Arsenal must beware Southampton’s new secret weapon

10:35 15 September 2012

Gaston Ramirez

Gaston Ramirez

EMPICS Sport

Saints’ record signing Gaston Ramirez could be set for Premier League debut at the Emirates

After winning promotion for a second successive season in May, there was no shortage of excitement at St Mary’s when the Premier League fixtures were released over the summer.

Being back among the big boys is what all Saints fans wanted, but there is a sense that maybe they were given too much too soon, having been asked to face Manchester City, Manchester United and Arsenal – last season’s top three – in the opening four games of the season.

That they have no points from their meetings with the Manchester duo was hardly surprising, but the fact that they led both games 2-1 in the closing moments and ended up losing both 3-2 has been a harsh lesson to learn for Nigel Adkins’s new boys.

In between those games the Saints were beaten 2-0 at home by Wigan, which is the kind of result they need to avoid repeating if Premier League survival is to be achieved come next May.

“We’re going to remain positive, we knew looking at the first four fixtures that they were going to be challenging,” said Adkins after the United defeat.

“[There are] loads of positives. The chairman’s done great to bring a few more players in the transfer window. We want to play football a certain way, we want to pass it about.”

One of those players Adkins was referring to was the Uruguay international Gaston Ramirez, who became Southampton’s record signing when he joined from Italian side Bologna on deadline day for a fee believed to be £11m.

He should be in line for a debut on Saturday, although having faced Ecuador in a World Cup qualifier on Tuesday night, Adkins may not risk the 21-year-old from the start after his return from South America.

A target of both Liverpool and Spurs over the summer, Ramirez surprisingly chose Southampton and could be just the kind of star addition they need to compete with the big boys in the top flight.

As they showed against United, Southampton like to pass but they also like to get the ball on to the head of Rickie Lambert, the former Bristol Rovers striker who found the net against both United and the champions City.

In Adam Lallana and James Ward-Prowse Saints have two of the most exciting young midfielders around, while the signing of Steven Davis from Rangers also looks a smart purchase.

At the back the duo of Portuguese defender Jose Fonte and Dutchman Jos Hooiveld have struggled so far with Saints shipping eight goals in three games.

Verdict: Southampton have let goals in, but they have scored them too. It’s all set for an entertaining afternoon at the Emirates.

Having scored twice against both United and City, the Saints will fancy their chances of being the first side to breach Arsenal’s defence this season. Wenger will be wary of their threat.

Prediction: Arsenal 2 Southampton 1

Sign up for our news alerts today!

Our editors' picks for the day's top news delivered to your inbox or phone.

Sign up for email alerts Sign up for mobile alerts
1
2 3 4 5 6
7

Submit your Arsenal player ratings

Latest Arsenal news

Thursday, March 26, 2015
Roy Hodgson is set to hand Harry Kane his England debut (Pictures: Getty)

England manager Roy Hodgson has backed man-of-the-moment Harry Kane to succeed in international football - but stopped short of revealing whether he would make his debut against Lithuania.

Thursday, March 26, 2015
Arsenal's Theo Walcott has hit out at speculation regarding his future (Picture: Getty Images)

Arsenal’s Theo Walcott has hit out at reports that has fallen out with Arsene Wenger and that his wage demands are holding up a new contract.

Thursday, March 26, 2015
Tottenham's Harry Kane fires a shot at goal (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Tottenham’s Harry Kane and Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney went head to head in training ahead of England’s Euro 2016 qualifier against Lithuania.

Thursday, March 26, 2015
You could win two tickets to Arsenal v Liverpool at the Emirates Stadium!

London24 have joined forces with Europcar Sport to give away a pair of tickets to Arsenal v Liverpool on Saturday April 4 (kick-off 12.45pm)- and you could be the lucky winner.

Thursday, March 26, 2015
Paulo Dybala of Palermo  (Photo by Tullio M. Puglia/Getty Images)

Palermo have admitted that they have received bids of €35m for star striker Paulo Dybala.

What is this?

Near You Now

Don't Miss...

Arsenal Transfer News