Gillespie Guest Post – The Southampton Perspective

Every now and then we’ll be having writers and fans from the following game’s opposition team giving us an interesting insight into their current situation, their expectations and their Arsenal related memories. Up first a few words from Saints fan James Callen.

After what seems like an eternity in the lower divisions I’m finally starting to feel like a fan of a Premier League Club once again. After getting back to back promotions, the away trip to Arsenal was a game that I was probably most excited about. We’ve never played at the Emirates and from what I’ve seen on TV the stadium looks sensational.

From our point of view if we can get anything from the game then that will be a massive result. We’ve had a very strange start to the season, sitting at the bottom pointless. The general consensus, not just Saints fans but fans of other teams and the media, is that we are playing really well. I’m hoping that the manner in which we lost to United wont have a lasting effect on the players, and if we can perform like that for the remainder of the season we should be fine.

The positives so far this season have to be how well our young players have stepped up, 17 year old James Ward-Prowse has slotted into the centre of midfield and been brilliant. Against United he had Cleverly firmly in his back pocket. He plays alongside 22-year-old Morgan Schniederlin who has a wonderful touch and passing range. On the wings we will have Adam Lallana who is from the same youth team that had Walcott and Bale in it. He decided to stay with us through all the hard times (Spurs tried to sign him about 5 times) and is now a quality quality player who has deservedly been made Club captain and been called up to the England squad.

Rickie Lambert is showing what almost all Saints fans already knew, he can score goals at this level, and last week he gave Vidic and Ferdinand a torrid time. He obviously will continue to get comparisons with Grant Holt, but I think if you’ve watch him play you can see that he has a lot more to his game then your standard ‘big centre forward’. Hopefully our new record signing Gaston Ramirez will make his debut at the Emirates, 12 Million quid spent on one player is just unheard of for a team like us.

Although all the buzz is about Ramirez, I think that a much more important signing for us was that of Japanese international Maya Yoshida. A tall centre back who can play a bit is just what we needed because to be honest our defence is shocking. If it isn’t sorted out soon we’re going to really struggle. We also signed ‘the new Drogba’ Emmanual Mayuka, a young Zambian forward. His C.V is good, top scorer at this year’s African Cup of Nations, he led Zambia to victory and has a decent record playing in Switzerland. He’s only 21, but I’m going to have to see something pretty special to believe all the hype surrounding him.

I’m looking forward to seeing the Ox and Walcott play again. Arsenal’s usage of Walcott has really frustrated me. Theo was always a much stronger player when playing up front through the middle. His pace and movement can rip defenses apart. Unlike the Ox, Walcott’s final ball has never really been very good It’s a shame to see so many Arsenal and football fans in general writing him off as failed potential. Santi Carzola looks like a serious player. I’m guessing we will pack the midfield like we did against United and City, which has seemed to work to an extent.

I’ve been to some great games away at Arsenal. A couple that stick out are when we nicked a 1-1 draw at Highbury. Wiltord scored and then late in the game a very average midfielder of ours Jo Tessem scored a header. Another that sticks out is a 2-2 draw when some kid called Robin Van Persie scored a 95th minute equalizer after Rory Delap had scored two identical headers from corners late on. A game that still haunts me now is when Arsenal were 5-0 up against us after about 25 minutes, I’ve never been to a game and seen supporters walking out after half an hour. I remember Robert Pires was near un-playable.

So as you can tell I’m really looking forward to the game on Saturday. I know there are a lot of disgruntled Saints fans out there because we’ve only been given 2900 tickets that sold out in less than an hour. My heart says it’ll be 1-1 but my head says it’ll be a 3-1 defeat.

James Callen


One Comment on “Gillespie Guest Post – The Southampton Perspective”

  1. vandenbeats says:

    very enjoyable read, excited for saturday.

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