Saints boss Mark Hughes aiming for 'positive' result at Arsenal

Saints boss Mark Hughes aiming for 'positive' result at Arsenal

Southampton fans are fearing the worse with the club starring relegation in the face going into the final few outings of the Premier League campaign.

Ryan White

Mark Hughes takes his Southampton squad to the capital this weekend for the club's Premier League visit to the Emirates Stadium as they take on Arsenal on Sunday. 

The hosts are enjoying as little of this campaign as the Saints with the Gunners sitting sixth in the table - 13 points off the top four - meanwhile, Southampton are facing a heavily likely drop to the second tier of English football as two points separate themselves and safety with seven games to go until the season's climax. 

Hughes, who is heading into his third game as manager at St. Mary's, is on the back of a demolishing defeat to relegation rivals West Ham United last week, and the former Manchester City and Stoke boss will be eager to get an uplifting result in North London this Sunday. 

''Be positive in our outlook”

​Southampton will be outright second favourites to gain anything from his fixture, especially following Arsenal's impressive midweek feat in the Europa League over CSKA Moscow, but it could be a season-defining match for the Saints. 

The visitors have a harsh record at the Emirates prior to this encounter with them tallying just two victories from their last ten trips to Arsenal in all competitions - so the odds are stacked against Southampton before kick-off. 

However, Mark Hughes is determined to put on a display for supporters making the journey; “We’ve got to go there and get a positive result. The bare minimum is a good performance for the travelling Saints fans.''

​The team received an abundance of criticism following the 3-0 defeat last Saturday in the east of the capital and the boss has made it clear to his team what is expected, specifically considering the club's Premier League position; 

“I expect a reaction from the team. We need to be more resilient when momentum goes against us. I’ve told them this week what is acceptable in games and what isn’t.”


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“For the most part we’re okay”

​Southampton's demise this term has been a result of a mixture of factors, however, one key man has sat on the sidelines since December and is making a late comeback in an attempt to save the club's season. Charlie Austin is expected to be featuring on the bench in the next couple of weeks, but the fixture against Arsenal may be too early for the striker. 

Meanwhile, Mark Hughes has updated fans on the latest news surrounding midfielder Mario Lemina, who has been suffering from a slight illness this week; ''He has been ill this week but trained with us today.''

​As for versatile wide man Sam McQueen, the manager said this about the youngster's current situation in the first-team; “McQueen has got a groin strain unfortunately so he won't be involved.''

A win for Southampton over the Gunners could see the Saints rise up to 15th in the ladder depending on their rivals' results over the weekend but a defeat could see them fall second to bottom if Stoke City can claim a triumph against Tottenham Hotspur.