Blog Archives

Southampton Preview: Team News, Injury Updates and Predicted Lineups

Image result for welbeck goal arsenal southampton salt

This hasn’t been a happy hunting ground for the Gunners in the past but in their bid to finish the campaign in the Champions League positions, they need to end their hoodoo and get all three points. I’m pretty sure that the netbet odds for the Gunners to finish in the top four would be very high. Arsene Wenger has mandated his team to win all their games after that terrible slump the team suffered that saw them win just six in 16 games in the manager’s worst ever run in the club.

Things got really toxic and many just couldn’t wait for the campaign to be over with the manager’s head on a plate but as it stands, Wenger’s future is the least of our problems. We have barely three weeks of football left which includes four league matches and one cup final, so the team has to show some consistency that has seen them win four in their last five games since the switch to three at the back.

The new-look Arsenal side is clearly not there yet in terms of the fluidity as it’s evident that the players are still getting used to the new tactical setup, but the results have been very good, especially with wins over both Manchester outfits in recent weeks. However, the Gunners would be itching for some revenge after their 4-0 drubbing in the hands of the Saints last season at St. Mary’s. This is one of the grounds the team tends not to flourish too well but the lads know that anything less than three points would end their quest for a Champions League berth. Arsenal’s last win in this ground was December 2003, and in the club’s last five matches at St. Mary’s, they have suffered two defeats and three draws. However, the Gunners smashed in five goals in the FA Cup fourth round against a rather weakened Southampton side

Team News

Southampton are set to welcome their star forward, Charlie Austin, back to the fray after he suffered a shoulder injury early in the campaign. The English forward played for the Under-23s on Friday night, alongside Matt Targett, that had been injured for a while too. Talismanic defender, Virgil van Dijk, and back up goalie, Alex McCarthy are still long-term absentees.

The Gunners on the other hand would be sweating on the fitness of Laurent Koscielny that picked up a knock in the win over Manchester United but Wenger would be hopeful to have Lucas Perez in the dugout to bolster his attacking options. It has been a very underwhelming season for the Spaniard and there is talk of the forward opting to leave the club this summer for regular football elsewhere. Granit Xhaka is another player that picked up a knock but I’d expect him to start tonight after he was substituted for Francis Coquelin in the remainder of the game. Shkodran Mustafi (thigh) and Santi Cazorla (achilles tendon) are still out.

Predicted Lineups 

Southampton (4-3-3)

Southampton 4-3-3 football formation

Arsenal (3-4-2-1)

Arsenal 3-4-2-1 football formation

Team Form

Southamptom Form

  • Last Five Games: W L L D D
  • Last Result: Liverpool 0-0 Southampton
  • Leading Goalscorer: Charlie Austin (9)

Arsenal Form

  • Last Five Games: W W W L W
  • Last Result: Arsenal 2-0 Man Utd
  • Leading Goalscorer: Alexis Sanchez (24)


Gooner Daily predicts a 3 – 1 Arsenal win.


Follow Gooner Daily on Twitter  @goonerdaily. I’ll follow back

Visit Gooner Daily’s  Facebook page.

Click on the “Follow button” to join Gooner Daily’s Mailing List

Thoughts on Thierry Henry and the Arsenal Managerial Post

Image result for wenger thierry henry

In recent weeks, a lot has been said about Arsene Wenger’s future and it has become a tiresome exercise for the manager, the players and to some certain degree, the fans. We don’t know what the manager’s long term plans are, until he reveals it and its pretty much evident that our board is absolutely clueless on his plans as well. These uncertainties puts everything in limbo and all we can do is speculate about who would be his successor after 21 wonderful years of service with the club.

The media outlets and pundits alike have wasted no time in making their proposed nominations with names like Eddie Howe, Thomas Tuchel, Max Allegri and even Diego Simeone touted as his potential replacements. Another faction has mentioned the club’s greatest ever player, Thierry Henry, as a potential replacement and I’m going to dwell on that a little.

First off, the Sky pundit / Belgium assistant manager shared his thoughts on the issue with an interview with Canal Plus,

“It doesn’t depend on me, there are things to be respected, it’s my club of heart but I do not have any right-wings. My name is quoted to succeed Wenger, I hear that. But it’s hard for me to talk about it I have a lot of respect for everything the coach has done.

“Am I ready? I don’t know and nobody knows, but I also need to learn my job. I will not be a consultant all my life, but coaching is not my aim.

“I have not fixed any goal in the head, I will love it [being a coach] and I will do everything for it. But, right now, I’m in learning mode.”

The ex-Gunner has taken a coy approach here, not ruling himself out from the job if its available and most importantly, admitting that he’s still on a learning curve in football management.

Which brings me to my bone of contention – is Thierry Henry capable of managing a massive club with lofty ambitions (lol) like Arsenal football club? Your guess is probably as good as mine – Yes, No, I don’t care? So I’m going to look at this from a holistic view, before reaching a conclusion on what my thoughts would be in this debate.

Yes Faction

This belongs to the faction that probably that Thierry Henry is the man for the job. Scoring 228 goals in 376 games for the club, he was an unbelievable attacking prowess and as a manager, he would instill that mentality on his players. He is very passionate about the club and takes time out to always visit the lads in the dressing room and the stands, so you can say that he has an influential presence on the team. He had a brief stint with the youth squad and knows some training regimes that can be applied to the first team if he gets the role.

Then there is the stuff he says on that his comfortable Sky Sports seat. From his analysis and tactical displays on the show, he seems like the guy that would have some sorta master plan for the team and he always expresses his views on Arsenal as ‘we’. If given a chance, he could exhibit those things he says, buy those players he believes should be at the club, shake things up the way he would like and bring the club back to its glory days but of course, this is all theoretical.

No Faction

This belongs to the faction that strongly believe that Henry should not even be considered at all for the role. To them, he is largely inexperienced and has not proven himself capable enough to hit the ground running in a club of Arsenal’s magnitude. They’d prefer him to start up small in a lower division side and prove his mettle before playing with the big boys. C’mon, there are other managers out there like Diego Simeone that has won one La Liga (13/14), one Copa Del Rey (12/13), one Spanish Super Cup (’14), one Europa League (11/12), one UEFA Super Cup (’12) and most impressively, two appearances in the UEFA Champions League finals.

Then there is the Gary Neville factor that proves that not all good pundits make good managers. Neville got a dream Valencia job in December 2016, managing 28 games for the club before getting the sack in March 2016. He had a terrible win rate of 35.71%, winning just 10 of the 28 games for the Mestalla based outfit. That 7-0 defeat against Barcelona was the nadir of Neville’s time in Spain. Who knows, Henry can be another Neville? Those kind of fears would be allayed.

I Don’t Care Faction

Of course, they don’t care.

What I think

If Arsene Wenger truly decides to leave the club in the summer and the board, in their infinite wisdom, approach Thierry Henry, for the position of the club’s manager, I would be extremely delighted. I regard Henry as my favorite player of all time, so it would be awesome seeing him manage the team. Like the ‘Yes’ faction, Henry is a guy that could make things work and I know many would highlight his inexperience as a major factor but these things are not cast in stone.

In the end, Arsenal football club made the decision and it’s our job as fans to support the new manager, irrespective of his background and other criteria we may want to use to judge him.

Lemme give you a chance to tell me what you think


Follow Gooner Daily on Twitter  @goonerdaily. I’ll follow back

Visit Gooner Daily’s  Facebook page.

Click on the “Follow button” to join Gooner Daily’s Mailing List

Arsenal Go Top After Easing Past Stoke

Match Report Match HighlightsPost-Match Press Conference

This fixture against Stoke at home was one that the fans had become accustomed to collecting three points at the end of the game. The records spoke for themselves – 14 consecutive wins at home against the Potters with eight clean sheets to match, but this was a team arriving at the back of two consecutive Premier League victories, so it wasn’t going to be a stroll in the park.

The stats boys also made us understand that Theo Walcott had 99 club goals and was in search of his century, and it goes to show how much time has passed since that young kid Sven-Goran Eriksson took to the World Cup and never handed him an appearance. The English forward had a chance early on when he received a brilliant through ball from Skhodran Mustafi but his first time drilled effort was saved by Lee Grant. Then in typical Arsenal fashion, the Gunners conceded what seemed to be a soft penalty. Granit Xhaka challenged the ‘Welsh Pirlo’, Joe Allen, in the box and his trailing elbow caught the Stoke midfielder on his face, causing Lee Mason to point to the spot. Normally, that kind of the decision was meant to be followed with a booking, but the ref chose leniency.

Charlie Adam stepped up and sent Petr Cech the wrong way to put Stoke one up. You tend to wonder when Cech would save a penalty though. I read somewhere that since the 2011/12 season, he has faced 12 penalties and conceded all. My bigger concern would be why the Gunners have conceded three penalties at the Emirates this season. What’s up with the clumsiness in the box? Only Hull has conceded more with seven.

To add insult to injury, Mustafi picked up a hamstring injury and the boss has confirmed that he would be sidelined for at least 21 days. Thankfully, we have Rob Holding that has been in good form this season and a Gabriel Paulista that can put a good shift when required. There is also a certain Per Mertesacker that is working his way to full fitness. Mustafi’s injury allowed Hector Bellerin to return to the fray, pushing Gabriel to the middle to play alongside the captain. Bellerin’s introduction proved to be a stroke of genius as he reacted quickly to Alexis Sanchez’s through ball to feed Walcott whose one-timed poked effort beat Grant on his near post to level the score. 100 club goals for our man and 1-1 to the Arsenal.

Going into the break with the draw was the least the Gunners deserved and they came into the second half with some hunger to do something more. The home side grabbed the lead when Mesut Ozil beat the offside trap to latch onto Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s dinked effort. Seeing Grant off his line, Ozil lobbed the goalie with a looping header to score his ninth goal of the season. If he scores one more goal this season, he would reach double figures – a feat he has never achieved with Arsenal. This has already been his highest scoring season in an Arsenal jersey but he scored 11 in Werder Bremen and scored 10 goals on two different seasons with Real Madrid.

2-1 is always a delicate scoreline, so it was important for the Gunners to grab the next, and they did with another substitute, Alex Iwobi. The Nigerian was in something of a drought in recent weeks, now he has two goals in two games. Kudos to Mason for giving the advantage after Sanchez was scythed down by some bloke but the Nigerian unleashed his inner Robert Pires to side-foot the ball home.

As Walcott stated in post-match interview, ‘everybody is contributing‘ which is a hallmark of the team this season. I look back at seasons past when a certain Robin van Persie would have 37 goals, then Walcott would have 10 while the rest of the team would be struggling for scraps but this season, it’s a lot different. You’d be surprised to know that Arsenal has scored 60 goals already and we are not in the half way point of the season. Alexis has 13, Walcott 10, Ozil nine, Ox has six, Olivier Giroud and Lucas Perez have five each, new boy, Xhaka has three, Iwobi, Koscielny and Santi Penalties and Sir Own Goal have two, then Chambers had one against Liverpool before switching to Middlesbrough.

This essentially means that Wenger can rely on any of his players on the pitch to do the business and it would go a long way.

All focus will be moved to Everton, that continued their rot with a 3-2 loss to Watford but the Gunners would have to put a leash on Romelu Lukaku that found his scoring boots with a brace after a four-game dry spell.


Follow Gooner Daily on Twitter  @goonerdaily. I’ll follow back

Visit Gooner Daily’s  Facebook page.

Click on the “Follow button” to join Gooner Daily’s Mailing List