Arsenal v Southampton: expected results
- Arsenal v Southampton: Simon Hooper is the ref, which means…
- Arsenal v Southampton. Prognostications and a lack of chickens
On the Arsenal history site today: 21 April 2001: Starting the longest sequence of scoring in home games
By Bulldog Drummond
Of course what we should have for this game is one of the PGMO referees who openly favours the away teams. In such a scenario Arsenal would still easily have enough in them to beat Southampton no matter what the referee got up to, and the home-favouring referee that we have for the game tonight could have been saved for one of the tougher home games.
Having the Southampton match as one of those times when we get a referee who invariably gives home wins is an absolute waste – we needed this appearance against one of our more powerful opponents – for example Chelsea or Brighton. I know we should beat both of them, but if there is an away favouring referee for either or both of those games, and the Arsenal team are still shedding points in games they should win, either of those games could flow against us with referee assistance.
But we have the referee we have, and he’s a home win man.
On the injury front we have four men out, one of who might just be fit, but it seems unlikely. They are Takehiro Timiyasu, Oleksandr Zinchenko (who is given a 25% chance of being fit) Mo Elneny and of course William Saliba, who is the biggest miss of all.
But despite such woes the “last six games” table is still in our favour even though Arsenal have been slipping. I’ve included the top four, plus for contrast the other members of the big seven we have been following all season. Interestingly four of these (Manchester United, Liverpool, Tottenham, Chelsea) are all below the top four slots when it comes to measuring the last six games.
We have already seen the home and away tables based on the recent games, which very much gives Arsenal the edge. If we do the same for all the games this season we find
That gives us the hope of something like a 5-0 win. But certainly we must note that Southampton have scored nine away goals all season – if there were to get one against Arsenal it really would be 11 behind the ball for the rest of the game. In fact that is probably how they will start.
The other factor we have been watching is the three or four-game dip which has happened just once this season with the cup defeat to Manchester City, the away league loss to Everton, the home draw with Brentford and the home defeat to Manchester City in the league. That obviously was a four-game dip which we had four times last season. So at least having it just once is a great improvement.
Manchester City are suffering no such dip. – the worst run they have had has been the draw with Kobenhavn, followed by a defeat to Liverpool, a victory over Brighton and then a draw with Borussia Dortmund. Otherwise the juggernaut rolls on: ten straight victories in all competitions followed by this week’s away draw with Bayern Munchen, which didn’t matter since they won the first leg 3-0.
What we can say is that Arsenal have curbed the tendency to have bad patches – but whether this is enough to take the club through to the title, it is hard to say.
But no matter what happens we have to remember the progress that has been made. This season after 31 games we have six more victories than last season, eight fewer defeats, a remarkable 29 goals more, six goals fewer conceded (meaning a +35 better goal difference) and 20 more points.
Because of the infinite spending power of Manchester City, which the Premier League have taken far too long to challenge, and for which the legal case is expected to run for four years, Arsenal can’t keep up with Manchester City. We might win the league, or we might come second, but if second is what it is to be, we ought to be given the title once the court case finishes somewhere around 2027.