Welcome to Talking Heads.
Before and after every first-team fixture, our MatchDay Show guest and an Arsenal blogger will have their say on the game.
Arsenal took on Southampton in the Premier League on Saturday and our Talking Heads for this game were Gunners legend Nigel Winterburn and Tim Clark of Arse2Mouse.
Read on for their views on the Gunners' home game against Southampton.
NIGEL WINTERBURN, STUDIO GUEST
It was a terrific game. Arsenal were outstanding for the first 45 minutes, they had far too much movement for Southampton and the passing was very sharp. In the second half, and this often happens when you've got a commanding lead, Arsenal dropped their level a bit. They didn't play quite as well after the break but overall I was really impressed by Arsenal.
Podolski scored the goal of the game and we now seem to have a few options from free-kicks because Cazorla and Arteta can also take them. Defensively we looked solid as well - with the exception of that one slip for Southampton's goal - and I was particularly impressed by Kieran Gibbs. He was my man of the match - and not just because he's a left back! So far this season Arsenal have looked very strong in general and long may it continue.
I think it will be quite an open game. I’ve been quite impressed with what I’ve seen of Southampton so far. They like to try and play football and have some dangerous players. The problem is that they’re not picking up the points that they’d have liked to, with the performances they’ve had. They look quite good going forward, but defensively look like they might concede goals. It will be a difficult game for Arsenal, but I think it’s one that will suit them.
Lukas Podolski seems to be settling in nicely and Santi Cazorla has been very good - it looks like the two of them have a good understanding already. The whole team has impressed me with their attitude and their work rate, which is the key to success to start with. Work rate is something that you can sometimes forget about when you try to play attractive football, but it’s so important to a club like Arsenal. If the work rate is right, the passing and the performances will follow.
It’s always difficult when you come back from an international break. There’s such a short period of time to prepare and you have to assess the players that have been away. There could be a couple of changes, but it wouldn’t surprise me if the team is exactly the same. I think Arsenal will win 3-1.
TIM CLARK, ARSE2MOUSE
As an inveterate moaner, it’s hard to know where to start with that. The only thing I can find to complain about Saturday’s game was that the sauce on the celebratory garlic chilli chicken I ordered afterwards was a little dry. Sack the board, etc. Much of the plaudits have understandably gone to Podolski, whose charging run set up the first, while his pearler of a free-kick showed he’s got skill to go with the raw power. Pick of the six goals, though, was the near post banger from Gervinho, who really does look revitalised. And how about the sand wedge chip from Arteta to set it up? Mikilicious.
The real standouts for me, though, were Mertesacker, who continues to ooze class at the back, (at some point we’ll have to mop it up), and my new pocket-sized crush Santi Cazorla. It probably wasn’t clear if you only saw the highlights, but the Spaniard absolutely ran the show. His range of passing, and the speed with which he sees opportunities, is ensorcelling. The only downer was the end of our run of clean sheets, for which the keeper rightly carries the can (when ideally he would have carried the ball). There’s little point in dwelling on that mistake, particularly as high balls have generally been dealt with effectively during Szczesny’s tenure, but of more concern is his kicking. See, I knew I’d be able to find something.
After two games that were all foreplay and no finish, the win at Anfield came as a sweet relief. We’ve had almost two weeks to bask in the afterglow of that result, but now’s the time to stub out the post-coital gasper and crack on with the business of turning a decent start into a really good one. Nothing less than three points on Saturday will do, and given how we’ve struggled to undress recently-promoted teams at the Emirates in past seasons, nothing less than 100 per cent focus from the lads is required.
But which lads? The major selection conundrum is who comes in to replace Abou and his Inspector Gadget legs if, as seems likely, the boss decides not to risk him after picking up a minor thigh twang in midweek. I asked that question on Twitter and, aside from the comedian who suggested we played Yann M’Vila, most went with either Ramsey or Coquelin. I’d plump for the latter, largely because I think his quick feet and willingness to drive forwards make him a similar fit to Daddy Long Legs.
Whatever happens, we’ll need to be patient and inventive in order to circumvent what’s likely to be a parked Southampton bus. The scare that they recently gave Man United means there’s no room for complacency. (I write that as if there ever is room for complacency.) Let’s hope OG finally finds his shooting boots, Szcz continues the good work done by Don Vito and Santi… and let’s just hope Santi keeps being Santi. Is it too early to tell him I love him?
* The views expressed in Talking Heads do not necessarily reflect those of Arsenal Football Club or Arsenal Broadband LtdCopyright 2016 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source