Arsenal V Southampton at Emirates Stadium : Match Preview

15 September 2012 08:34
Arsenal V Southampton - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Wenger hails impressive Cazorla Arsene Wenger feels Santi Cazorla's cavalier style helped him settle right into the heart of the Arsenal side.

The Spain midfielder has caught the eye with impressive displays in the first three Barclays Premier League games following his £15million summer move from Malaga. Cazorla netted his first Arsenal goal in the 2-0 win at Liverpool as the Gunners headed into the international break unbeaten and on the back of three clean sheets. The 27-year-old is again expected to be at the centre of the action when newly-promoted Southampton come to the Emirates Stadium looking for their first points on their return to the top flight.

"Cazorla has gained the respect of everybody very quickly. Cazorla is humble, he loves the game and that is what you want from every football player," Wenger said.

"They talk on the pitch, don't need to speak too much, just go on the pitch and show what you can do. That is what he does. "He loves the game, loves to play with his partners and that is the best way to gain respect from everybody." German striker Lukas Podolski, signed from Cologne, also found the net at Anfield, producing a dynamic display on the left side of the attack.

While fellow summer recruit Olivier Giroud, top scorer in Ligue 1 for champions Montpellier last season, has yet to break his Gunners duck, Wenger has been impressed by how the trio have settled into the hustle and bustle of the English domestic game.

"They are used to European football much more than the Premier League. The Premier League is a bit more special thanks to the rhythm of the games, the pace, the intensity of the commitment, intensity of every challenge," he said. "Sometimes [it is difficult] to adapt to that, but the way we play is a very continental style, so it gives them a good chance to adapt very quickly. "Players like Cazorla have adapted in a speedy way, the game goes through them.

"Sometimes it is easy in the middle of the park, sometimes it is easy in the centre of the pitch to adapt because the game goes more through you."

Theo Walcott is a doubt to face his former club because of a virus which saw him miss England's World Cup qualifier against Ukraine at Wembley. Meanwhile, Nigel Adkins is proud of the way Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has developed since leaving Southampton - but promised to do everything he can to stop him and Arsenal.

The 19-year-old graduated from the south coast club's academy and helped Saints to automatic promotion from the third tier in his only full season there in the first team. Oxlade-Chamberlain's performances saw him join Arsenal for a fee rising to £15million last summer and he could now face his former club. Adkins is proud of the way the winger has developed since leaving St Mary's and, while he would love him to be lining up for Saints, takes pride in his performances. He does, though, hope the winger has an off day.

"I am very proud," Adkins said. "I think everybody should be proud because he has come through our system. We said at the time we would have loved him to have stayed with us because this is where we wanted to be. "We wanted Alex to be playing for us in the Premier League, but as a League One player he made the decision to then move. "He has done fantastic there. I think if we can give them (players) the right principles in life and the right standards in how they conduct themselves, they can improve.

"It is always a joy to watch him play. You want him to do well for England, and for himself and his family at his football club. "On Saturday, though, it is about us winning so we will do everything we can to get that win. "We want that winning mentality but it is great to see that Alex is doing ever so well at this moment in time. "As long as he keeps his feet on the ground, keeps working very, very hard on his game and does not take anything for granted, there is no reason why he can't go from strength to strength."

New singings Gaston Ramirez and Maya Yoshida could be involved for the first time, while fellow new boy Emmanuel Mayuka will also be pushing for a starting role after his substitute appearance against Manchester United. Danny Fox is in contention after overcoming a groin injury that ruled him of international duty with Scotland, but Guly do Prado may be dropped after this week admitting drink-driving.

Source: PA