Mesut Ozil Arsenal
Arsenal playmaker Mesut Ozil will hope to stamp his authority in the English Premier League game against Southampton. Reuters
Arsenal playmaker Mesut Ozil will hope to stamp his authority in the English Premier League game against Southampton. Reuters
Arsenal playmaker Mesut Ozil will hope to stamp his authority in the English Premier League game against Southampton. Reuters

Arsenal have arguably the best attacking lineup in the English Premier League, while Southampton have the best defensive record in the season so far. So when the unstoppable force meets the immovable object in a high-voltage contest at the Emirates, the two teams will hopefully not cancel each other out.

The Gunners were poor, extremely poor, against Manchester United. While it was far from a must-win game, it was a game where they could have capped off a brilliant week, in which they had beaten Liverpool and Borussia Dortmund, and possibly even put the defending champions out of the running for the Premier League title.

However, the often-enough slow start came to haunt them, as United, who were hardly at their best either, eked out a 1-0 victory.

That result would have been forgotten by now, what with the international weekend also coming in between, but the performance should still jar.

"It was a very big disappointment to lose at Manchester United," Wenger said. "Overall it was a positive week because we played Liverpool then went to Dortmund and Manchester United. We had two wins out of three.

"But I think at least a draw was in our potential and we want to learn to make the maximum of what we create. On the day we did not do that. Manchester United had two shots on target and we lost 1-0. That has not to be repeated."

Whenever, they have been asked questions this season, more often than not, Arsenal have given a positive answer; and do that again they must at the Emirates on Saturday against Southampton.

However, the Saints, currently third, just three points behind the Gunners, have the best defence in the Premier League, conceding a miserly five goals in 11 matches. Arsenal, who could possibly drop down to second if Liverpool beat Everton in the early game, are not doing too badly on the attacking front, though, having found the back of the net 22 times, at two goals per game.

One would think, if Arsenal can find those two goals they average, then they should be able to take three points from the match - the problem will be finding those couple of goals, even with the plethora of creativity at their disposal.

"I expected them [Southampton] to have a good season," Wenger said. "But I didn't expect them to be as high up as they are. This season, they have a very good record and have played difficult games.

"We'll need to be very creative to get around their defence. They have a good team pressure and, to get out of that, the quality of our game will be very important."

Team News: Arsene Wenger welcomes back Theo Walcott after two months out. The England forward has been sorely missed by the Gunners, when the team have needed a player with pace to unlock the narrow defences and Walcott is sure to provide another dimension to his team's attacks.

Mathieu Flamini, though, is unavailable through suspension after picking up his fifth yellow card of the season, with Ryo Miyaichi missing with an injury. Tomas Rosicky is a doubt due to illness, while Lukas Podolski, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Yaya Sanogo and Abou Diaby remain sidelined.

Southampton, unbeaten in eight games, will be without Jack Cork and long-term injury victim Guly Do Prado.

Key men: Arsenal: Mesut Ozil has been off the boil in the last few games for Arsenal. If the German playmaker steps up and shows his undoubted class against the Saints on Saturday, then Maurico Pochettino's men could be in for a long afternoon.

Walcott, on his comeback from injury, will also be keen to grab a goal or two against his former side.

Southampton: Adam Lallana impressed on his England debut in the two recent friendlies against Chile and Germany, and the midfielder will want to continue that good form against the Gunners. Also Victor Waynama and Morgan Schneiderlin will be essential for the Saints to stop Arsenal's playmakers from having too much of the ball in the final third.

Where to Watch Live

The game is scheduled for an 8.30 pm IST start with live coverage on Star Sports 4. You can also live stream the match online in India by going to the official Star Sports website. To watch the match by live streaming in the U.S. click HERE. To catch the action via live streaming in Northern Africa and the Middle East, click HERE.

Expected lineups: Arsenal: Szczesny; Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Gibbs; Arteta, Wilshere; Ramsey, Ozil, Cazorla; Giroud.

Southampton: Boruc; Clyne, Fonte, Lovren, Shaw; Wanyama, Schneiderlin; Ward-Prowse, Lallana, Rodriguez; Lambert.

Prediction: 2-1 to Arsenal