Southampton pre-view: will we cope with their high pressing game?

So the international break has come to an end (finally) and we can now go back to normal. The loss at Old Trafford already seems like a lifetime ago as we look to bounce back against Soton.

It will not be as easy as we would think. In fact tomorrow, the lads need to have their heads screwed on straight if we are to get three points from them. Soton have without a doubt been the surprise package of the season and I think it is quite clear why. Pocchetino has employed a high pressing game that evidently few can live with. Arsenal, sorry to say, are a team that struggle against high pressing teams. Mulumbu with West Brom did it against us and so did BVB. The only difference with BVB is that they are a big team so we went into the game expecting a challenge. Our undoing would be to underestimate the saints.

One key concern I have is the way we try to pass the ball out of our danger area so complacently. We got punished by BVB when Ramsey got caught on the ball and have survived many more scares due to Koscielny’s astonishing recovery skills. Soton thrive off such mistakes so we MUST be cautious of that. In this game, concentration will be key.

There are however a few positives for us. The biggest obviously being Walcott’s availability. He couldn’t have come back at a better time. Giroud is beginning to look weary, not only because he has played every game, but also because of his incredible work rate. With Walcott in the side we have extra attacking outlet taking the pressure off. Giroud. Also with Ozil and Santi’s mobility, he can roam to his preffered central position and cause damage. I expect us to score more goals than we have been.

Also, a few of our key players were rested an have recharged their batteries. Ozil, Ramsey, Sagna, Jack and Giroud that is. This was a much needed rest and I’m hoping we can take things up a notch from now going forward.

To sum it up, I expect a difficult game with the winner decided by a slim margin. We are capable of taking the points but we will have to be as tactically smart as we were in Germany.


Written by: Marcus

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

59 Responses to Southampton pre-view: will we cope with their high pressing game?

  1. Afc says:

    I honestly believe that if arsenal don’t lose a goal during the high pressing start from Southampton then we will win the game. I’ve seen it soo many times, teams come to the ems press our players like mad dogs for 30 mins or so then get so tired we just pick them apart. So ye keep it closed of at the back for the first half then pick them apart in the second half . I really hope the players are up for it

  2. mA says:

    hello Gooners…

    now that I hear Henry is back at Arsenal, can the king himself take on Soton? He loved scoring against them, and I can bet him doing it again. Anyway, it won’t happen and I gree with Marcus that tomorrow’s game will not be easy. After traveling around the globe hopefully the boys will show some hunger and determination.

    it is a shame Flames is suspended (5 yellows already) because I would have loved to see who is more physical between him and Wanyama. I bet their manager will be cautious and they will be cagey especially during the 1st half. COYG, lets hammer them and extend the lead.

  3. says:

    Yes! You said it all. I’ve also said in the recent past that we’ve always been sluggish in scurrying the ball out of our dangerous area, and we have paid heavily for that in the past the most recent being against BVB in our UCL home game.

    Henceforth, especially with the return of ‘speedster’ TW14 who can enhance our counter-attacking potentials reminiscent of the days of King Henry.

    It is hoped we’d benefit a lot from the lesson from that BVB loss for a long time to come.

    COYG! Let’s go for the SOTON scalps if not the jugular.
    Sent from my BlackBerry wireless device from MTN

  4. Gerry says:

    Well done Marcus for taking up the baton, It is a tricky one.

    Many will cling to the fact that our record against the Saints is one of our better ones. But the’re are a far better proposition this time than almost any other.

    If they concentrate on playing their game, and we play to ours, it will come down to whether our midfield can prove the stronger, as, on paper they should. But matches are not played on paper …

    I stress again, it will be our line up the deciding factor, for the reasons you correctly give – How well we play out of defense? The keyword – TRANSITION!

    We know we are without Flamini, but doubts as to whether Ramsey, Wilshere, Walcott, and Rosicky start. If need be, we might even rest Giroud? Providing they have been working on this in training, I would opt for this break for Giro on Saturday. Then play him in the Marseilles game, then rest him for 10 days, and be fresh for the Everton, Napoli, Manc’s matches (all in 8 days!), then a nine day break to our first Chelsea meeting in the league?

    I know, OGAAT – But this is a time to ‘manage’ players. We need to take these games into account, and therefore AW’s thinking?

    Knowing he dislikes too many changes, I would expect the minimum of two, but a 3rd could be on the cards. These would be my suggestion, if eveyrbody comes through their fitness tests:
    —————Usual back 5 —————-

    —–Ramsey —————–Arteta——–

    Rosicky ———- Ozil ———– Santi—-

    —————— Gnabry ——————-

    Subs; Walcott, Hayden, Monreal/Giro (in order of likely appearance), Wilshere, Fabianski, Yennaris,

    This line up brings in Rosicky for Falmini, and Gnabry for the rested Giroud. If there is a 3rd change could be for Ramsey if he fails his test, which might mean Walcott starting and Rosicky dropping back, or Hayden starting?

    They will have to play differently, as nobody will be doing the hold up role that Giro plays. Instead, everything will be played to feet, fluidity across the front quartet, and probably given a shoot on sight policy?

    If successful, this could be our Plan B to rest our overused attackers. Plenty of scope to rest Gnabry with Akpom and Afobe on the hour? The midfield too need not be our main set up, given we may see Podolski before the year is out, and having Walcott back, along with the occasional use of Wilshere. That could also open doors for the exciting Zelalem for late sub duty in some games too?

    Remember, we cannot sign anybody until January. This is working with the best we have?

    Live with it!

  5. Marcus says:

    I think the idea is to impose our game but being tactically cautious. Wear them out then go for the kill.

  6. Marcus says:

    I think Wanyama is not as tenacious but then again with his physique he doesn’t need to be.

  7. Marcus says:

    Interesting line up. I beg to disagree though. My line up would be:
    GK- Szczesny

  8. 17highburyterrace says:

    Marcus, good job highlighting the issues and the positives heading into this match…Naturally, I’m also looking forward to the Ozster’s…

    I *was* gonna wait for that one, but I’m excited about the match as well as a few of the others this weekend. The Merseyside and 2nd City (B’ham) derbies should be interesting and Chelsea have often struggled at West Ham. City vs Totts could be good too…Lloris might want to improve on the work he did in the Ukraine… Those trips to Wales (Cardiff-ManU) have proven tough as well…

    Gerry, you’re a nut when it comes to these line-ups, though I love your faith in the younger guys (and the oldest, TR7)… For me this match is all about getting three points and getting Theo re-integrated into the squad. If he were to start it might allow us to match the So’ton pressing, esp. on Victor Wanyama. Both teams can be seen as using a double DM set-up (at times at least) but the key figures in this match, I think, will be Arteta at our end and Wanyama at theirs using ALL their teammates to stay out of trouble. That many guys here on BKesque wanted the Kenyan in our squad adds extra interest… I’m picking our guy to play immaculately while their fellow struggles… (He’s more of the “destroyer” type than the “ticking over” sort, no?) That we’ve got a little extra experience in the players providing outlets (vs their very good youngsters, Ward-Prowse and Shaw, for example) gives me that tiny additional bit of confidence…

    A final issue will be that So’ton are very happy shortening the match and trying to win FKs, corners and throw-ins. I think I read that 7 of their 15 goals have come from set-pieces and I know I’ve seen plenty of slow trots forward from the likes of Fonte and Lovren. We need to win these battles around the perimeter of the pitch and the resulting set plays. Maybe it’s time the BFG and Giroud (a must starter for me, and a no-brainer considering he exerted himself more in celebrations than play in the final Int’l) score or combine for a set-piece goal… There’s also the battle between the two Poles in goal…

    So, even though AW comments suggests Theo as a bench option only, I wouldn’t be surprised if he starts against his former club and young Luke Shaw, who contained him well in the 1-1 draw (our last match with them) on New Years day… In other words a front 6 of Arteta, Ramsey, Ozil, Santi, Theo and Giroud… Not as daring as some folks’ ideas, but there you go…

  9. 17highburyterrace says:

    Marcus, it appears we’re 100% agreed about the line-up… šŸ˜€

  10. proudgooner says:

    I don’t see Southampton’s defence as anything special and we should not underestimate them of course but we should beat them, a draw would be a poor result.
    We are top of the league and deserve to be there , where as South are in a false position i think and hope that today will be the our match will be the first of there slide down the table . I remember when Blackpool were sitting in a similar place in the table only to slide right down to the bottom, i dont think the Saints will be as servre but still they will drop away.
    We are at home with everything to play for, the team have a 2 point lead and should just be doing everything possible to stay there.
    3-0 for me .

  11. proudgooner says:

    I would go for Marcus line up, if its not broke dont fix it, only Theo warrants a change to the team for me again.
    COYG, looking forward to this 1 a must when. Some of our rivals are defo going to drop points.

  12. proudgooner says:

    I was going to go for 2-0 and its very possible, i am hoping that they will not take there foot of the gas and be happy with a 2-0 and push for more goals and that is why i have stuck my neck out for a 3-0 šŸ™‚

  13. Evening Dirt Box Ram Raiders ! šŸ˜†

    Thanks Marvellous ……it`s like being at the fine BK restaurant …..yours being the delicious first course starter, whilst we wait for Skippy`s main course , with the afters being an Arsenal win and then get sloshed !.
    The Erectile Dysfunctioners are a decent team, but come on, if we are to be considered Champions elect, then anything short of a win will be a disaster !.
    Yes , they press high, but so does Arshavin with a tall ironing board and after a while his arm and fcuking neck ache !.
    Lose or Draw and the knives will be out !.

  14. News for Gerry…………Bellerin has joined Watford on loan to at least this January !. Lets hope he actually gets some playing time unlike a lot of our boys who end up spending most of their time on the bench !.

  15. That handsome bastard Glic has put a question to VCC on the UMF page… he the only one who doesn`t get the ” Joker ” rule ?. Have any of UMFers used it ?.

  16. Gerry says:

    I see we disagree on two counts – Starting Walcott after 2 months out …. mmmn? Whereas he is my first substitute when their backs will be worn out chasing shadows.

    And starting Giro, which is what they will be setting part of their game plan because we are that predictable …. mmmnn? I like the idea of the more mobile Gnabry – If he is good enough to go to the WC in the strong German squad, he should be okay against Southampton, based on his previous efforts in the first team?

    If you don’t play Rosicky,where does the speed out of defense come from? Long balls to Walcott?

    Nah. I want AW to start managing the players. Be bold, not predictable. Giro may not have muchgame time in the ‘break’, but I bet he lived every minute of it. He went out there (to the Ukraine) shattered, I am just suggesting he has an extra 4 days off, as I don’t think he’ll be needed in my line up. But WTF DIK …

    btw, Wanyama is still adjusting to life in the EPL, but if he sits on Ozil you’ll need Rosicky to keep things moving?

  17. Gerry says:

    TCM – I think that rule applies to someone called glic – In fact I think the rule was put in just for him. Shame you didn’t put a team in isn’t it? šŸ˜†

  18. Gerry says:

    TCM – Watford could be ideal for him, as you say, if he gets some regular games.

    I’ve just noticed fans are reluctant to have the academy lads doing anything more than bench warming too

  19. Trouble is Gerry, Glic only got 1 point last time out, so double that is 2 !!!, big deal !. Oz and Dylan got zero…double that = mmmm calculator needed !. hahaha

  20. Gerry says:

    I see there is a Bundesliga game stating shortly, 7.30 ko, so I shall disappear until morning.

    Of course, the real big game is on Sunday – BM v BD – should be a cracker.

    I noticed during the German national team line up, I knew as many of them as I would the Spurs side from looks alone … I should get out more?

  21. Gerry says:

    Perhaps glic is planning a masterstroke of deception and going for a full house on double points?

  22. From looks alone, Gerry, the spurs players should be in the chamber of horrors at Madame Tussauds !.

  23. proudgooner says:

    Rosicky, Gnabry, Jack, TV5, Monreal is looking like a strong bench to me.
    If Giroud reall is feeling a bit burnt out then play him for a half, every game is a cup final in the league now for me. Strogest possible team should always be named, thje same could apply to Theo if he is not sharp enough give him a half. If people ar so worried about breaking down Souths defence then surly Theo has to play.?

  24. VCC says:

    Cockie……the Joker rule was put in to try and keep all parties interested throughout the season. It was thought if someone dropped too far behind they might lose enthusiasm. So introducing a double pointer could help them move up the UMF league??????

    Clear as mud I’m sure.

  25. 17highburyterrace says:

    Gerry, no fair to post and run… šŸ˜€

    Yeah, considering the various youth experiments we’ve endured it’s incredible how conservative AW has gotten. At the same time, I think experience teaches players how to contribute without working themselves to death or getting themselves injured…(This to me, is the greatest glory of “experienced” Ozil…) As such Giroud and/or Theo at 80-90% makes a lot more sense than Serge Gnabry in a brand new position… I can’t picture him leading the line but I don’t think it’s impossible that he could play a spell from the right wing…

    Rosicky is the more interesting question. Nobody wants to say it but (IMO, of course…) Ramsey has been playing as our #10 (or CAM or SS or whatever you guys like to call it). His workrate allows him to drop deeper but he’s been given license to get into the hole, as it were, hence the goals…So, in fact, I guess I disagree with Marcus in that Ozil is our CM and Ramsey the AM, if we must make such distinctions…Rosicky, I think is the lesser choice at both positions so I see him as a bench option, alongside Wilshere. Santi (for me) also starts ahead of them both… I expect plenty of rotation for the Marseille match, however…

  26. James Bond says:

    so who missed me ?:)

    call me crazy but i think Wanyama is their weakest link, and if we can do to them (Wanyama) what Man utd do to us (Arteta) then we can not only control the game but also win it, the lad Schneiderlin is a proper player though, one we need to have tire quickly, by keeping the ball and letting them come to us

    with all their pressing style, i reckon tomorrow they will sit back and let us do all the hard work, hence it’s a blessing in disguise that Flamini is suspended !

    also, JW is 1 booking away from sitting out the next one ?

    last but not least, i don’t think rosicky will start as he will be saved for Marseille

  27. Vic`s…..So shouldn`t it read…” The Joker can be used if a player is more than 15 points behind the leader ! “………….” Joker ( scores double ) can be used when a player is more than 15 points behind the last players score ! “, doesn`t make sense to me !. Certainly clear as mud !. hahaha

  28. geoffchase says:

    Hi all

    First, I am going with 1-0 or 2-0 second goal late as they’re the only folks who defend better than us by GA it seems..! šŸ™‚

    Second, lineup. This comes to bringing players back, so do you start Theo and pull him at 30-60 mins or do you start TR and bring him on for the last 30 or so.. This choice varies by manager… And there is no right choice. I personally lean at that level to bringing on late so you are not committed to a sub if injuries or other events arise..

    Oh and OG to start, and if we get up we might see Gnabry…

    JB, I agree, I would press enough in transition to force them to use Wanyama to pass the ball and control midfield. Deny service to their creators and force him to provide it… They could fall well down with that..

    Cheers — jgc

  29. geoffchase says:


    **I** missed you heaps JB.. šŸ˜‰

    Cheers — jgc

  30. 17highburyterrace says:

    The place went a little quiet without our superspy, 007, so consider yourself missed… :thumb: Researching the transfer window or the physio room?… Maybe sneaking into headquarters in one of those new suits the boys are sporting?… Or maybe a quick trip to Rio to check out your WC accommodations?…

    Lots of agreement about the line-up and players to go after, except for Gerry, who is off watching football…the crazy guy… šŸ˜€ No German football unless I buy even more channels. It’s extortionate here in the States, at least, and my glasses aren’t strong enough to watch the streams…

  31. proudgooner says:

    Fozzie ,
    the pre-match war cry lol –

  32. proudgooner says:

    Tickets in hand If i was Johnny Weismuller i would do the Tarvan call just seconds before the whistle, as i cant and cant even sing i will just shout my nuts off on cheer the lads on! You can bet there will be some noise coming from me. 3-0 .. It is 1st v 3rd in the league. It is also Szcz v Boruc Polish battle defence v attack lots of little sub battles going on and i know who i think should come out on top

  33. James Bond says:

    cheers lads,

    yes, got a bit actually, Eisfield, Frimpong, Bellerin will all be away on loans soon is what i’m hearing , bellerin already announced .

    Poldi, he might be involved in 1 or 2 reserve games before he’s brought back, depending if we don’t lose any more players due to injury (might be longer than 2 weeks though)

    things are looking good in the physio room and Diaby has a decent chance to be back to FULL fitness before march 2014 !

    Draxler, yep – the lad wanted to come when we made a Ā£40 million bid for him in the summer but his club wanted closer to Ā£60 , he favours Arsenal and we might end up snapping him in January, there is still a strong interest there , might be a pre-contract though.

    so watch this space and behave yourself @ PG

    hope you can win us the game again, no draws this time though as we don’t have the luxury of extra time and penalties

    i’m gonna go with a 3-1 @ JGC-Damus šŸ˜‰

  34. oz gunner says:

    I missed you too BJ! Draxler…yes please.

    Good stuff Marcus, thanks for that. I definitely think this will be a tough one

  35. proudgooner says:

    JB we miss you long time

  36. oz gunner says:

    @ PG

    I’d go for this. Dress Santi up in some warpaint and he’d scare the life out of the opposition haha

  37. proudgooner says:

    Il try to JB, Il be in the corner of the north bank no doubt by the time i get home i will have lost my voice lol

  38. proudgooner says:

    OZ, love it, i learnt how to do the hakai at school i was part of a cup winning team.
    I could just imagine Szcz ina leather thong and war paint, that would be piss funny.

  39. proudgooner says:

    ha ha ha ha shame there was only about 10 people in the stadium

  40. Hahaha Oz

    I bet Fozzie B does that first thing in the morning with war paint on his Boner and scares the shit out of himself in the mirror !.

  41. proudgooner says:

    Was that Daid Luiz i saw?

  42. proudgooner says:

    Ozil would lokk proper scarey he could pull some wicked war faces, though i see him as a magical witch doctor

  43. Most of the Spuds team don’t even have to pull a face !. Natural ugliness !.

  44. proudgooner says:

    lol FB.
    I would to do the Tarvan call then they do the war dance il have to run it by Wenger before the match

  45. Gareth Bale getting a blow-job !.

  46. proudgooner says:

    I see Fozzie B cock ness Cockie has had a furr dye all over.

  47. henrychan says:

    Hi all..
    Great post Marcus.. and 100% agree with your starting XI..

    Guys.. why are worries so
    much about Soton..?? Agree for never underestimated any team.. but comparing Soton with Dortmund is a little bit too much.. hahaha..

    Rosicky to replace either Cazorla or Ramsey or even Ozil..
    Gnabry for Walcott.. or if Giroud must replace.. than Walcott as CF.. Gnabry as RW..

    With almost all our players have some good rest.. I can see nothing than WIN.. hehehe..

    And hope Liverpool will have a hard time derby.. so the result will give a boost spirit to our team..

    Go Gunners.. We are the Champion..

  48. oz gunner says:

    haha I definitely see Ozil as the witch doctor…something about those eyes.

    Szcz would definitely get right in to it, as would flamini and Vermaelen.

    At our school harmony day all the school captains had to do a dance in front of the school. I wan’t to do the haka but I would have been the only white kid so I decided against it. Instead they put me the cambodian fishing dance (unfortunately the other white kid didn’t show up so it was me and 8 cambodians). To add to the fun the year book committee cropped me onto the front cover of the year book. A rambo headband with a sarong wasn’t a good look.

  49. geoffchase says:


    What was the final score here? All Blacks a huge number, Australia a very small one?? šŸ˜›

    Only go with the best! šŸ™‚

    Fozzie isn’t is your battle? šŸ˜€

    Cheers — jgc

  50. Gerry says:

    Morning all – Knowing the big post is about to be released, I will not waste many words here.

    HT17 – Yes, I know the cutting and running is not good, but at 7.30pm most people seem to disappear until around 9.0. As I see your post came in over an hour later. Once I switch over to TV mode I rarely have the enthusiasm to power up the computer again.

    I like watching the German league games, even if I am just supporting the team playing from right to left – one team one half, the other the second, unless it is Augsburg or BD of course – Last night was a good free flowing game too.

    I not sure, re my comment, how many times I must use the word ‘fluidity’, to get past the ‘notional’ positions set out on paper. I said that the front would play with fluidity. Like the previous discussion about who plays ‘in the hole’, it is whoever is in the middle at the time plays that position. Hence, Gnabry would play his normal game EXCEPT he would be expected to drift inside more often. I only see him as a forward who can play wide, but never as an RW. I admit, I would like to see him alongside Podolski who is very similar on the left, at some point in the future, but that particular goalpost has been moved backwards recently?

    This mentality that we have to use the same players is what is causing the burnout. Without rotation we are going to be in serious trouble long before January? Which is why I looked beyond the next three games. It is not as though these guys have not been tried before?

    I’ll finish my point with AW’s words – ‘I will use Jack sparingly’ ‘I will ease Walcott back’

    So you either overwork the few, or introduce those that can do a job. My bench that included Yennaris over Jenks is possibly the one too far, but he is a dual position player, and would do a proper defensive job if required.

    JB – I got your point on Rosi, but he might be better coming on late against the (ever) tiring Marsielles?

    Geoff – I agree with your point about committing subs. If you leave your short game time player to come on late, it is a better option. If success is already secured, then the appearance or non-appearance of a player (Walcott) would not be essential. Having him start is more likely to need the sub late on, or risk damage, than the other way around?

  51. geoffchase says:


    Yes, never get yourself stuck with subs in general…

    Cheers — jgc

  52. oz gunner says:

    @ JGC

    yeah love those. My favourite is when the teams get in their faces when they do it. I could only imagine how much it’d pump you up being there. I get goosebumps just watching it.

    Only problem is the kiwis would be absolutely stuffed after it. They train athletes to cope with adrenaline dumping and blowing their load too early (shhh cockie and fozzie šŸ™‚ ), but you’d have no chance doing that!

  53. oz gunner says:

    here it is:

  54. TotalArsenal says:

    Morning FFGs

    Marcus thanks for rhe PM starter. šŸ™‚

    For me the pressing by the Saints is music to my ears. It will make us play solid from the back at home,which is something we often do not do against the lesser teams, leaving space to beat us on the counter. Let them press and it will get the best out of our defence and midfield. Today we will see how good Arsenal are.

  55. TotalArsenal says:

    Alex, Henry how are our baby-Goonerettes doing? šŸ™‚

  56. TotalArsenal says:

    Well Marcus warmed us up with a fine ‘Kenyan sunshine’ starter of a post and now it is time for the Aussie summer main course from OzG. šŸ˜›

    New Post New Post šŸ™‚

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s