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Inside Info: We spoke to a Gooner to get an Arsenal fan's take on tonight's game against Southampton

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Inside Info is back and this time we recruit the services of an Arsenal fan to get a Gooner's perspective.

Arsenal v Manchester United - Premier League Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

This week we spoke to Arsenal fan Andrei Grayson to get the lowdown on Southampton's opponents on Wednesday evening in the Premier League.

Please read, like, share and, most importantly, enjoy this week's edition of INSIDE INFO - the original (we're looking at you, www.southamptonfc.co.uk) Saints column which gets the opposition's views ahead of their match against our beloved Southampton.


St. Mary's Musings: What were your expectations of ahead of Arsenal's season and how does that compare?

Andrei Grayson: It's hard to think that far back. The transfer window and lack of activity until the final week was a concern but it's hard to complain with over £70 million spent on a centre half, holding midfielder and striker—all of which we were screaming out for.

The aim was to compete for the title amongst a plethora of new managers supposedly set to struggle. Our model of consistency was to finally pay dividends. It seems baffling to think we had a 20+ game unbeaten run earlier in the season.

To say it's collapsed would be far too dramatic. However, 2016/17 has been thoroughly disappointing and so many Arsenal fans are utterly disillusioned with how this season has played out.

SMM: Wenger in or out? Why?

AG: I hate this question. Now, it has to be out. I love the man, almost as much as my father, but it's time.

Arsenal are stale, fans just want to see a different style and, if it comes to this, even lose in a different way. The reason to fear Arsene Wenger leaving was always the risk of dropping out of the champions league spaces, but this is likely to happen anyway.

In a dream world, he would turn it round and be the man at the helm when we compete for major honours again, but that sadly won't ever materialise.

SMM: What is the biggest frustration of yours as an Arsenal fan?

AG: There are two things. This team makes the same mistakes over and over, without anyone assigning blame to them or the manager—the fundamental errors they consistently make for players with such high quality is bizarre.

Also, our fans are shocking. Really appalling. The banners, the planes, the chants, all of it. It's painful. Poor Arsenal in an FA Cup final and being the 5/6th best team in England. While I understand the disappointment of this season, let's be real—it could be an awful lot worse.

SMM: Is an FA Cup final enough to appease those disgruntled fans?

AG: It certainly should be. Again, we could win a trophy for the third time in four years which would be some achievement. Losing to Chelsea would cap an underwhelming season with a real pain point but it's hard to see anything other than a loss that day.

SMM: How are former Saints Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Calum Chambers viewed at Arsenal?

AG: Theo has 20 goals this season but is viewed as one of the most inconsistent and frustrating players going. He has shown a better work rate this year but ultimately, his limitations cause a great deal of angst in the stands.

Ox is reborn at wing back, he looks accomplished on any wing, or in the middle and is really starting to blossom. This season has seem him accrue seven assists which matches his career total at Arsenal from the previous four seasons. Pinning him down for a new contract will be critical this summer.

Chambers has been on loan and reports from Middlesbrough are mainly positive despite their relegation. He has a really chance to break through next year if we continue with five at the back.

SMM: What is your opinion of Southampton?

AG: My opinion may be skewed due to following their trials and tribulations in League One and the Championship with one of the editors for this site. They're a club I always want to do well, the model of youth and helping players flourish is magnificent and extremely admirable.

Manolo Gabbiandini is such an exciting prospect for next season and they're a team one would like to see prevail and push for the Europa League consistently. I really hope they continue to be a mainstay in the Premier League.

SMM: Are there any Saints players you feel Arsenal fans should be wary of?

AG: Fraser Forster! The man loves playing us; mainly at the Emirates, though I'm not sure we have had a shot in anger against him at St Mary's. Regardless, he's had some incredible performance against us in recent years.

Equally, Gabbiandini is lethal, oozes class and seems to have an appetite for the big game so I'd imagine he'll get on the scoresheet tomorrow.

SMM: Virgil van Dijk—is he going to Arsenal?

AG: No chance. If I was a centre half with his quality, I would not risk moving to Arsenal if my life depended on it! I'd imagine he'll go for big bucks and have a massive wage increase at Manchester City or Chelsea if he goes.

SMM: Finally, what is your prediction for Wednesday night?

AG: We so need to win and when the pressure is on we have really crumbled away from home. We have everything to play for and is a bit of a free hit for the Saints.

This should be an open game, so I'll go for an entertaining 2-2.


We would like to thank Andrei for his time. Make sure you follow him on Twitter @Andrei_Grayson.