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Seriously International break, have you quite finished already?

The cheek of it though, the season had just kicked off, teams were adding the final touches to their squads via the transfer market and then just like that we are made to sit through matches that a lot of people (me!) care very little about (apologies to those that do)

Anyway as long as none of our players were broken and tossed to one side then I guess I shouldn't grumble too much. In some ways the International break has helped us somewhat, Lucas Perez has had a chance to chill with the boys, learn some street slang with Alex Iwobi and hopefully bang some goals past Petr Cech at London Colny. Did you listen to Arsène talking about Lucas and his ability to play passes between the lines? He also said that he sees him primarily as a centre forward. All pretty interesting and exciting stuff there I thought.

Shkodran Mustafi gave us all a scare for Germany when he went down in one of the games, I didn't care enough to remember who the opposition was in truth but he got back to his feet and continued, he is ready to start for the Arsenal this afternoon, in fact rumour has it that both of the new boys will start the game. Well at least that was the rumour doing the rounds on Twitter last night.

The hint was that we may well see a few curve balls thrown into the starting 11 today. It wouldn't be a great surprise given the amount of time between the last International match and our away Champions League clash against PSG on Tuesday. God I hate Arsenal matches being played on a Tuesday, that is my football day and I end up having a massive mental fight in my head between playing and watching.

I digress. I think Arsène will be looking to shuffle his pack for today and Tuesday. One bit of news is that Aaron Ramsey will not be available for the next two games and from what ’I've read, it appears that Arsenal fans are quite calm about that particular piece of news. That just shows how deep we are right now.

Southampton have been having a few teething problems this season. They have a new manager, have sold a couple of their best players including one of John Cross’ favourites Victor Wanyama. They have also switched to a diamond shape which has taken some getting used to.

That being the case, I wonder if we will look to exploit the flanks a little bit. If Kieran Gibbs comes in for Nacho Monreal for example then you would have to assume that Arsène is very much setting his team up for the opposition. With the Saints midfield likely to be quite narrow, you would imagine that our full backs will be more able to saunter up the pitch and provide our width for the afternoon a little more than usual, and Gibbs is very good at doing that, even if his end product could be improved upon.

That said Nacho Monreal did not go away with Spain so he should be as fresh as a daisy. But honestly, I can argue the case in almost all the positions. Usually I like to think I have some idea as to how we will line up for the game, even if I may be a little unsure as to one position but today there are so many permutations.

Will Alexis continue as a central striker after performing so well at Watford? Maybe he came back too early so Giroud will lead the line. Giroud? He isn't yet at full fitness to start the game and apparently did not produce for France. Ahh but what about Lucas Perez? He's never played central striker for Arsenal yet how can you play him?

You can pretty much argue with yourself like a mad person all over the pitch. Well I certainly can.

Another example? Ok what about Rob Holding, a player who has taken to Premier League life like a duck to water, has been consistently praised by Arsène Wenger and he simply does not deserve to be pushed to one side based on the quality of his game.

The wide positions could be key for us given Southampton’s set up so a player like Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain who can run with the ball and drive into those spaces could be a big help. But Theo and Alexis oh and Iwobi.

So yeah, you get the point. I have no idea how we are going to line up. Here is my prediction though, we are probably going to use 11 players from this group. Yeah I know, you don't get information like this for free around these parts. So yeah.. The Jeff probably starts at centre forward.

Mean Lean’s Predicted Line Up:



Whatever the team we field we really have to build on our performance and victory at Watford all those months ago before the International break, or something. We had been gradually improving from the start of the season and we mustn’t let the break stop us from doing the  things that we did well, especially in that first half at Vicarage Road. That means keeping our intensity and commitment high regardless of the quality of the opposition. Forcing them to crap their pants when they have the ball, pushing them to mess up in a dangerous area of the pitch and then a few quick passes later and one of our players is banging them into the net. It just sounds so simple when you write it down.

Hang on to your whatsits indeed! This is a good chance to get a run going, not only a run of results but a run of hard work and performances, we have enough quality to mean that results will come as a consequence of playing well. But let's focus on getting the three points today and hopefully the rest will follow. Due to the Manchester Derby, where I'm sure man u tickets will be selling like hot cakes, we have a chance to close the gap on at least one of those sides, so as Arsene would say.. 'let's do it'

Usual post match fun and games later.

'til then

  • 15 Sep 2015
    So let me stop reminiscing of days gone by and let me focus on our Welsh wonder. Let me start off by saying that I think it is quite obvious that Aaron Ramsey is better in central midfield. His partnership with Mesut Özil, his running from deep and his underrated ball winning ability makes him a ...Read more