re fighting, we’re adapting to it and we’re really starting to show the character we’ve got in this team,” he said.
“It’s hard when there’s a lot of games coming thick and fast. Obviously Christmas is the busiest time of the year.
“We’ve all just got to adapt and prepare well for each game, take every game one at a time and just try to get the results we need.”
Arsenal, who are second in the league, will host relegation-threatened sides Bournemouth and Newcastle United after they travel to take on 12th-placed Southampton, who are on a six-game winless run in all competitions, on Saturday.
(Reporting by Shravanth Vijayakumar in Bengaluru; editing by Sudipto Ganguly)