The last time that we clashed with Southampton, the Saints were the talk of the town, having conceded just six goals in twelve matches, and they sat in third place on the table on the strength of that start. However, their trip to the Emirates not only ended in inglorious defeat but also sent the Saints into a tailspin, one in which they would win only one of their next nine matches while shipping eighteen goals, fading to ninth place in the process.
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Our FA Cup fourth-found clash with Coventry brings with it a number of oddities—first, of course, is that we'll be playing on Friday night for the first time in almost a decade. Take a moment if you will to commiserate with the Sky Blues' fans, who travels and travails on the evening will be legion. I refer there to the state of affairs at Coventry, which are tumultuous to say the least.
Although Monday's clash with Aston Villa felt like a limp affair punctuated with 60 seconds of brilliance that was nearly upended through 20 minutes of frantic pressing after Benteke found the back of the net for the first time since September, Arsenal have entered what is arguably its softest string of fixtures all season. The next four—home against Fulham, home against Coventry, even away against Southampton, and at home against Crystal Palace—present our best chance at creating some distance between us and our rivals, each of whom have somewhat tetchier fixtures of their own coming up.
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