@LaboGoon leads us to the South coast
After going through the yawns of international breaks “tis’ the season” of football jolly as the games just keep rolling in.
Good day one and all…
Arsenal is at the South Coast this afternoon to take on Southampton under new manager Ralph Husenhattl; this of course is his first game in front of the St Mary’s faithful following the recent sacking of the sparkless Mark Hughes.
The Gunners are currently sitting outside of a Champions League qualifying spot on goal difference behind Chelsea, both started the weekend trailing Spurs by two points. With our neighbours having beaten Burnley and the Blues favourites at Brighton, the pressure will be on Unai Emery’s side to get all three points as the battle between the three London rivals look like it is going to be very close.
Considering the form the Gunners are in many see this as a bread and butter encounter, but we have been hot and cold against the Saints in recent years. We won three and drew one of our last four meetings in all competitions, however, we won just one of our last seven trips to St Mary’s (D4-L2). Something Ralph no doubt will be reminding his team about to give them the belief that they can get something from this fixture.
It’s going to take something special though as their only recent sign of life was the first 20 minutes vs Manchester United in a game that ended 2-2. Their defense has been rather pasty all season, having conceded 30 goals in 16 Premier League games and their attack even more anaemic as their main strikers netted only 6 of the 13 Saints goals between them, Danny Ings top scorer with 4.
The free scoring Arsenal will look to exploit the hosts’ defensive issues who will miss a few regular starters through injury. We have a few issues of our own with the suspensions of both Mustafi and Sokratis leaving a hole at the back, but should Lichtsteiner, Koscielny and Monreal start as the back three, the experience between them should do to keep the Saints attack at arms length, the only breach possibly coming through mea culpa.
Do the Gunners have too much for the Saints?
The appointment of Ralph Hasenhuttl, who was on the radar of Bayern Munich not too long ago, is likely to be a breath of fresh of air down at St Mary’s as they are looking to drag themselves out of the pit which they have dug themselves in to, so at the least we should expect his players to put their best foot forward with a committed performance today.
Which makes things a bit tricky for the Gunners not really knowing what to expect as games tend to go up against a new man. But we are on a good run, mixing it up dominating teams and grinding out results, and will be looking to take advantage as the Austrian are still settling in.
Good luck to all Gooners watching the games today and if I’m forced to stick my neck out, I think the home crowd will definitely bring the noise but in cold and wet conditions with the hosts on a 12 game winless streak… we may just edge it.