Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger rates Southampton as the best pressing side in the Premier League and says they can be 'very ambitious' after an excellent start to the season.
The Saints go to the Emirates Stadium on Saturday knowing a win would put them level on 25 points with Wenger's league leaders.
If Liverpool fail to win at Everton in the lunchtime kick-off then Southampton could even finish the day top of the table.
It is an achievement for which Wenger is quick to give manager Mauricio Pochettino substantial praise and one that makes Saturday's game between the two teams a vital one in the storyline of the season.
"All teams want to press and win the ball back quickly," said Wenger. "Southampton maybe do it better than others.
"Pochettino has done very well without speaking too much. You have to give him credit for that.
"It's absolutely tremendous what Southampton have achieved. They can be very ambitious."
Arsenal will include Theo Walcott in their squad for the game, after the winger missed two months following abdominal surgery but Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will be out for another month.
Jack Wilshere is also available after playing twice - for 71 minutes against Chile and for 26 minutes against Germany - in England's double-header of friendly matches at Wembley.
Arsenal will bid to return to form after losing for only the second time this season, at Manchester United prior to the international break.
The Old Trafford defeat was a concern for Wenger, who felt his team were nervous in its early exchanges, but who knows his team must learn vital lessons from the loss.
"We have the potential to play at the top and in the first half (at Manchester United) we played with the handbrake on," he said.
"We need to strengthen that belief. I watched the game again and they (United) had two shots on target, one of which was the goal.
"So we restricted them to very few chances and hopefully that will teach us a lesson for our other big games.
"There were nerves in our build-up, not in the second half but in the first half."
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