Arsenal vs Southampton - Match preview and team news
Arsenal look to continue their impressive form at the Emirates Stadium against Southampton, who have been on the receiving end of some heartbreaking results recently. The Gunners were 2-0 winners at Anfield and face the Saints, who were undone by a former Arsenal striker in Robin van Persie last time out against Manchester United.
Arsene Wenger’s side were dominant against Liverpool last time out and saw striker Lukas Podolski and midfielder Santi Cazorla open their accounts for the club. Cazorla in particular was impressive and the £16m signing from Malaga has Arsenal fans excited about what is to come. After drawing blanks in their opening two games against Sunderland and Stoke, the goals at Anfield have finally lifted the negative energy following Van Persie’s departure.
Goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny is set to return following injury and replace the deputising Vito Mannone. Arsenal’s backline is expected to be the same after three games without conceding a goal, something accredited to new assistant Steve Bould who has solidified Wenger’s defence. Olivier Giroud, despite yet to score a Premier League goal, is expected to remain up front and the Arsenal boss will be looking for his French international to open his account sooner rather than later.
Southampton have been particularly unlucky so far this season and have showed performances that are worthy of more than their bottom placed position. Nigel Adkins’ team have yet to register a single point in the Premier League, despite being ahead against both Manchester City and Manchester United. Robin van Persie broke Southampton hearts with his hat-trick in the 3-2 loss at St. Mary’s Stadium and the fixture against Arsenal provides another opportunity to grab their first point.
Captain Adam Lallana has been in superb form this season and his performances for the Saints earned a call-up to the England squad this week. Although he didn’t play, the experience will be vital for the 24 year old who came through the academy at St. Mary’s. Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain were former teammates of Lallana’s and they will line up against him this weekend.
Southampton travel to North London confident that their performances can finally merit a positive outcome at the end of the game, but Arsenal have title ambitions of their own. The Gunners were written off heavily at the start of the season and Wenger is keen to win his first piece of silverware since the 2005 FA Cup victory.