The new Saints boss Claude Puel can’t hide his respect for Arsene Wenger, who was his former manager at AS Monaco many years ago, and this will be the first time he has come up against him as a manager in his own right. The Saints have only lost to the Gunners once in their last six meetings and Puel is hoping this game will be just as tough for his old boss.
Puel said on the Official Southampton website: “It’s the first time that we can play one against one as I haven’t met him in an international game or Champions League game so far,”
“It’s the first time we can compete against each other and it’s a pleasure of course because he was a very important person for me and he’s a great manager.
“Arsene is an example for all the coaches because for so many years he’s done really well in the Premier League, with Champions League secured every season.
“People don’t sometimes realise how good his work with Arsenal has been, and I really think he’s a good example for all the other trainers.”
“Arsene was my trainer during seven years at Monaco and it will be a pleasure to see him on the other bench,”
“It’s the first time competing for two French managers, one a young manager in England and the other a strong older manager.
“It would be great to get the win because I have a lot of respect for him.”
Arsenal know they must improve their record as they have not even managed one goal in the last three meetings with the Saints, but so far Puel’s team is struggling to make his new formation work. The Saints defender Ryan Bertrand thinks that his teams great record against us will give them confidence, and he reckons the team are now getting the hang of Puel’s new formation and style. “They are a great team and they love to have possession of the football. The Emirates is always a tough place to go, but we’ve had success there of late and hopefully we can keep that going,” Bertrand said.
“It’s a resilience that we’ve built up and thoroughly earned over the last couple of seasons, which has seen us go to the so-called big four clubs and get results.
“It’s a perfect opportunity for us. We’ve dropped a few points, but this is a great chance to go and win against a big team and get our season up and running.”
“It’s been a summer of transition and you can see we have a slightly new regime and a few new players with a new system to adapt to,”
“The boys are working hard and I’m sure we’ll get it right sooner or later. In football you sometimes have a slight change and new ways of thinking.
“That can sometimes take a couple of months, but the boys are getting to grips with it and it’s only a matter of time now before a win comes I feel.”
Arsenal really need to attack them from the off and scare them into mistakes while they are still unsure. Wenger really must not let his old pupil get one over him this week, especially if his tactics are better than ours!