Arsene Wenger wants Arsenal to avenge Boxing Day loss to Saints
Arsene Wenger wants his team to "set things right" when Arsenal play Southampton on Tuesday looking to avenge the 4-0 loss away on Boxing Day.
Wenger said his team simply wasn't up for the fight on that day, which came after a rousing 2-1 home win over Manchester City that established Arsenal as a firm title contender.
They came crashing back down to earth at St. Mary's, though, with their worst loss of the season. Wenger said his players need a different mindset on Tuesday in order to avoid a repeat of that game.
"I felt on the day we had no mental energy. It was Christmas, we always go to Southampton in the Christmas period," Wenger said. "It was a little bit Christmas, it was a little bit the fact that after City we felt 'We have done it.'
"And we got caught by a team who was full of desire, and we were beaten physically."
It should be different this time around. Arsenal are playing at home and need a strong response to a tough January, having earned just two points from their last three league games. And they also have Alexis Sanchez and Francis Coquelin back fit to make them both more dangerous in attack and more solid in defence.
"The message is that we play at home and we want to put things right, and to put a strong performance in," Wenger said. "The strength we show at home now in the remaining games can be decisive."
Arsenal are third in the table, three points behind surprise leader Leicester and behind Manchester City on goal difference. With Leicester and Man City playing each other this weekend, this could be a perfect time for Wenger's men to put pressure on their title rivals.
But Wenger is wary of the challenge posed by Southampton, who have been inconsistent this season but still find themselves just four points behind fifth-place Manchester United.
"They have a good team. Let's not forget, they won at Man United, they won at Chelsea. They're a team who have some quality players," Wenger said, listing the likes of Dusan Tadic, Sadio Mane and Victor Wanyama.
"They're a team that has top quality."