Arsenal go into Today’s encounter with Southampton with calm somewhat restored after the mass hysteria which came around at the start of the season as we once again went through the what seems to be annual cycle of opening day defeat, spend some money, Wenger out. You understand how it works by now.
Those fans that were gunning for Wenger after their 4-3 defeat to Liverpool on the opening weekend of the season would have been somewhat placated after their comfortable 3-1 win away at Watford before the international break. Not only have they got a first win of the season they have also added a couple of new faces to their squad
Their defence looked woefully short of quality during that aforementioned defeat to Liverpool but with the signing of German international Shkodran Mustafi that gap looks set to be well and truly plugged. He will be set to make his debut this afternoon.
While at the other end of the pitch the attack unit has got some reinforcements with Lucas Perez joining from Deportivo La Coruna for £17m. Perhaps it’s not quite the forward that Arsenal fans were hoping for but at least it is some form of addition to a lightly stocked area of the squad
Their opponents Southampton are still looking for their first win of the season and manager Claude Puel is more importantly looking for his first win as Southampton manager. They left it late to salvage a point at home to Sunderland before the international break and had Sunderland keeper Jordan Pickford to thank as it was his error that led to their equaliser.
Whereas Arsenal go through the same process each Summer where as if the world is about to end because Wenger hasn’t spent £50m on a player, Southampton have to go through a mass exodus with the majority of their stars ending up at Liverpool.
Ronald Koeman managed to do a fantastic rejuvenation job in the two years he was there but it seems as it may be third time unlucky for new man Claude Puel. The well on the South Coast looks like it has finally be run dry after the departure of key players this Summer.
Graziano Pelle’s departure would have been a huge loss and it’s goals where they seem to be struggling the most. Shane Long is hard working and can be a real nuisance for defenders but he is never going to score anywhere near double figures. The concern for Southampton must be where are the goals going to come from.
The decision to convert Nathan Redmond into a forward is still very much a work in progress but Southampton are going to need more than just the former Norwich man’s input if they are going to get even near a top half finish let alone a third consecutive season in the Europa League places.
I think normality has been restored at Arsenal and that should be proven further with a comfortable win for Arsene Wenger’s side. Wenger will get the better of his compatriot Puel and Arsenal will register a second consecutive win. Home win for me.