Arsenal vs Southampton: Time To March To Our Beat

Good day one and all…
Arsenal is hosting Southampton at the Emirates this afternoon with both sides in need of three points; the Saints, of course, are eager to escape the drop zone and the Gunners will want to continue being side-by-side with teams fighting for a Premier League top-four place.
We did well on Thursday night to overturn a 1-0 1st leg deficit vs BATE to progress and Europa’s ’round of 16′, but to qualify for next season’s Champions League a top-four place always has to be Plan A, making this a ‘must-win’.
Burnley unexpectedly beat Spurs yesterday and with our neighbours still to play Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool and Mancity in the PL, there’s now a real likelihood of them getting dragged into what has been a threeway fight for top-four since mid December. So getting results against teams below the top-six is as important as it has ever been if two spots were to be up for grabs.
Our form over the last two months has been somewhat concerning, winning just seven of our last 14 games in all competitions (D1, L6), the Emirates, however, has always been a home comfort with us now eyeing our seventh consecutive PL home win. We are currently also 12 games unbeaten in PL home games.
The Saints though aren’t marching too bad under Ralph Hasenhuttl – remember in his second game in charge he ended our 22 game unbeaten run with a 3-2 win in the reverse fixture. They had their up and downs for the rest of that December but started 2019 well with their first league defeat only coming in their last outing against Cardiff via a late goal. That was two weeks back, so over the fortnight he had plenty of time to work out things ahead of this fixture.
Two teams at opposite ends of the table but this could be a tricky one as the Saints aren’t the worst travellers. Their last 3 away games were at Chelsea, Leicester and Burnley and they returned to St Mary’s not shaming themselves (W1 D2).
So maybe Unai Emery need to take the trailer off so our boys can really dig in to force them on the backfoot. At St Mary’s our defensive issue got exploited so not to leave things to chance as we haven’t really shown improvement at the back since, our best solution remain ‘having a go’.
It’s a short turnaround till our next game on Wednesday vs Bournemouth, so a decision need to be made whether to play Aubameyang or not so soon after he was on the pitch for the full 90 on Thursday night. Him and Lacazette are such flat track bullies when given time and sometimes one feel they’re underused. Özil too played the full game so given his back troubles will it be worth risking him given that the Cherries may be tougher opponents? Whether he plays or not, we need to find a way of creating regular chances, so the odds could favour us for a win.
Arsenal got history on their side in this fixture as the Saints haven’t beaten us yet in 23 tries away from home, given that they’re not the easiest of opponents though we may not necessarily see an end-to-end encounter, rather something cagey.
If forced to stick my neck out, I’ll predict the Gunners should have enough in the armoury to make sure the points stay at the Emirates.

35 comments on “Arsenal vs Southampton: Time To March To Our Beat

  1. Every game is a big game, just for different reasons.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. What Liverpool and Mancity did well this season is having a real go at teams outside top-six by playing with the same intensity they do against top teams. We are at times guilty of over rotation early on in the season and only at the run-in wake up that we shouldn’t leave these things to chance. Certainly worth at least a 6 point swing if we treat each game ‘must-win’ from the onset..

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Thanks Labo.
    Today and the next three league games plus the Rennes match are huge fixtures.


    Happy the squad aren’t playing today in a potentialy morale sapping excercise in the diddly cup, grateful for not making the semi finals of that competition though the victory over Chelsea was a highlight from last season. Chelsea may win today but I don’t think it’ll help them in the league even if they did, however unlikely that is.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. < thanks George!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great preview as usual by Labo. But, as those who read my blog earlier today are aware, I have a somewhat different view about the importance of top-4 to the club and Stan Kroenke in particular. In my opinion to Stan (and Josh) it is more critical to being in the top-6. That would explain recent personnel decisions. That being said I expect the club to fight tooth and nail to defeat Southampton at home.
    For more on my perspective check out my blog at https://uniteforvar.com/?p=1771#comment-469

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Excellent LG, a well rounded preview from all angles if that makes sence.
    I honestly dont think we can start looking at top four until after the manure fixture as we are just not on a good enough vein of form compared to the other teams around us to expect much better than sixth at the moment. So its the old take one game at a time and see where that takes us.
    On todays game the kick off is early and red London is bathed in sunshine an ideal day for a good pint and a good win. Yes the saints are doing better under their new manager and are well organised but we are a different animal at home and so quick expansive football is normally the order of the day. We will have to be organised defensively too and probably patient however with our attacking options coming out all guns blazing we should be alright COYG.

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  7. six changes to the staring 11

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  8. It is a lot of changes.
    Southampton playing after a break and training camp, Redmond starting as their ‘striker’, so like the Arsenal they have some goals if not creativity on the bench today.
    At least Rambo starts.
    No Jenks or Chambers available as RB options, a tougher test for the Swiss Vet today against better opponents just a few days after he played. Hope he has a good game.


    Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m not going to get to see much of today’s game as I’ve been a bit under the weather for the last few days and today I’m getting it hard to breathe so I’m off to see Doctor on Call to see if they can do anything to clear up my wheezing

    Liked by 1 person

  10. get well soon Ed. COYG!

    Liked by 4 people

  11. Best opening 45 in a while.
    Ramsey growing into the game.
    Arsenal’s ‘game management’ perfect so far. The break for the knock on Kolasinac stopping Southampton’s fight back after the opener, dropping their adrenaline with Arsenal finding the second at the perfect moment.
    The visitors have strikers on the bench and will remain a threat but I feel the contest is safe now.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Do get well soon Eddy!

    Liked by 2 people

  13. fins I think you were watching the manure pool game cos it cant of been us you were talking about. Another mur performance full of mistakes bad decision making and bad defending. I thought we were very lucky to keep a clean sheet today and early could of got ourselves into alot of trouble.
    Before the game I said I could see us nailed on sixth and after that 93 minutes I can see no change.
    The ref seem to enjoy himself and I thought he might come out for the second half with bemuda shorts, hawian shirt with the old knotted hanky on his head for good measure, he could even have swapped his whistle for a Mr whippy ice cream. He didnt want to make decisions at all and at no point did he seem to have a clue what was going on except he was running around the hallowed Emirates turf on a wonderful sunny afternoon.
    I suppose these wins can forge momentum and suddenly you find yourself with form but at the moment we are along way off.

    Liked by 3 people

  14. Quiet here today! Seen nowt of game but very happy to get three points on what has been excellent weekend results wise.

    Hated idea of either Utd or Liverpool winning so much I forgot possibility of a draw.

    I know I should be hoping for best result possible to help our CL efforts, i.e Pool win, but, no…happy with that draw.

    For those who watched stream of ours and didn’t see Utd Liv game, Utd lost three to injury first half and more importantly Pool looked hugely unconvincing. No obvious sign of pressure getting to them but got very little going in attack.

    Firmino went off for them 1st half and further strengthened my belief that it’s key for them to have all three forwards available. Two of them are reasonably manageable with a deep concentrated defence and they’re not special in terms of creativity from midfield. Would like it if one of them buggered off almost as much as if Harold or Eriksen left Spurs.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Heard Mustafi played part of game at right back. Wondering how he did? Thought he looked quite solid there in a few games for Germany years back and expected in early days with us he might play some games there.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Presuming they got VAR in this cup final. Not that you can really tell. Cheeky entirely deliberate elbow from kick off on Aguero, then looked like a clear foul from Zinchenko last man on Kante. No sign of either being checked unless decisions were made on one look, when each demanded a longer look.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Trying to be positive Ian!

    I counted only two good chances for the opponents in the first half, haven’t checked but I think that is an improvement on recent league matches.

    With Sokratis and Koscielny returning to full fitness I remain optimistic about better defending. Still only 3CBs available to choose from, I guess they won’t start every game.

    With the switch of Mustafi to RB there were in total three changes to the back line with Sokratis also moving across and Koscielny coming on. Hard to make any conclusions on Mustafi at RB from those 20 mins. Not the best at crossing, I see Mustafi as a good back up RB in the Zabelata and Ivanovic style, but too few minutes so far to see if that feeling is supported by any evidence.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Could be wrong but today’s performance and result could affect Chelsea’s league form one way or another.

    The home game against Utd remains crucial to my mind. If the Arsenal can pick up four points in the next two league games then they’ll have some momentum.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. All the people making excuses for the Ozil situation with the gibberish that managers like Klopp no longer use such players are ignoring Klopp’s and others use of players like Goetze and Coutinho etc. Klopp would dearly love a top playmaker in his, to complete his squad.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. < correction: three good chances for Southampton in the first half. Yep, probably too many and still a worry.

    But if the team can go into the Utd fixture with good momentum and hopefully results
    I'll be very optimistic. With Martial and Matic now unavailable Utd can't be as dangerous as on their last visit in the cup?

    4321 looked the right call today against an opponent playing with no strikers and after a two week lay off (too long?) as opposed to two good ones starting for Utd during their best spell of the season so far.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. << 4231

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Both teams in this cup final have three kits this season.

    Both teams are playing in blue.

    The petro clubs.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Ridiculous that linesman flagged there on extremely close last minute offside call (Hazard clean through)

    A one off mistake is slightly embarrassing, especially at a huge moment, but it has happened so often in last few months of trials have to suspect Riley and co are at it and are not telling them to make sure flag stays down if there’s any chance of it being onside- ie very clear yards in it.

    They seemed determined not to use VAR as it should be used.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Huge swing for Liverpool if Fernandinho out for any length of time.

    Was very surprised to see Fernandinho used away at Newport the other day. Quite something considering their resources that Pep didn’t trust anyone else for that, or any, game.

    33, I think, so not wise to push him that hard given his immense importance to them.

    Liked by 2 people

  25. not long home from the Doctors, I’ve got Bronchitis, was put on a course of Antibiotics and a high dosage of steroids too. Hopefully that will do the trick.

    delighted that we got a win today, a weekend when spurs lost, man utd and liverpool drew, and we are up to 4th, Bournemouth next at home, with spurs playing CFC before we visit them next weekend

    Liked by 2 people

  26. Kepa! Bizarre!

    Liked by 2 people

  27. A welcome 3 points and an improvement in our game play although there were some worrying opportunities for Southampton that a better team could have capitalised on.

    It was also a joy to see Mesut on the pitch again even for that one pass to Aubameyang that should have resulted in a goal!

    Liked by 2 people

  28. Ed, Hopefully that’s you on road to recovery then.

    Don’t know if you got home in time to watch end of cup final- missed some rare strange drama if you didn’t

    Chelsea keeper refused to be subbed off. Held game up for a bit and even led to ref coming to touchline to ask what was happening.

    Poor Sarri almost lost his mind. Walked off and got to doors to tunnel. looked like he wanted to get at Kepa after full time and before pens.

    Chelsea had played well but think very good chance that will be end of Sarri.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. from football.london – Emery’s after game press conference

    On the win – was it revenge for the defeat at St Mary’s?

    We studied when we played against them. Maybe it was in a difficult moment, we were playing with Lichtsteiner centre-back, with Xhaka at centre back, we also had the injury to Bellerin and we lost an important match.

    We spoke yesterday and said we had respect for Southampton but thinking with a sporting mentality how we wanted revenge today.

    I think the players played thinking for us, for the three points and for the supporters. Maybe for me the motivation can be that situation.

    On the clean sheet

    They have players who are very fast, like Redmond.

    In the first action they got space behind our defence and created chances. We needed the goalkeeper. Today I think Leno played well and helped us a lot.

    We can play with different systems and different players. It depends, if you want to attack a lot with your left and right backs, it’s better to play with three centre-backs.
    Unai Emery gives his team the thumbs up against Southampton.

    But also it depends if the opposition is playing with one attacking player or with two. It depends on the situation tactically.

    I think Lichtsteiner played his best first half of the season today and Kolasinac also is keeping consistent each match. He played well defensively and offensively.

    What does it mean to be back in the top four?

    For us it is positive, but it is not changing our idea or our way.

    Wednesday is another three important points against Bournemouth here at home.

    At the moment we can use different players, fresh players with energy and quality. We need to do the mix to reserve some players for the next, because we are going to play a lot of matches.

    We played Thursday, today, then Wednesday and Saturday. It’s important to play with a big performance like today, when we can change some players in the first XI.

    Was today a chance missed to improve the goal difference?

    We created chances. Today we can win with a bigger difference than the two goals.

    We need to continue to play with this spirit and intensity. Keep it for 90 minutes, creating chances.
    Alexandre Lacazette opens the scoring for Arsenal against Southampton.

    Lacazette deserved to score more today, Auba had two matches when he was on the pitch. I think this is the way. My problem is when we don’t create chances, but today that wasn’t the problem.

    How important is consistency now?

    For us the first competition is the Premier League. It’s the first target for us.

    At home we are feeling strong. The last league game away we won at Huddersfield, but we need to be more consistent away. We know that.

    More beneficial that games are now coming quickly?

    We have to play a lot of matches in one week. Thursday I was very proud of them after how they worked, it was a difficult match after losing 1-0 in the first leg.

    Today we decided to make changes. It was important we carried on with our intensity and performance with different players.

    We now need to be together and we can feel stronger with every player.

    Do you take much notice of results elsewhere?

    Our focus is on our way. We can’t control the result with United, Chelsea or Tottenham. Only when we play against them.
    Arsenal celebrate Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s goal against Southampton.

    The most important thing is our match, thinking step by step and Wednesday against Bournemouth with three points.

    Our focus is to win Wednesday and thinking that the players can be at the best performance possible.

    On Iwobi’s injury

    I hope it’s only a knock, not a more important injury. I hope he can play Wednesday,

    Lichtsteiner has back pain, but I hope he can be OK for Wednesday, I hope Maitland-Niles as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. well just seen that kepa refused to be subbed off at Wembley, defied his manager, very interesting, would expect one of the two to be finished at CFC after that.
    It reminds me of years ago in my lowly playing days a member of the coaching staff saying to me before a game, “if the boss goes to sub you off today, you have the right to refuse”, it was during a period of time when I was taken off game after game regardless, either that or I would be dropped and subbed on to in the managers words “win us the game”, oddly enough it was only game that season I was not subbed either on or off, I left that club at the end of that season, still regret that I did not refuse to be subbed off in one of my final games for the club, but I did refuse to be a sub in a reserve final, when I wasn’t selected in the starting team I refused to be a sub. The boss told the Board and supporters I had been selected to play but refused to play, shortly after I left the club he got sacked after the board actually investigated his false claims, his coaches told the truth of the matter.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Glad to hear that, Eddy.
    Don’t wish to pry but do you have COPD? It sounds like you’re being managed for an acute exacerbation of COPD.

    I and the old fart (bless his soul) got talking a lot about his health before he passed on. I do miss our correspondence.

    Anyways, glad you’re back and raring to go once again. I’m here if you ever want to talk about it



  32. Was lucky enough to be able to go to the game today. Thought we were very good. Comfortable all afternoon, might have scored plenty. Seemed as if our boys were really enjoying it and at times they played with a bit of swag. Also seemed as if some common sense ‘re Ramsey and Ozil has been applied. This gooner feeling a little bit positive again.

    Liked by 2 people

  33. idibs, thankfully not got COPD, that can be totally awful, my Dad suffered from it for years.

    Liked by 1 person

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