Arsenal get back to Premier League action after a two week international break as we welcome newly promotes Southampton to the Emirates on Saturday afternoon.
After two rather disappointing goalless draws against Sunderland and Stoke, our season finally kicked off with an impressive 2-0 win away to Liverpool at Anfield thanks to goals from summer signings Lukas Podolski and Santi Cazorla.
The lack of goals have grabbed the headlines so far, mainly due to the departure of RVP, but a lot of credit should go to the way we have defended so far this season.
Three clean sheets on the bounce is a drastic improvement from the 10 goals we shipped in our first three games last season, and if we can make it four shut-outs on Saturday we’ll have a great chance of collecting another 3 points.
The Saints arrive in north London bottom of the league and without a point so far this campaign. However, it isn’t really a fair reflection on how Nigel Adkins side have performed.
While the 2-0 home loss to Wigan was a disappointment, they were superb in both 3-2 defeats to Manchester City and Manchester United.
Southampton pushed the big-boys all the way and showed they are more than capable of scoring against the very best, so Arsenal will have to be wary this weekend.
Arsenal welcome back first-choice goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny after he recovered from a rib injury. Italian Vito Mannone is likely to make way despite keeping two clean sheets during the Pole’s absence.
Arsene Wenger is sweating over the fitness of Theo Walcott, who was struck down by a virus while away with England. Abou Diaby is also rated at 50:50 after picking up a knee complaint during the week.
Long-term absentees Tomas Rosicky, Jack Wilshere, Bacary Sagna and Emmanuel Frimpong all remain out but are just 2-3 weeks away from full fitness.
Southampton’s new signings Gaston Ramirez and Maya Yoshida could be set for their debuts, while fellow new-boy Emmanuel Mayuka is pushing for his first start having made a substitute appearance against United last time out.
Danny Fox is is also in contention after overcoming a groin injury, but Jack Cork remains out with an ankle problem.
A big question mark will be who starts at the back. Thomas Vermaelen and Per Mertesacker have formed an impressive partnership, but a fully-fit Laurent Koscielny is pushing for a recall.
I also feel there is no point risking Diaby in this one. Many feel Ramsey will come in, and they are probably right, but i think Coquelin is a better bet. Lets give the youngster a chance to impress.
Southampton have allowed the opposition more shots on goal than any other side so far this season, while Arsenal are yet to concede. The stats suggest a home win and we also think Arsene Wenger’s men will collect all three points, but that clean-sheet record will go. Arsenal 3-1 Southampton.
Please leave your predicted line-ups and scores in the comments section.
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