ALEX McCarthy believes Saints have the advantage heading into Sunday’s match with Arsenal.

The Gunners were beaten 3-2 in dramatic fashion at St Mary’s in December when Charlie Austin netted a winner in the final 10 minutes.

And Saints’ goalkeeper reckons this, along with Arsenal playing in the Europa League last night, will give them an edge at the Emirates Stadium this weekend.

McCarthy said: “From beating them at home earlier on in the season, that gave us a lot of confidence.

“The last couple of results have been frustrating for us but we had a good week away and then this week we’ve had a good week preparing for Arsenal.

“I believe we can go there and get the three points.

“I think we’ve got that belief in the dressing room that when we go into games we think we can win them or at least get a point from them.

“Beating them earlier in the season definitely gives us the confidence going into Sunday’s game that we can beat them and hopefully do the double.

“With mid-week games going into a weekend game, it definitely takes its toll.

“I’m sure they will freshen the team up but I’m sure it gives us the advantage.”

It’s been an interesting season for McCarthy.

His place in the first team came under threat when Saints splashed out £13.5m to land Angus Gunn from Manchester City in the summer.

Despite this, McCarthy kept his place between the sticks and went on to make his England debut against the USA back in November.

Not long after the high at Wembley, the goalkeeper found his position in the Saints first team up for debate again when Hasenhuttl took charge of the team.

The Austrian wanted to give everyone a fair opportunity which resulted in McCarthy being dropped for two games in January.

Gunn took his place for the matches against Chelsea, where he kept the only clean sheet Saints have had under Hasenhuttl, and Derby County in the FA Cup third round.

But Gunn then found himself dropped back down to the bench, with McCarthy being favoured instead.

Throughout this episode, McCarthy kept his eye on the bigger picture.

He added: “We’ve got great goalkeepers here and we are all pushing each other but I tend to not worry about what’s going on outside me.

“My main focus is on myself, staying in the team and working as hard as possible.

“I need to make sure I’m in that England squad. I can only sort of effect what’s going on with me in training and in games.

“I tend to not think about those things, I just get my head down and work as hard as possible.”