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Inside Info: An Arsenal fan's thoughts ahead of Southampton's visit to the Emirates

We spoke to Arsenal fan Andrei Grayson ahead of Saints' trip up to North London.

Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

We spoke to Arsenal fan Andrei Grayson ahead of Southampton's visit to North London tonight.

Can Saints repeat their 4-0 pummeling of the Gunners? Let's hope so!

St. Mary's Musings: What were your expectations for the season before it started and how does your season compare so far?


Andrei Grayson:
At the start of the season i thought this would be our best chance of winning the league in a while and hoped we'd have a really solid champions league campaign, so it's about on track so far... Not signing an outfield player really didn't bother me as we really needed a world class keeper, that box was ticked and Petr Cech has superseded all hopes we had for him.


We have really made a mess of some of our league games and should have amassed a far better points tally and in the Champions League we have Barcelona - oh dear.


SMM: What are your thoughts on the earlier meeting between Saints and Arsenal?


AG: Well, the three of the past four seasons has seen the away game come in the festive period and we have got progressively worse! Not much more could've gone wrong for us that day, we were awful. To be honest, we beat City 5 days sooner and our players and fans seemed to think we had won the league, Southampton showed us that we have an extremely long way to go and thoroughly deserved the landslide victory.


SMM: Per Mertesacker is out through suspension. Is that a blessing in disguise for Arsenal come Tuesday night?


AG: Yes and no, you only had to see the way Sam Vokes caused all sorts of problems for Gabriel Paulista and Laurent Koscielny on Saturday and know that Charlie Austin or Graziano Pelle could do more damage. Per provides us real calmness and leadership at the back but I think it's time we tried to make the centre back pairing mentioned work. It should provide more mobility and allow us to be less concerned with counter attacks.


SMM: What is the current feeling with Arsene Wenger from fans in general?


AG: There are two camps, as with today's modern society, you must be one or the other, no middle ground! I believe the 'Wenger out brigade' are bored more than anything, I don't agree but also don't blame them. You watch a home game from 06/07 and mirror it to one from this season and it feels very much the same, they want a change to see something new and different. However, with Pep taking up a monumental challenge at Man City, I struggle to see a better manager for us.


SMM: How are Arsenal's Saints getting on? Chamberlain doesn't seem to be getting much game time...


AG: Firstly, Theo Walcott, one goal in 15 games and looking completely bereft of confidence. He is such an odd player, he's 27 and you feel as though he still needs to mature in his game. He does nothing all game, then can score out of nowhere so you want him in the side! We experimented with him up front at the start of the season and I'd like to see that again on Tuesday.


Alex Chamberlain was tipped for a big season, it hasn't happened - at all. He looks like he is slowly coming back to something like the player that arrived but in all honestly, he probably has another season or 2 to start making contributions or he may be moved on. His passing isn't crisp enough in the middle and his decision making can be disastrous. I'd love him to come good more than anything so hopefully he'll find form at the back end of the season.


Calum Chambers is becoming an accomplished all rounder, he looks like he could play anywhere which is great for his age. I am sure he will be a great player when he specialises in being a midfielder, right back or centre back!


SMM: As an Arsenal fan, what do you think of Leicester's run to the top of the league? Will they last the course?


AG: They have Liverpool, Manchester City and us in their next three games, they could lose all 3 of those and beat some of the lesser teams and still make it. They're massive contenders, with the news from Man City today, they could drop off and it could be a shoot out between the current top 4.


If we weren't in with a massive shout of the title, I'd absolutely love them to do it, but right now, they need to calm down!!


SMM: How have you rated Arsenal's transfer dealings in the Summer and in this January transfer window?


AG: As mentioned above, happy with the summer and January to an extent. Another holding midfielder would've been great, Morgan Schneiderlin looked like a top signing for Man Utd and one I was gutted we didn't make but he's hardly setting the world alight there - who knows! Elneny looked decent on Saturday but time will tell. The ultimate Arsenal cliche but with Danny Welbeck and Francis Coquelin back, along with Jack Wilshere (lol) and Tomas Rosicky (LOL!) back at the end of the season, will be like new signings!


SMM: If you could sell any player from your starting XI, who would it be and why?


AG: None from our usual XI, but we do have Mathieu Flamini playing far too many minutes this season. He gives his all but he's not got the stamina he had to compensate for his lack of quality. In fairness, he's going at the end of the season anyway!


SMM: If you could sign any Saints player, who would it be and why?


AG: It's hard not to say Austin already! However, Sadio Mane would be an excellent addition for us on the right, penetrative runs behind beyond the back four and Mesut Ozil would find him all day long. Last season I'd have said Fraser Forster and his return shows just why, he's transformed Saints' defence lately, but Petr Cech is just so good! (He's going to throw one in tomorrow now isn't he!?)


SMM: Finally, what do you think the score will be on Tuesday night?


AG: We need a win desperately, but we could struggle, I'll go 1-0, a late Theo goal or something equally annoying for you lot after the thrashing early this season!