Three defeats for newly promoted Southampton is quite deceiving for how they have played in their return to the English top level. Having to play Manchester City, Manchester United and Arsenal in three of their first four matches isn't the ideal start Nigel Adkins will have wished for.
Sitting dead last in the EPL standings, Southampton will travel to the Emirates Saturday looking to grab at least their first point of the new season. The Saints will be disappointed with themselves after failing to hold onto two important leads they had against Manchester City away and Manchester United at home. After being ahead 2-1 in both matches, desperation defending led to disappointing defeat at the hands of both Manchester clubs.
Arsenal will not only have to deal with a Southampton side that can cause problems on the counter attack, but they will also have their hands full with an in-form Rickie Lambert. Having been kept out of the starting XI against Manchester City in their opening match, Lambert came in to score later in that match and has kept on scoring since.
Lambert's outstanding aerial game will be a concern for Steve Bould's new and improved defensive strategy for Arsenal. In previous seasons, Arsenal's defense has been very suspect, with consistent issues defending set pieces and a high defensive line that allowed teams to get in behind them. So far in the new campaign, Bould appears to have fixed the defensive issues, and that has helped the Gunners claim three clean sheets in as many matches.
Going forward, Arsene Wenger's side looked very dangerous in their last match against Liverpool. A rejuvenated Abou Diaby looked full of confidence on the ball, as many compared his performance to those of Patrick Vieira. The French international picked up a goal for France during the international break. He also picked up a slight knock, but Wenger said it was nothing serious.
Santi Cazorla also grabbed a goal for Spain and will hope to put in another solid performance for his new club on Saturday. The Spanish midfielder has enjoyed his time in London thus far, and his partnership with Lukas Podolski has evolved with time. At Anfield, the two combined very well on a number of occasions, with one ending in Arsenal's second goal.
One question mark for Arsene Wenger—or maybe two—will be the return of Laurent Koscielny and Wojciech Szczesny. The French defender could certainly replace German international Per Mertesacker in the Arsenal defense, while Szczesny will likely get the start if healthy over Vito Mannone.
A home match against Southampton will by no means be a cake walk for Arsenal, but the Gunners should be able to see off the Saints. Coming off an impressive victory at Anfield and not having conceded any goals so far this season, Arsenal will hope to make it two wins in as many matches.
How will Arsenal approach the match on Saturday, and will Southampton be able to grab at least a point from Arsenal?
Prediction: Arsenal 2-0 Southampton