5 Things to Look out for in Arsenal vs Southampton !
So the international break is done and dusted which means the Premier League kicks off again ! I say again because the transfer window shut a day after the last set of matches which means the teams look very different from their last match. Arsenal in particular have bought and bought well in Mustafi and Perez and the Emirates faithful will be wanting to catch a glimpse of them for the first time in an Arsenal shirt ! That and much more in Arsenal vs Southampton !
5) New Signings !
Lack of solidarity at the back and lack of creative talent up front has led to a mini-crisis at the beginning of this season for the Gunners. Arsene Wenger was publicly criticised by many a critic for his transfer policy. An injury to the ex-United striker Danny Welback has limited the options up front for the Gunners. Sanchez and Giroud have been unable to recreate the magic they have created over the past two seasons in London.
Shkodran Mustafi has been tipped as the big summer signing for the North London club. World Cup winner Mustafi has been one of the consistent players for his former club Valencia. He is most likely to lead the defensive line for the Gunners Alongside French defender Laurent Koscielny. (Arsenal vs Southampton)
The other new Arsenal recruit Lucas Perez has been a gem of signing for the Gunners. The former Deportivo man has scored 19 goals for the Spanish side last season. Most notably scoring in a 2-2 draw against the Spanish champions Barcelona. The former Deportivo hitman is the answer to all the attacking woes for the Gunners. (Arsenal vs Southampton)
4) Granit Xhaka
The Swiss international has not lived up to his expectations in the early part of the season. Xhaka returns to London after a disastrous outing for the national side against the Euro Champions Portugal.
The central midfielder is expected to shine in the centre of the pitch alongside Mesut Ozil, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Alexis Sanchez. As per Squawka.com Xhaka has attempted 16 tackles, committed eight fouls and taken on seven headers.
The numbers show that Xhaka is willing to hold his position and at the same time commit to tackles, yet having the ability to distribute the ball from further back and distribute the ball with a pass accuracy of 85%. His pin point accuracy and vision will be visible against the Saints.
3) Wenger’s Tactics
Arsene Wenger has led Arsenal to a sole victory in the first three games that the Gunners have played. The Gunners started their campaign with a disappointing 4-3 loss to Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool.
The following fixture with the current English Champions Leicester City ended in a stalemate. Wenger’s Arsenal managed to bounce back from the disappointing start with a comprehensive 3-1 win against Watford.
Wenger’s uncanny tactics might lead the Gunners to a win against a difficult opponent in the form of Southampton.
2) Return of the duo of Ryan Bertrand and Fraser Forster
Southampton’s manager Claude Puel would be happy to welcome back Ryan Bertrand and Fraser Forster back into the squad. Ryan Bertrand returns to the squad following a long layoff due to a knee injury he suffered last season.
The left back has been a crucial player for the Saints from the past few seasons. He will be eager to perform well in front of the new manager Puel to cement his place in the starting eleven. (Arsenal vs Southampton)
Fraser Forster returns to the squad after he had suffered an injury which kept him out of England’s qualifier game against the Slovakians. The big stopper would be keen to prove his worth to Sam Allardyce ahead of his competitors.
1) The duo of Charlie Austin and Shane Long
The strike duo of Charlie Austin and Shane Long is a perfect combination of pace and finish. The absence of Mustafi in the heart of Arsenal’s defence would enable Long and Austin to race past the defence.
Long’s pace would be a worry for Wenger’s defence. Long has started this season with a set of consistent performances and Puel would be hoping for a repeat performance from the 29-year-old Irish striker.
Long’s strike partner Charlie Austin looks on to open his account against the Gunners.