So it’s back to league action with the high flying Saints landing at the Emirates. This marks the start of an important little period for The Arsenal.
Firstly the game against Southampton gives a chance to banish the demons of the Old Trafford defeat. Secondly it starts a run of four league games, three of which are at home, where we should really be looking at maximum points if we have any title ambitions. Sandwiched in amongst these we also have our Champions League games against Marseilles and Napoli. If we can take twelve points and progress in the Europe then that really would set us up nicely for games the back to back games against Chelsea and Man City at the start of December.
Southampton come to us in good form. Their game is based on pressing high up the pitch and an organised defence that is hard to break down. This game plan has reaped its rewards especially at Old Trafford and Anfield. However, I think we’re better equipped than either of the North West giants to deal with this. All of our players are comfortable on the ball and will be not be panicked into giving the ball away cheaply. Also with the likes of Cazorla, Ramsey and Ozil we have the players who can unlock the best defences.
That’s not to say it will be easy. This is a different Southampton to the one we rolled over 6-1 last year. As witnessed by their recent supply of players to the England squad they are capable of hurting us. We need to start quickly and get them on the back foot from the off. For those going it should be a good game as both sides look to play decent football when in possession.
Injury wise we welcome Walcott back to the match day squad, I’d expect him to start from the bench. Rosicky faces a late test as he recovers from the effects of flu. Podolski appears to be a further three weeks away, with Oxlade-Chamberlain and Sanogo not returning until well after Christmas. It appears that everyone came back from the international break with a full compliment of limbs and appendages.
So as I said it’s the start of an important period tomorrow and with Liverpool away to Everton, Man City entertaining Spurs and Man Utd facing a tricky trip to Cardiff this gives a chance to kick it off in style and also open up a bigger gap on some of our rivals.
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