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Southampton have been dealing with 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 Arsene 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.

You know what I am excited about? Watching Mesut Özil and Granit Xhaka combine for the first time. If ever a deep lying midfielder and number 10 were suited, it was these two guys. Xhaka is great at finding his team mates between the lines in advanced positions while Özil is the master of finding spaces in between the lines

At least our squad will be boosted by the returning Euro boys. Mesut Özil, Laurent Koscielny and Oliver Giroud should all hopefully return but I'd be surprised to see anyone but Koscielny start the game for obvious reasons. Even that could be considered a sizeable gamble given his lack of pre season but then equally losing the game due to a defensive mistake, without our best defender starting could be also seen as a gamble. I can hear the cries either way. Koscielny limps off after 25 minutes and Arsène will be criticised for not holding him back. Lose the game and he'd be an idiot for not starting the Frenchman

The manager has already ruled out Koscielny from making an early return which is probably the sensible option, although I'd have felt a lot more secure if he was starting this afternoon, so I suspect that Monreal will move back into centre back as cover and Kieran Gibbs will start at left back. Nacho Monreal was our best centre back the last time we had a defensive crisis and that is often overlooked due to our lack of options at the time, the narrative really kicked in during that time. Reports a few days ago suggested that Arsene could turn to Mathieu Debuchy

Finishing above Tottenham would be a bonus so we have to turn our attentions on saying goodbye to some 'propa' professionals. Mikel Arteta, Tomas Rosicky and Mathieu Flamini will almost certainly be heading out the door this summer so this will be our chance to wave goodbye. That said Arsene did say that Flamini has hurt his foot or something. Is it me or am I the only one who gets suspicious whenever we hear one of these injuries stories? I mean Arsène can't exactly say "We can't include them all in the squad so I am leaving out Flamini so I can include Rosicky and Arteta"

Personally I think City are there for the taking as long as we approach the game correctly. If we are smart and organised when City have the ball and play with some aggression/urgency then I think we can repeat last seasons scoreline. We have been pretty poor in our last few games but those were games where we had to take the initiative, where it was almost solely down to us to play, that shouldn't be the case today. Hopefully Yaya Toure can have another game in which he walks around the pitch dreaming of tasty cake while Aguero can slot back into Koscielny's pocket as he has done so many times in the past

If we play the way we can and should then the threat of Palace should be an after thought. Famous last words and all that but if we can play with the same speed and mobility that we showed at Everton and home to Watford then the likes of Özil, Iwobi, Welbeck and Alexis could prove a little too much for a team that will have an eye on the FA Cup

  • 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