‘Merciless’ Saints down Gunners

Ralph Hasenhuttl suggested Southampton had been rewarded for their hard work and persistence with a 3-2 win over Arsenal at St Mary's.

The home side twice led through headers from Danny Ings, but they were twice pegged back by Henrikh Mkhitaryan goals – the second just after half-time taking a wicked deflection to beat Alex McCarthy.

Ings had headed Matt Targett's cross home after 20 minutes only for Mkhitaryan to match it eight minutes later.

Southampton went back in front just before the break, Ings looping a fine header home from Nathan Redmond's cross.

It looked to be more frustration for them when Arsenal found a fortunate second equaliser but subs Shane Long and Charlie Austin combined with five minutes remaining to set up a massive Saints success.

Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno flopped at Long's cross, allowing Austin head into an unguarded net at the back post.

It gave Hasenhuttl his first victory in the Premier League at the second attempt and hoisted Southampton out of the relegation zone on goal difference.

He paid tribute to hard work done on the training ground.

"It's amazing what the team can do in a week. It was very intensive, we had time to work on the basics and built the fundamentals for our game," said the Saints boss.

"I'm very proud of how focused and uncompromising they were, and when they had the chances, how merciless they were.

"It was a fantastic atmosphere and a special feeling here to win the match."

Southampton are 7/5 to win a crucial battle with fellow strugglers Huddersfield next Saturday. The home side are 11/5 while the draw is 2/1.

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Romeu eager for Saints role

Spanish midfielder Oriol Romeu is hoping to become a regular starter for Southampton once again, with Ralph Hasenhuttl having taken charge of the Saints.

The 27-year-old former Barcelona and Chelsea schemer had fallen out of favour under Mark Hughes, but was recalled to the starting line-up last weekend, as Southampton lost out 1-0 at Cardiff City.

And Romeu is determined to try and impress former RB Leipzig chief Hasenhuttl and play his part in trying to steer the Saints away from the Premier League relegation zone.

He told Sky Sports: "To see yourself out of the squad, out of the team, week in and week out – no-one wants to go through that.

"I felt I was doing my job every day to be (in the team), Mark Hughes probably had other thoughts, other things in mind and you need to accept that as a professional.

"There's nothing else you can do, except wait until the chance comes. That's what I did and last week I could be out there and help the team play. I felt so happy and enjoyed being back."

Southampton are back in action on Sunday when they play host to an Arsenal side who are unbeaten in their last 22 games in all competitions.

Last season this fixture ended in a 1-1 draw, with an early opener from Charlie Austin cancelled out late on by Olivier Giroud.

Southampton can be backed at 29/10 to secure another draw on Sunday, with the Gunners 19/20 to win the game and 12/5 to keep a clean sheet.

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Koscielny relishes Gunners return

Fit-again Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny is determined to enjoy the rest of the season, having finally returned to action after a serious Achilles injury.

The 33-year-old France international centre-back made his first senior appearance of the season as the Gunners won 1-0 at home to FK Qarabag in the Europa League on Thursday evening, having been out of action since being injured in the semi-finals of the same competition in May.

And Koscielny was delighted to have finally returned to the fold, with the Gunners currently having problems in defence, with Rob Holding out for the season with a knee injury, while both Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Shkodran Mustafi are suspended for the Sunday visit to Southampton.

He told BT Sport: "It was very important for me. Now I start a new chapter in my career.

"It is difficult being out injured. It was the first big injury of my career and I had to take a long time out, but you learn a lot about yourself.

"I am focused mentally and I can smile and enjoy the rest of the season."

Meanwhile, Gunners head coach Unai Emery offered caution when asked if Koscielny would be used against the Saints, adding: "We need to find out tomorrow and Saturday how he is going to feel after this match, to see if he can help us on the pitch on Sunday.

"It is good he has recovered and in a good time. He can take confidence again, take rhythm and then we are going to continue our process. Maybe Sunday, but I want to wait to see how he feels."

Arsenal are 19/20 to win at Southampton and are 11/1 to do so by a 2-0 scoreline, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang 4/6 to score at any time in the game.

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Koscielny in to face Qarabag

Arsenal manager Unai Emery has said that he will give some of the squad a chance to play in the Europa League against Qarabag on Thursday night.

The Gunners are already through to the knockout stages of the competition. They top Group E with four wins and a draw from their five games so far.

Looking ahead to the final group game, at home to the side from Azerbaijan, Emery said, while respecting the competition, he will use it to rotate the squad with Laurent Koscielny likely to feature.

The Frenchman has not played for the first-team since suffering an Achilles injury seven months ago. He has featured in a couple of games for the Gunners Under-23 side and Emery says that while the defender won't be considered for Sunday's Premier League game at Southampton, he will be involved on Thursday night.

Emery told a press conference ahead of the game: "Our first mind in this competition is to be first in the group – which we have done – but we respect this competition and Qarabag.

"Tomorrow our objective is to win, we will give players chance to take responsibility and confidence. We are going to use tomorrow with some different players, with some coming from Under-23s. We also start to play with Laurent Koscielny."

The Arsenal boss also said that Mesut Ozil is ready to return to action. The German midfielder hasn't played since a match against Wolves on 11th November with the club saying he had a back injury.

Emery didn't say whether he would feature against Qarabag, only that he is in the squad and he will decide later whether he will play some part in the game.

The Gunners are 10/11 to win at St Mary's Stadium on Sunday to continue their unbeaten run and further boost their chances of a place in the top four of the Premier League. Southampton are 14/5 with the draw 13/5.

Arsenal are 1/1 to finish in the top four while they are 6/1 to win the Europa League.

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Hasenhuttl expects results to come

New boss Ralph Hasenhuttl believes the results will come for Southampton after his first game in charge ended with a 1-0 defeat at Cardiff.

The Austrian was installed as the successor to Mark Hughes earlier in the week and, having watched the midweek 3-1 defeat against Tottenham, he was in the dugout for the first time at the Cardiff City Stadium on Saturday.

Bluebirds forward Callum Paterson pounced on a huge error by Jannik Vestergaard to score the only goal of the game in the 74th-minute.

It leaves the Saints with just one win in 16 matches this season and in 19th place, three points adrift of Burnley in the final position of safety.

And, while Hasenhuttl was disappointed with the defensive errors from his players, he did see some positive aspects of their play which he hopes can lead to some much-needed wins.

The former RB Leipzig coach said: "At this level you cannot give the ball away twice in that manner.

"It is very hard to accept that we didn't get a point, but with these mistakes we don't deserve it.

"After half-time was the best period of the game for us. We had a lot of pressure and we were good with the ball, but we played too much from deep and inside instead of penetrating them.

"We need more forward runs in the coming months and less mistakes in the defence."

Hasenhuttl added: "It will be perfect if we get some results for the self-confidence. We didn't here, but we have to keep working and they will come."

Southampton, who are 9/4 to be relegated, face Arsenal at St Mary's next Sunday and are 14/5 to pick up three points. The Gunners are priced at 10/11 and the draw is 13/5.

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Warnock: Home form is vital

Cardiff City manager Neil Warnock knows that his side need to keep winning at home if they are to have any chance of avoiding relegation this season.

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The Bluebirds have beaten Fulham, Wolves and Brighton on home soil so far this term and entertain fellow relegation candidates Southampton on Saturday.

Saints appointed Ralph Hasenhuttl as their new boss this week after dispensing with the services of Mark Hughes and the Austrian is 6/4 to get his managerial tenure at Southampton off to a winning start by recording a victory at Cardiff.

"He's done really well where he's been," Warnock said of former Ingolstadt and RB Leipzig boss Hasenhuttl. "I'm sure they'll have a spring in their step and want to impress. But we've got lads who want to prove things as well.

"I think every game against teams outside the top six you've got to look to get points from. They're all tough games, you've just got to get what you can out of them.

"We'll be trying to win the game. Home form is going to be vital. We're at home, we've got that backing and the fans have been amazing again. We just need to make sure our own house is in order.

"The boys are giving everything. When the fans are down, the players give them a lift, and when the players are down, the fans give them a lift. It's a great situation to be in."

Cardiff, 21/10 to beat Southampton, are 4/7 to be relegated this term while Saints are 5/2 to go down.

Hasenhuettl hints at exits

New Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuettl has indicated that he will allow several players to leave St Mary's in January.

The former Red Bull Leipzig coach replaced Mark Hughes in the Saints hot-seat earlier this week and watched his new team lose 3-1 against Tottenham at Wembley on Wednesday.

Southampton have only won one of their first 15 games of the season and have accrued just nine points. They are 5/2 to be relegated this term and 17/10 to beat Cardiff City on Saturday.

"I think the squad is very big," said the Austrian. "So we have a lot of positions where we have too many players and maybe one or the other is leaving us and we bring something new.

"I have spoken with the chairman about that and they do everything to help my wishes.

"We have a very good youth academy in this club and it is a goal for us to bring them forward again. In the past there were a lot coming … out of the youth academy and that's the goal for the future. We want these guys to perform, to develop."

Southampton's next home game is against Arsenal, 10/11 to finish in the top four this season, on 16th December, and they are also scheduled to play Huddersfield Town, West Ham United and Manchester City before the end of the year.

Hasenhuttl eyes quickfire rise

New Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl says his primary target is to try and help move the Saints out of the Premier League relegation zone.

The 51-year-old former Austria international has signed a two-and-half-year deal with the top-flight strugglers, who have won just one of the 15 Premier League games they have played so far this season.

And Hasenhuttl, who made his name with RB Leipzig, is relishing the challenge ahead of both himself and his players.

He told reporters: "The first target is to get out of relegation zone. The near future has to be to move as quickly as we can out of the zone.

"I'm not frightened about it, but the problem is we have a lot of games and my football is all about training sessions, working on habits. If you have the chance to do so it's ok, but if you don't it's not so easy.

"It's a bit back to the roots for me. Last year I had a fantastic Champions League team, we were on a very high technical level.

"The step is not the easiest one, but I never want it easy in my life. I always challenge myself and I'm looking forward, not afraid of anything."

Having taken on a watching brief as Southampton were beaten 3-1 by Spurs at Wembley on Wednesday evening, Hasenhuttl will take charge of his first game on Saturday when the Saints head to South Wales to take on Cardiff City.

The visitors can be backed at 11/5 to secure a draw at the Cardiff City Stadium, with a 1-1 final scoreline priced at 11/2, while Southampton are 11/8 not to be relegated come the end of the season.

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Signings key to Warnock hopes

Cardiff City boss Neil Warnock is determined to try and bring in a number of new players in January to give his side the best chance possible of escaping relegation.

The Bluebirds were beaten 3-1 at West Ham on Tuesday evening, with a missed first-half penalty from Joe Ralls proving costly as the hosts scored three times inside 12 second-half minutes to put the game to bed.

Afterwards, Warnock admitted that it will be vital to try and bring in some reinforcements next month, with midfield and attack his main areas of concern.

He told reporters: "It's an important part January and I'm hoping we can get three or four to help the lads that are here, because we've shown that we can compete.

"If I didn't get another defender, it wouldn't worry me.

"More importantly we've got to have someone up our sleeve if something happens to (Aron) Gunnarsson and we've got to have a striker as we can't ask Callum Paterson to keep doing it."

The Bluebirds failed to win any of their first seven Premier League games of the season, but have since secured three victories in seven further outings – defeating Fulham, Brighton and Wolves.

City are back in action on Saturday when they welcome Southampton to the Cardiff City Stadium.

The last meeting between the two sides in South Wales, on Boxing Day in 2013, finished 3-0 to the visitors, with Jay Rodriguez (2) and Rickie Lambert scoring inside the opening 27 minutes of the match.

Cardiff are available at 9/5 to secure victory on Saturday, with the draw priced at 11/5 and a 2-2 final scoreline a 16/1 shot.

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Saints turn to Hasenhuttl

Relegation-threatened Southampton have appointed the former RB Leipzig boss Ralph Hasenhuttl as their new manager on a two-and-a-half-year deal.

The 51-year-old Austrian replaces Mark Hughes, who was sacked on Monday after Saints had won just one of their first 14 Premier League matches of the campaign.

Hasnehuttl will formally take charge on Thursday after watching the game against Tottenham at Wembley, which Southampton are 17/2 to win.

Saints are 3/1 to be relegated this season and 9/1 to draw 1-1 with Spurs.

Hasenhuttl coached Ingolstadt until 2016 when he was appointed Leipzig boss. He led Leipzig to second spot in the Bundesliga in 2016/17 and to the Europa League quarter-finals last term.

However, Leipzig terminated Hasenhuttl's deal a year early in May after they finished sixth in the Bundesliga.

Southampton chairman Ralph Krueger said: "The urgency to find a path back to our potential and to the results that we expect cannot be underestimated. For that reason, we are extremely pleased that Ralph Hasenhuttl has agreed to become our new manager and do all he can to help guide us back on that path.

"This manager change offers us a fresh start and, very quickly, Ralph emerged as our ideal candidate.

"As a coach, he embodies the passion, structure, communication skill-set, work ethic and appetite for growth that we strive for. The quick, smooth and seamless negotiation process underlines the character of the person that he is."