Arsenal have to travel to Southampton on Sunday knowing that this is one of their bogey teams. The Gunners have only won their once in their last six visits and it looks like this week could be just as tough. The Saints have hardly been impressive this season but they destroyed Everton in their last home game, and ran Manchester City right down to the line before losing at the Etihad.
We were told by Arsene Wenger to expect an experienced line up tonight and we certainly have that, and it looks like we are going to be going to be going for goals.
This was my predicted line-up earlier….
Debuchy, Mertesacker, Holding
Chambers, Coquelin, Elneny, Maitland-Niles
Walcott, Wilshere, Giroud
We are now entering the most gruelling part of the season with Arsenal playing a game every three days, starting tonight against BATE, so surely Wenger will have little choice but to use every single player in the squad or risk injuries and fatigue. The good news is that all our rivals had to play Champions League matches this week which will weaken them for the tests ahead, and it was nice to find out that Manchester City are not invincible after all!
After the shock of seeing some top teams drop down into the Europa League, Arsenal still have to play their last group game tonight against BATE. We have already easily qualified as group winners but BATE still have an outside chance of reaching the knockout stages if they win this game.
After the defeat to Man United last weekend, Arsenal will be hoping to get back to winning ways in the Europa League tomorrow night against BATE, who became the Belarus Champions for the 11th time in a row just last week. BATE could still qualify for the knockout stages if they beat Arsenal (and the other two draw) so this is all they have to play for and will surely try to give us a fright.
The Arsenal first team have hardly been doing well this season with just 9 wins out of their first 15 Premier League games. You could say they have been unlucky and have had many dodgy referee decisions against them but the fact is that they are simply making too many mistakes and not scoring enough goals. With that in mind you would think that our reserves would be fighting to win a place in the main team, and with every Europa League game giving them the chance to impress Arsene Wenger they should be playing their hearts out.
The biggest question today was whether Arsene Wenger would choose Danny Welbeck or Olivier Giroud to start today in place of Alexandre Lacazette, who was taken off at half-time against Huddersfield with a groin injury. But it seems that Wenger was just leading Mourinho astray and the Frenchman leads the line.
We are used to the TV pundits putting down Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal teams, especially the ex-Liverpool and Man United stars, but today we have had support from a very unexpected source, the Man United and England legend Phil Neville, who won six Premier League titles, three FA Cups and a European Cup with the Red Devils.