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Wednesday, 19 December, 2018

Valiant defeat to Arsenal leaves Southampton struggling

Saints are cut for relegation from Premier League

Arsenal's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang celebrates
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There are plaudits but no points for battling defeats and Southampton's unfortunate 3-2 loss at Arsenal has seen them go odds-on with some bookmakers to be relegated from the Premier League.

Substitute Charlie Austin looked to have earned a point for much-improved Saints at the Emirates only for Danny Welbeck to notch an impressive winner for Arsenal in a result that left Southampton stuck down in 18th spot.

Southampton, a best-priced Evens to go down, are three points behind Crystal Palace with a game in hand but they are more likely to chase down Huddersfield and Swansea who are two points ahead of struggling Saints.

Mark Hughes will hope his team can build on a positive performance in their remaining clashes against Chelsea, Leicester, Bournemouth, Everton, Swansea and Manchester City, although their task was made even more difficult by West Ham claiming a surprise point in a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge.

Shane Long put Southampton in front only for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to equalise and the Gunners led going into the break thanks to Welbeck's first goal. The England international then had the final say after Austin levelled matters in the 73rd minute.

West Ham are six points clear of trouble following their battling draw at Chelsea. Hammers goalkeeper Joe Hart's produced a man-of-the-match performance, while an equaliser from substitute Javier Hernandez cancelled out Cesar Azpilicueta's opener.

West Ham are 25-1 to be relegated. Sky Bet kept Hart at 8-1 to start England's opening World Cup clash against Tunisia despite his heroics but Coral cut him from 7-2 to 2-1. The north African outfit were dealt a blow over the weekend with the news that star man Youssef Msakni has been ruled out of the tournament due to a knee injury.

It was always going to be tough for Chelsea to qualify for the Champions League even before the disappointing draw, but they are now lagging ten points behind fourth-placed Tottenham with just six matches remaining.

Their goal difference is also 14 inferior and Hills rate Chelsea 33-1 to finish in the top four.

Lincoln defied their Sky Bet League Two status to beat third-tier Shrewsbury 1-0 in the Football League Trophy final. Elliott Whitehouse was their Wembley hero.

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West Ham are six points clear of trouble following their battling draw at Chelsea
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