Wasn't it this fixture last season where the high flying Saints were given their first big test of the season at Ashburton Grove? That was the game where Boruc decided to show some of his fancy footwork before Oliver Giroud nipped the ball away from his toes and opened the scoring into an empty net. Giroud scored the late second from the spot as we won 2-0. Southampton suffered a dip of form after that result. This time round, Ronald Koeman's Southampton have surprised pretty much everyone up to now, well that was until last weekend. Southampton lost some of their glow when Manchester City stuck three past them with no reply, this was also after having a man extra for the last 15 minutes or so.
That has got to dent the self belief a little, especially when the next fixture is at Arsenal, a team who have picked up two important victories in a row. Confidence is a large factor in football. Very difficult to quantify but the difference between a team full of belief and one totally devoid of it are two different animals.
Confidence seems even more important to Arsène Wenger's teams than most other given our style of play so I hope victories against Dortmund and West Brom can bring some of that confidence out this evening. The players we have in our squad are far better than the displays that we have seen for the most part. The chemistry appears to be forming now all that is missing has been confidence and injury. The latter remains an ongoing issue with Kieran Gibbs, Nacho Monreal and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain as doubts to make the squad.
Judging by the training photos it looks like both Chambo and Monro trained while Gibbo was nowhere to be seeno.
Arsène said in his pre match chat that he hoped one of his left backs would be fit and that left back seems to be Monreal which is fine. Both our left backs being out would not only have left a hole in that position but it would have more than likely caused disruption elsewhere in our back line.
I hope to see Welbeck and Giroud playing together again, I like the options that gives us but I thought Arsène put a little bit of distance away from that. He basically said it was something that can happen but won't happen all the time. We may well see more of it tonight but I wouldn't be at all surprised to see Alexis rested. He has played a lot of football for both Arsenal and Chile. He wasn't at his best against either Dortmund or West Brom so before it gets rather Christmasy around here, it may be a good time to rest those thighs before having to put them back into use every three days for most of December.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain didn't deserve to be on the bench at West Brom after some impressive performances in recent weeks so while it will be an obvious blow to rest such a talent like Alexis, it is not as if we do not have a top performer who could come in. This change might not happen but if I was trying to worm my way into Arsène's brain, this is what I would be thinking for sure.
Mean Lean's Predicted Line Up:
We have to use the previous two victories as a stepping stone and not another false dawn. If we play with an aggressive attitude and high tempo then hopefully we will be able to put some pressure on the Saints back four. They will be without one of their best players in Morgan Schneiderlin and that is a big blow for them.
The usual flurry of post match stuff later. The Arsenal Vision Podcast is now available on iTunes so all you iPhone users make sure you do your iTuney thing. Not sure why I am adding a 'y' at the end of everything today. One of those days I guess.
There will be a Podcast page on the site at some point, I need to work out the best way to do this so I will get back to you on that. You will be able to download the Podcast when the Podcast is available via the My Vision section.
Also I will have a post match Q&A with some more Gooners which is likely to be up late or early hours GMT. I wasn't able to do one for the last game so apologies if you had an eye open for that one.
My thoughts on the game are likely to be up tomorrow at some point.
Got all that? Great.. let's win this tonight please, I'm kinda in the mood to be happy tonight.
Come on you Gunners!