Arsenal enter key stretch in need of win

LONDON • Arsenal's meeting with Southampton today marks the start of an important run of six games in 18 days for the club, as Arsene Wenger's side play catch-up in the Premier League.

The new league campaign is only three games old but Arsenal already lie five points behind Manchester City, Chelsea and Manchester United, all of whom have made perfect starts.

While Wenger is far too experienced to be overly concerned by the early league table, he knows the value of momentum in the title race before turning his attention to the club's opening Champions League game at Paris Saint-Germain next week.

The visit of Southampton offers Arsenal the chance to get off the mark at the Emirates Stadium after they lost their opening league game against Liverpool.

Wenger will hope Chile forward Alexis Sanchez lives up to his claim that he is ready to be compared with Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. The French manager can also call on new signings Shkodran Mustafi and Lucas Perez.

However, anything less than victory will shift the focus back on Wenger's failure to bring in more world-class recruits as well as his long-term future at the club, just days after Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe was linked as his successor.

Alex Iwobi is set to return but Aaron Ramsey (hamstring) is expected to again miss out.

Claude Puel is still looking for his first league win since taking charge at Southampton and is hoping it comes against his former manager at Monaco.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

ARSENAL V SOUTHAMPTON

Singtel TV Ch102 & StarHub Ch227, 9.55pm

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 10, 2016, with the headline 'Arsenal enter key stretch in need of win'. Print Edition | Subscribe