Will international break be good or bad for Arsenal?

By Avenell Dave

There's nothing worse than having a defeat hang over us ahead of an international break.

I am still thinking about the United game, made worse by the fact that people including Spud fans keep telling me how much we dominated the game.

I'm not sure I'd go that far but certainly we deserved not to lose the game and should have got something from it, if Giroud and Bendtner could have converted those superb Sagna crosses.

United know how to put us out of our stride but for all the talk of zonal marking not working, how much the flu bug affected our ability to compete is certainly more of a factor in our inability to play at full pace.

Southampton have proved themselves to be the surprise package this season and look very much the real deal.

Pochettino has done a superb job since he arrived and already this season they have drawn at Old Trafford, beaten WBA where we could only draw and beaten Liverpool at Anfield.

Their only black mark was a 1-0 defeat to Norwich of all people but their form has otherwise been consistent and impressive.

They also seem to be nurturing a lot of young talent - something we have been proud to do over the years - and it's a credit to them that they've remained competitive.

The real test, of course, if they have a fine season, is how long they keep hold of the likes of Lallana and others who may attract interest from larger clubs with European pedigrees.

There are reasons for Arsenal to be positive. Ozil didn't play on Tuesday, Cazorla only played briefly and everyone came through well.

Southampton players may get ahead of themselves after three were selected by England but whatever, they will come to attack and that can play into our hands.

Equally, while Wenger spoke of the players being anxious and with that infamous handbrake at Old Trafford, they must ensure that there's no complacency.

It's great to have Walcott back even though he can be frustrating at times. He gives us the pace that we have been lacking at times this season so let's hope his injury problems are over so we have him as an option from the bench against his former club.

With Flamini suspended, I suspect Wilshere will come back into the starting XI although I still wish Gnabry was given more opportunities given his hard work and direct, pacy threat which, if he is to be eased in, should be done at home while he gets to grips with the Premier League.

It's a shame Podolski is still three weeks away at least - we desperately need another forward to ease the burden but perhaps Theo will be pushed into the position he wants to play until we get the German international back from injury.

We have a run of games, starting with this one, which may be considered easier until we play City.

After suffering only our second defeat of the season, we have to bounce back straight away and get the momentum going again. We are still top but any more slip ups and we will not stay there for long.

Addict XI


Sagna Mertesacker Koscielny Gibbs

Ramsey Wilshere 

Rosicky Ozil Cazorla