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Preview: Southampton V Man City & WBA V Arsenal
Footytubeblog (Blog) 2 years ago
Ronald Koeman forged his name as a player with Barcelona and Holland as a no nonsense midfielder but it is for his tactical nous that he has so far shone from the dugout with Southampton.

The task facing his second-placed Saints is shutting out Manchester City and adding to the pressure on Manuel Pellegrini and his star-studded line-up of big money international signings.

Pellegrini has continued to splash the cash whereas Koeman saw some of the biggest names at St Mary’s head through the exit door in the summer after agreeing to succeed Mauricio Pochettino following his move to Tottenham.
If City are to break down Southampton’s resolute defence which has conceded just six goals in 12 games this season they will look to the prolific talents of Sergio Aguero.

The Argentinian hitman has contributed half of his team’s 24 goals this campaign and looked one of the best strikers in the world as he grabbed a hat-trick in City's dramatic Champions League 3-2 win over Bayern Munich on Tuesday. However, even he is sure to be tested by a Saints defence that has played a big part in propelling the team to second in the table.

Nathaniel Clyne’s form has earned him recognition with the England senior side - and an equalising goal at Aston Villa on Monday. His international team-mate Fraser Forster has seven clean sheets in 12 appearances for his club in the Premier League.

Forster will have to be at his best against Aguero in a season when City’s league exploits have gone a little way to make up for their previously lacklustre displays in the Champions League.

But Tuesday's victory could be a turning point for City while, for Koeman and his players, blunting the talents of Aguero and downing the champions would go a long way to further enhancing Saints' reputation.

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WBA v Arsenal
Danny Welbeck has had time to settle into his new club as the goalscoring burden has largely been shouldered by his Chilean team-mate Alexis Sanchez.

With both failing to find the net in the 2-1 defeat to Manchester United - Arsenal’s second successive reversal by the same score following their previous loss to Swansea - Welbeck needs to add to his meagre return of two goals in the Premier League so far this season.

United showed that when Alexis does not get good service in the box then Arsenal appear short of a back-up plan with Welbeck and the vast array of attacking midfield talent failing to fill the gap on a regular basis. A shot accuracy of 46 per cent for the Gunners compares poorly when you judge it against the five goals in six games Welbeck has returned for England this season.

Alexis aside, Arsenal’s lack of form in front of goal has seen the pressure increase on manager Arsene Wenger with the likes of former striker Ian Wright adding his voice to those calling for the Frenchman to step aside.

Borussia Dortmund boss Jurgen Klopp is the latest name to be linked with the Emirates hotseat so Welbeck and Co need to be on scoring form.

West Brom manager Alan Irvine is likely to rely on sole striker Saido Berahino against Arsenal and that will give him the option of flooding the midfield, trying to starve Welbeck of the service he will need from the likes of Santi Cazorla, Mikel Arteta and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Craig Gardner, who has completed 34 tackles for a success rate of 48 percent to top the West Brom rankings, will come into consideration following suspension when Irvine names his side.

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