Search

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

0 comments

Latest Islington Sports News

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Arsenal’s latest financial results published this week show a record high of £110.5m spent on players – with a 20 per cent rise in turnover to £191.1m from £158.1m for the six months to the end of November 2016. Layth Yousif MBA studies the results so you don’t have to...

Saturday, February 25, 2017

The editor of long-running Arsenal fanzine The Gooner has revealed it is to close its print version.

Friday, February 24, 2017

The first in an occasional series of Q&As with Arsenal fans. To kick it off we have Kevin Whitcher, editor of the The Gooner fanzine which been published continuously since the 1980s. Read on for his views...

Friday, February 24, 2017

Nick Compton has agreed a deal to stay at Middlesex County Cricket Club for the next two seasons.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Read Layth Yousif’s latest Rewind column on all things Arsenal – from the Allianz Arena to Gander Green Lane

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Arsenal’s much-missed midfielder Santi Cazorla is set to be out for the rest of the season in another injury blow for Arsene Wenger.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Super-lightweight produces masterclass to claim belt

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Islington Boxing Club’s Aaron Nicely picked up an unanimous decision – despite taking the contest with Hillcrest ABC’s Thanos Kastadonis with less than 24 hours notice.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read sport

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Islington Gazette
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now