Arsenal welcome newly promoted Southampton to the Emirates. This will be Arsenal’s first match against a promoted side this season. Southampton who currently sit bottom of the table are the one club yet to register a point in the Premier League. Arsenal on the other hand are enjoying a good start with two draws and one win, keeping a clean sheet in all three and sitting 8th in the table. Last time theses two sides faced each other in the EPL was way back in 2004/2005 season.
The Saints have given problems to the Manchester clubs, losing 3-2 on both occasions but leading quite sometime during the match. They have looked a threaten counter attacks and pose an aerial threat (the name Rickie Lambert comes to mind). Arsenal have been strong and invincible in the first three matches and would look to add to their points tally in this easy but tricky fixture.
Possible starting XI:
Szczesny would be taking over from Mannone after returning from injury. Vito Mannone did do quite well in the last two matches but not so well that would make Wenger put first choice Wojciech Szczesny on bench.
Mertesacker and Vermaelen will continue their partnership in defence keeping Koscielny out. Koscielny was Gunners’ best defender last season but putting Mertesacker back to the bench might be a bit harsh on the big German considering his impressive performances. Carl Jenkinson will continue his role at right back with Sagna still absent due to injury and Gibbs would be down the left side keeping Brazilian Andre Santos on the bench.
Arteta, Diaby and Cazorla will all start until and unless Diaby fails in the test (hope not). If he isn’t fit to play then Wenger might opt either of Ramsey, Chamberlain and Coquelin for that midfield role.
Gervinho might return to the starting lineup after his good performance against Senegal during the international break with Podolski on the left and Giroud down the middle. The Frenchman has yet to score and he wouldn’t get a better opportunity than a vulnerable Southampton defence, letting eight goals in their first three matches. Podolski, who opened his Arsenal account against Liverpool will look to continue to score.
It will be a tricky game for the Gunners but on a lovely Saturday 3 o’clock fixture, Arsenal should not be looking for anything else than the three points.