How to beat Southampton

Best of the Blogs - 90min

 This Saturday we come up against a Southampton side that have provided stiff opposition both home and away in recent times for the Gunners.

Here are five things that Arsene Wenger needs to consider to earn all three points this weekend...

1. Start Mustafi

Arsenal have finally acquired the centre back they have been crying out for in Shkodran Mustafi. What Wenger must refrain from doing now is starting him on the bench. In order to develop a relationship and understanding with Laurent Koscielny, he needs to play as many minutes as possible, not looking on from the sidelines.

Best of the Blogs

This first appeared on 90min in 2016


2. Keep Giroud on the bench

Up against the towering presences of Jose Fonte and Virgil van Dijk, Olivier Giroud will struggle to find space and will inevitably become frustrated. Bringing our target man back into the side will lead to cross after cross, which Southampton will deal with all afternoon.

Against a central defence starved of pace, the likes of Alexis, Theo Walcott and possibly another debutant in Lucas Perez running in behind them at different angles will be the way through this resolute Saints side.

3. Feed Ozil and Alexis

The first-half demolition of Watford two weeks ago showed just how much we rely on both Alexis and Ozil, and when both are at their scintillating best, the side is transformed.

Their link-up play encourages others to move off the ball and find space, and the Southampton midfield will struggle to cope with the pace and movement of the dynamic duo.

Alexis looks to be edging back to his best, and don't be surprised to see him adding to his goal tally should Ozil be firing on all cylinders in that pocket behind the front man.

4. Be wary of the counter-attack

Despite an inconsistent start to the season under a new manager and a host of new faces, one thing the Saints can boast is pace on the counter-attack.New signing Nathan Redmond has already shown what he can produce, and alongside Shane Long and Dusan Tadic, this trio could pose a serious threat when winning the ball back.

The use of both Granit Xhaka and Francis Coquelin may be in Wenger's thoughts, as they have the ability to cut out attacking play, while the former showed his ability to spray balls across the pitch under pressure, which could give Alexis and Walcott chances to really threaten out wide.

5. Remain patient

In this same fixture last season, we were guilty of becoming frustrated against a side who were willing to sit back and play for the draw, while relying on Fraser Forster to bail them out.

Considering where they are in the table and their recent results, Southampton will probably play for the draw, meaning we will have to stay calm in attack. The game won't be won in the first half, however the side's clinical nature will be key here, and an early goal would help settle those nerves.

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