The Saints go into the clash against Wenger’s Arsenal in buoyant form, having collected 11 points from a possible 15 in their last five Premier League matches. Southampton, along with Everton, are one of two teams to have suffered only one loss in the league thus far, a 1-0 reversal at the hands of Norwich back in August.
However, they have failed to taste defeat since then, an impressive feat considering they have played Liverpool and Manchester United away from home. Their performances have seen them rise to third in the Premier League table, a remarkable feat and one of the stories of the season so far.
An incentive to go top of the table will be motivating third-placed Southamton as they take on table-toppers Arsenal at the Emirates today. As Liverpool dropped points against Everton in the early kick-off 3-3 tie, the Saints have the unbelievable opportunity to top the Premier League table with a win over Wenger’s side.
What a story that could be! Forget your Manchester teams, forget Chelsea. Southampton could lead the Premier League table after 12 rounds, just a year after they were promoted back to the top flight.
The sacking of Nigel Adkins last January seems a distant time ago as the club are enjoying their best ever start to a Premier League season. They were labelled a ‘laughing stock’ when they replaced Adkins with Mauricio Pochettino, but he has convincingly silenced his critics thus far.
Pochettino employs a pressing style high up the pitch, which enables them to reclaim possession early. They also have the best defence in the league, having conceded only five goals in 11 matches.
However, that will be severely put to the test against free-scoring Arsenal, who are looking to bounce back from their defeat to Manchester United prior to the international break. Wenger knows his side will have to be at their best to attain a result against the Saints, whom he believes can achieve a top four place at the end of the season.
According to ESPN, he said, “You cannot rule anyone out [of a top-four finish] and if they keep their defensive record as it is, they can be very ambitious. Poccetinho has done extremely well. He came in at a period when he was questioned and he has done, without speaking too much, a great job in a very efficient way. He has put Southampton where they are today, so you have to give him great credit for that”
“The Premier League is unpredictable this season and the biggest quality needed to win the Premier League will be consistency of results. The fact that they [Southampton] have played together for a long time gives them [good stability]. They have the best defensive record in the league and that makes them difficult to play against.”