Arsenal must beware Southampton’s new secret weapon

10:35 15 September 2012

Gaston Ramirez

Gaston Ramirez


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
2 3 4 5 6

Latest Arsenal news

Wednesday, October 7, 2015
Harry Kane of England celebrates scoring the first goal during the UEFA EURO 2016 Group E qualifying match between England and Switzerland at Wembley Stadium on September 8, 2015 in London, United Kingdom.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Wayne Rooney looks to be a major doubt for England’s Euro 2016 qualifier against Estonia after he missed a second successive training session because of an ankle injury.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger (John Walton/PA Wire)

All the main stories from around the web this morning, featuring Arsenal, Chelsea, Spurs, West Ham and Crystal Palace.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015
Dele Alli of England turns from Kyle Walker (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

Dele Alli trained with the England squad for the first time ahead of their final Euro 2016 qualifiers against Estonia and Lithuania.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015
Theo Walcott has missed out on the title of Premier League's fastest player (Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

With eight games gone in the Premier League season, we take a look at the best XI so far and how they have gone about impressing.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015
Alexis Sanchez of Arsenal looks dejected after the second Dinamo Zagreb goal  (Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images)

Depression and mental health problems in football are widespread with more than a third of players reporting symptoms, according to new research.

What is this?

Near You Now

Don't Miss...

Line-Up Events


You could be splashing the cash at Topshop!

Just imagine what you could do with £1,000 to spend at Topshop.

Read more
You won't need to fork out for groceries for a while!

Asda, one of the country’s leading supermarkets, prides itself in being one of the cheapest places to shop, so you can be sure that your money will go a long way here!

Read more

Latest Tech News