Oxlade-Chamberlain: No favours at Saints
Arsenal midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain hopes old club Southampton will have enough about them to stay in the Barclays Premier League, but will be going all out to maintain the Gunners' momentum with a fifth-straight win on New Year's Day.
Oxlade-Chamberlain came through the Southampton Academy before catching the eye of several top-flight clubs and eventually following Theo Walcott from St Mary's to Emirates Stadium in a big-money move last summer.
"I hope they do stay up. They have got goals in them, but it is just defensively," said Oxlade-Chamberlain, who was on target as Walcott netted a hat-trick in the 7-3 win over Newcastle on Saturday. "That, though, is hard for anyone in the Premier League because there is so much attacking ability."
The 19-year-old has developed quickly under the guidance of Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, going on to win full England honours and a place in the squad for Euro 2012.
Despite some positive displays, Southampton remain in the relegation zone after they drew 3-3 at Stoke in a match they had led 3-1 and were only denied victory by a superb last-gasp strike by Cameron Jerome.
Oxlade-Chamberlain is still in contact with many of the current Southampton squad, having played alongside the likes of James Ward-Prowse, Luke Shaw, Adam Lallana, Jose Fonte and Ricky Lambert.
Striker Lambert netted his eighth Premier League goal in the Stoke match and Oxlade-Chamberlain knows Arsenal will have to be on their guard against the powerful forward, who also hit the target when Manchester United visited St Mary's earlier in the season.
"He is a natural goalscorer, has the physique and is good in the air, a typical old school centre forward and also has a great free-kick on him," said Oxlade-Chamberlain. "He is always a threat, so we will have to watch out for him."
Meanwhile, fellow former Saint Walcott has hinted he could be close to signing a new deal with the Gunners. Walcott, whose contract ends in the summer, said in The Sun: "I'm sure that something will be sorted very soon.
"I've always said I wanted to stay and I enjoy playing for this team. Now we will just see what happens. I will continue to play my football and let the people who look after me and the club talk to each other and go from there."