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Arsenal v Southampton: Preview, Injury News, Preferred Team & Prediction
We take on high-flying Southampton at the Emirates on Saturday afternoon looking to get back to winning ways after slumping to our second defeat of the season with a 1-0 loss at Old Trafford before the international break.
We were pretty unlucky on the day but didn’t really create that much with both Cazorla and Ozil having off days. Despite the loss against United, we still sit top of the Premier League by two points from second-placed Liverpool, so there’s certainly no need to panic.
However, we could find ourselves down in second by the time we kick off if Liverpool beat Everton in the lunchtime game, so victory over Southampton is vital to get the momentum going again.
It’s certainly promising to be an intriguing game as the Saints have been hugely impressive so far this season. They currently sit third in the table and boast the meanest defence in the league, so goals aren’t going to be easy to come by. They beat Liverpool 1-0 at Anfield and drew 1-1 with United at Old Trafford, so we shouldn’t be taking victory for granted.
Mauricio Pochettino has his side playing some wonderful football and their high line and pressing game makes them a nightmare to play against. The key is going to be how well we pass the ball. If we play like we did in the first half against United, we’re going to find it difficult. But if we show what we’re capable of and put in a Napoli-esque display, then we have the ability to pass our way through them and create chances.
The good news is that Theo Walcott is back in the squad and should make his first appearance in almost seven weeks. Arsene Wenger has hinted he may start him from the bench but Theo’s pace will be a useful weapon to bring on against the visitors high line of defence.
Tomas Rosicky is expected to be passed fit and may start on the right side, although Serge Gnabry is also pushing for a start after some impressive cameo’s off the bench in recent games.
Per Mertesacker will come back in after missing the United defeat through sickness. Mathieu Flamini is suspended after picking up his fifth booking of the season last time out, so Aaron Ramsey is likely to partner Mikel Arteta in the middle.
This means Jack Wilshere is expected to be among the subs with Wenger confirming today he’s going to be cautious with the midfielder this season due to his troublesome ankles.
Lukas Podolski is still three weeks away from returning, The Ox is out for another month and Yaya Sanogo and Abou Diaby won’t be back until sometime in 2014.
Make no mistake, this is going to be a very difficult game and I wouldn’t be surprised if we reach half time with the match still goal-less. But i’m going to back the boys to get the job done eventually.
Arsenal 1-0 Southampton COYG!!!
What are your thoughts on the game? Will Walcott start? Will we get the victory?