Arsenal have their mojo back after a shaky start to the season and are on an eight-game winning run in all competitions.
It was all a little uncertain a couple of months back when the Gunners lost their two opening two games against Chelsea and Manchester City, as former PSG coach under Unai Emery adjusted to life in the Premier League.
But with those two high-octane fixtures out of the way, Arsenal have won as many Premier League games on the bounce since – five – as Sunday’s opponents Fulham have points since their promotion to the top tier.
And the Gunners don’t look like they’re about to slip up any time soon. Emery has rotated his squad expertly to counter the effects of the Thursday-Sunday graveyard shift and will introduce fresh legs into the side after their 0-3 victory over Qarabag in Azerbaijan.
Fulham’s five-point haul consists of a home win over Burnley and two draws with Brighton (a) and Watford at home.
The Cottagers shipped six goals against established top-tier sides like Man City and Everton (beaten 3-0 twice) and there’s no reason to believe they will find it any easier against an in-form Arsenal. Since the Gunners were beaten 2-0 by City on the opening day they’ve scored at least two goals in their other defeat against Chelsea and their five wins since.
An away win is a reasonable 8/13 with Paddy Power. But there’s a little more juice in the price when you look to the handicap betting where Arsenal (-1 goal) are 6/4.
It was October 2015 when the Saints last beat Chelsea in the Premier League and Jose Mourinho and his stuttering champions would part a couple of months later.
The closest the Saints have come to beating Chelsea since was last season, when Mark Hughes’ side let a two-goal lead slip at St Mary’s. Three goals in eight minutes from Olivier Giroud (2) and Eden Hazard rescued the visitors who looked dead and buried on the hour mark.
No matter which way you slice it though, Chelsea have won their last six Premier League ties against the Saints.
One of the big problems with Southampton is that they just don’t score enough goals. They’ve only hit the onion bag six times this season in the league and while new signing Danny Ings has added an attacking option – he can’t carry them against this quality of opposition.
Chelsea have won this tie by two goals, three times recently. Again, at -1 in the handicap, they look a play at 8/5 if you don’t fancy the 4/7 in the win-draw-win-market.