Southampton find themselves in 3rd behind Liverpool and Arsenal, heading into a clash with the Gunners at the Emirates this weekend. A little over a year ago, the Saints visited the Emirates and left with a loss, a 6-1 loss at that. With a little help from two Southampton own goals, Arsenal’s Gervinho (who now plays for Roma) scored two goals, along with goals from Lukas Podolski and Theo Walcott. Southampton held their own when Arsenal visited St. Mary’s Stadium, tying the Gunners 1-1. Will we see a repeat of last season’s shellacking of Southampton, or will the 3rd place Southampton Saints hold their own this time around?
My players to watch:
Forward, #9, Jay Rodriguez: Jay Rodriguez has been a huge part of the successful campaign Southampton is having thus far. He has 14 appearances and is the team’s leading goal scorer with four goals. Look for him to connect with partner forward Rickie Lambert in the Arsenal defensive third.
Southampton’s Defensive Line: Thanks to Twitter, I stumbled on a fun fact about the Saints. They are the league’s top defensive side so far this season (Manchester City being the best offensive side).
Southampton have only conceded 5 goals with 6 clean sheets. It’ll be interesting to see how the strong Arsenal midfield can pick away at the Southampton defense.
Midfielder, #7, Tomas Rosicky: Not much has been discussed about Rosicky this season but he has played an important role in the Arsenal midfield this season. He brings a lot of energy and creativity when Arsenal need it. Also, I should mention he finished third in the votes to be Arsenal’s Player of the Month for October (behind Koscielny and of course, Ramsey). I look for Rosicky to either start for the Gunners or come off the bench in the 2nd half and bring a spark to the offense.
Defender, #4, Per Mertesacker: Per Mertesacker has really emerged as one of the best central defenders in the Premier League. The dynamic duo of he and Laurent Koscielny have played a major part in the successful season Arsenal are having so far. He will have to play is very best against Lambert and Rodriguez if Arsenal want to see a victory on Saturday.
Those are my players to watch for the clash between Southampton and Arsenal. I think Arsenal will come out on top of this one with a 2-1 victory; however, a win for the Saints will tie them with Arsenal in total points. On another note, Theo Walcott is back from injury and might see some time coming off the bench.
Source: Arsenal World