Things are not looking good for Arsenal ahead of tomorrows trip to St Marys to face a Southampton team that are playing with confidence, and they usually play even better against the Gunners!
Arsene Wenger has nothing but admiration for the South Coast side, who seem to sell their best players every summer, but still manage to replace them with just as much quality, and also bring plenty of highly talented youngsters through their academy.
The Saints beat Liverpool in both legs of their League Cup semi-final and Wenger knows that it will be a tough game tomorrow. Le Prof said on Arsenal.com: “They are on a high. They produced a fantastic performance at Liverpool, so overall that makes the game even more interesting and more difficult as well. They are not short of confidence at the moment and will certainly have a big support, but it’s an FA Cup game and we want to qualify.
“They are certainly a football club who have done one of the best jobs in producing young players, on keeping the quality high despite losing big players. Overall, I think they’ve done a remarkable job, because they were punished quite harshly because they went down to League One, but they came up and since they’ve produced consistent results and quality games. I think it is a club where you can say ‘really well done’ because what they’ve done is remarkable.”
Wenger also believes they are now an established top flight club after many years in the lower divisions. “I think they have the quality to do that.” Wenger continued. “When you look they produced Walcott, Bale, Oxlade-Chamberlain, plus all the players that have left them since. Last year they lost Wanyama, they lost Mane, and people thought they would suffer this year. Again, they have really top quality – they lost Lallana, they lost many top players. Overall what they have managed to do is absolutely remarkable. I think it’s the club in England that has produced and developed the most players in the last 10 years and that’s absolutely remarkable.”
One of the things that Wenger didn’t mention is that the Saints have beaten Arsenal in two Cup competitions in recent history as well, so we have every right to be worried about this game. Will Wenger finally get it right tomorrow?