Southampton v Arsenal: the team

By Bulldog Drummond

Here’s another stat about Unai Emery and his style of tackling football matches that we haven’t seen before: he has made 14 substitutions before the start of the second half this season, which is more than has happened at any other club.

And it is working not only in terms of the 22 match unbeaten run but also in terms of goal scoring. The subs in the first half or at half time have eight goals – again more than any other club.

Of course that reminds us that we are yet to be in front in any of the League games.  12 times it has been a draw at half time, but four times we have gone into the break behind.  And from those occasions we have picked up 12 points.

But there is a negative in this approach – we have only kept one clean sheet in the away games in the League.

Laurrent Koscielny who has returned in recent games said of Emery, “I think it is fresh air for the club.  He came here with his ideas and he knows the football he wants to play. He tries to give all the ingredients for the players to learn about his tactics and how he wants to play.”

As for his long period out of the game he said, “During rehab, you have you and yourself.  For me it was very important to stay in my bubble and to be focused with one target: to come back stronger and quicker. You have not just good moments, you have some bad ones, some days you can’t progress as you wish.”

As for his return to the first team he said, “It was a special day for me after seven months. Just before you come onto the pitch, you think about what you did. I had some flashes in my head of the seven months of rehab I did. Now it’s the end.

“I have been running since the end of August and I was near the team during the training sessions. I watched all the training so I know all the tactics, all the runs, when we have the ball, when we need to defend, when we need to press.”

So does he play again today, having played in the Europa game?   Quite probably yes. Here’s one line up…


Lichsteiner Koscielny Monreal

Bellerin                                       Kolasinac

Torreira     Xhaka

Mkhitaryan                   Iwobi


Given the way Mr Unai plays, the beach of course is now more important than ever.   We know it will be Cech particularly as Martínez got a game in the Europa, and the others I suspect (if this is the line up) will be Maitland-Niles, Guendouzi, Elneny, Nketiah, Özil and Lacazette.

Smith Rowe dropped out of the Europa game with an injury revealed on the day, and I personally did not think Jenkinson looked at all on form in that match.   Elneny can play defensive midfield or centre back and so covers both, and I still maintain he should not get any of the negatives that have been thrown at him by the twatters.

If on the other hand we go for four at the back it could be


Aubameyang  Özil  Mkhitaryan

Torreira     Xhaka

Kolasinac Monreal Koscielny Bellerin


Or given the way things are going we could play the first line up in the first half and the second line up in the second half.

The point about these changes is that whereas in the first half the opposition know one hour before the game what the Arsenal line up will be and so can have immediate tactical talks to change how they are going to play, they don’t have time for that in the second half.

If Arsenal change two players and their entire shape Southampton will have only a moment to consider what they are up against – which means you might see the manager frantically pointing from the touch line as the second half is about to start and the subs are made.  It also explains why the opposition occasionally come out a few moments after Arsenal to resume the second half having just been told the subs that are being made.

We shall, of course, see.

Here are the other articles on the game.



37 Replies to “Southampton v Arsenal: the team”

  1. There has been a report that Bukayo Saka our young left winger has travelled with the team to Southampton. The 17 year old who had an excellent game on Thursday is clearly being rewarded for that performance and this is the next step in his development. Whether he makes the bench or not remains to be seen but he is clearly a player to keep an eye on for the rest of the season.

  2. Saka not on the bench but still a positive development for him – maybe he’ll be part of the team on Wednesday?

  3. Toreira getting targetted as well. Referee giving advantage after our players get fouled off the ball. It is a shameful display of bias as he hasn’t booked a single foul tackle by Saints.

  4. Q: How do you explain the lack of a yellow for the foul on the player just back from big injury which leads to him hobbling, and then a goal resulting from having a hobbled defender (partially) for the Home team?

    A: You can’t!

    Nor replay of the pass from the middle out to the Southampton left for the cross either. From the angle the broadcaster showed, looked offside?

    Monreal , Mr. Consistent. Iwobi and Miki almost combining for two!

    Elbow in Torreira’s back. No yellow. Think I might head down to the bookies and put a punt on the arsenal having to Sub off an injured player.

    What are the odds?

  5. Well.

    The official not officiating but tilting this contest has truly exposed himself. One would feel sorry for him if the naked spectacle wasn’t so repulsive.

    “English referring is at it’s lowest ebb in decades”
    Totally Football podcast with James Richardson describing and quantifying the achievements from the Life of Riley.

    Come on The Arsenal.

  6. A great response so far in the 2nd half but why do we constantly play poorly in the 1st half of games.Also some of you on this site just moan constantly about the referees.Its clear that you havent played the game or understand the rules.Menace i can understand because hes special but the rest whats your excuse.

  7. Redmond with his arm in Kos midriff & then he goes down for the cheating official to give Kos a card.

  8. A yellow card for Koscielny after the Southampton player tumbles.

    No yellow for the first half kick throug Koscielny, playing the man not the ball not a difficult call.

    Objectively: this official has been a shambles. And an embaressment to the league and sport.

  9. Menace @2.11
    Hello, hope you’ve been well.
    And that London or the beach are treating you well!

    Thanks but no thanks! I prefer to keep my eyes on the football 🙂

  10. Lichsteiner must be foreign like me because he’s upset with the officiating. In fact he’s pissed.

    Sian is an angel!!

  11. Still hoping for the three points. Another clump on the back up RB. Late in the second half, so as per the game management handbook a yellow. No different to the clumpings in the first half. Yes. It’s easier to predict the officials the no football. You can dress up a donkey with bells and indeed even a whistle but it is still going to bray loudly.

    According to the Untold reviews that offside call was made by the most reliable Lino in the league. Shame she isn’t asked to do the main job, can’t imagine why the likes of such a reliable and admired official don’t get the big gigs.

  12. Menace
    What does the experienced cynical RB who’s won everything bar the CL with Juve know about the rules of the sport?

    One way Southampton could reduce the advantage the gunners had off the bench was to injure enough of the opponents. Which they could do with support from the man in the middle.

    The pgMOB Rules variable football code is less credible then the Ozzie Rules code.

  13. One thing is plainly obvious ..We need a quality centre back.Sell Ramsy in january and go all out for one.You only have to look at Liverpool with the addition of Van Dijk

  14. Menace
    The defenders of the pgmob structure and practice have no defence other then idiotic abuse, and we expect no better from them.

    It’s a shame that they no know less then the sweet FA about the footy.

  15. nick – are you funding the purchase of the CB or would you prefer to pontificate on our team like a fantasy manager?

    Ings & Long should have had red cards. Ings got nothing & Long a yellow for an elbow to the head that the referee saw.

  16. We cannot always blame the ref.

    This was a poor performance all round against a highly motivated and energetic soton team.

    WE conceded 3 goals to crosses, which is something we have got used to seeing.

    I th9ught that Leno should have punched the ball away for the third.

    The defending was simply not good enough and the attack mainly toothless.

  17. @jjgsol

    The referee missed 3 red cards for Southampton players
    – Ings after that awful challenge on Koscielny early on the first half (funny how they conveniently “forgot” to show a replay…)
    – Armstrong for the scissor tackle from behind that injured Lichsteiner
    – Long for the deliberate elbow to Monreal face

    He also denied Monreal a clear penalty when he was kicked by a high foot

    It is not one isolated mistake, but four game-changing decisions that the referee got wrong and always in the favor of the same team.

    Regardless of how poor we played today (and actually it wasn’t a poor performance at all, just average), with an unbiased referee, Arsenal would have easily won this game. But instead we end up with a loss and two more injured players

  18. @jigsol
    “…the defending was not good enough”… what a suprise! Kos returns with no EPL games for monthes, Mustafi and Sokratis out (would be interresting to look closer to the yellow cards they got before) Holding injured… Of course the defending was not good enough. what did you expect?
    Oh yes we can buy someone else in the middle… With better players we can do better, that’s what my 3 years grand daughter could have tell. Come on, we were on 22 games unbeaten and suddenly you cry to get new players… Childish! Are the “Emery out” banners painting dry already?
    And yes for sure the ref let the Saints do anything they wanted. No protection for Torreira who got fouled many times, same for Lichsteiner and later Ozil. Again, no suprise!

  19. The penalty on Monreal was fairly obvious!

    It takes effort to ignore a mid air flying kick through the opponent from behind in the area. Unless you are applying the variable pgMOB Rules code variant instead of the normal laws of association football?

  20. We could still have won in spite of PigMob. Our defending needs improvement and real alertness to dangerous crosses that were our undoing today. What you get with a ‘carver’ as umpire is cutting us up to the favour of the opponent. Come on boys let’s do it again and chalk this up as another PigMob win.

  21. Vince & Alex you actually saw the game whilst there are those that just watched the game. THe deliberate blindness shown by the official was critical in the result.

    Our defense was poor but if Ings was correctly dealt with at the outset, the result would have been different. The Kos booking was a complete joke, just like the previous match where we got 3 yellows for simulation that were actual fouls.

    Until our supporters realise that there is clear bias & corrupt officiating happening in the English Premier League, there will not be sufficient effort to make the change to fair officiating.

  22. So angry I haven’t read the post or comments. How the fuck can Sky not show two studs up challenges by.ings and completely ignote a 15 second passage of play in which Southampton could have received three red cards. I’m am so sick of the completely corrupt bollocks that is pevalent in English football I’m seriously thinking of giving up my sesson ticket and even watching the biased shite thety shoe on tv. We weren’t great today but without the PIGMOB we’d have come away with a 3-1 win. It’s a complete disgrace.

  23. I think I prefer to lose the unbeaten record away to Soton, without our 3 first choice centre-backs, against a team that was playing for the first time at home for a new manager than at home to the scum in the league cup, when we have our first choice centrebacks available.

  24. Tony used to write articles about how pointless and an utter waste of breadth it was for WOBs to go on asking for Wenger’s sacking, until Wenger got sacked obviously. For those of you who keep yapping on about refs after every poor result, I give you the same advice, stop wasting your breadth, you’re not fooling anyone.

  25. Menace.The funding of a top class CB could be by selling Rmasey in the January transfer window.He hasnt signed a new deal so now is the right time to offload.Emery will know that and im sure with his knowledge of where our problems lie and his ruthfullness will do the right thing.Also i think hes starting to realise that Ozil is an expensive luxury we cant afford.

  26. Daud, I really don’t understand. If there are people who yap on about refs after ever poor result, and they fool no one, why on earth do you take up your time to tell them to stop? It really doesn’t make any sense to me why you should spend your time telling people to stop wasting their time, when their time wasting has no impact on anyone, according to your analysis. I am sure there is some logic in there somewhere but I sure can’t see it.

  27. @Tony, your confusion would have been understandable/believable if it also was the case when you kept reminding us Wobs to stop wasting our time asking for Wenger’s removal, since we were wasting our time. But no, it was totally logical for you to waste your time telling us not to waste our time as long as it bought Wenger more time on the job. Right?

  28. The pattern was obvious from the start, with a series of fouls on Guendozi ignored by the referee, Terreira chopped down after he released the ball, then the blatant off-the-ball hacking of Kos, which was again ignored by the referee. The first goal was the immediate result, assisted by a player in an offside position. What followed was entirely predictable. Clearly, the pitch is tilted against us in every game.

  29. So a bad day at the office. Was expecting the 3 points as Soton has, been so poor lately.
    Personally I think UE got it wrong although he has proven me wrong every time as his selected players came out with flying colors.

    To start with Leno. I think Leno has now what 3 errors in 3 games? IMHO cech should be starting the PL as he is experienced and his understanding with Kos and Mustafi should be better as they are playing together for a good 2 years now. Leno should play in cups.

    With few CBs options and Xhaka as makeshift UE could be pardoned for the defencive errors this time.

    For The CAM & attack I fail to understand why UE did not start with Ozil. N Ramsey.Having world class players on the bench in a, crucial Epl tie is mind boggling.
    Also Lacazette and Auba playing in tandem has always provided better results IMHO.

    As I mentioned a lot of times that we tend to suffer with injuries and harsh winters it seems the same is happening again.
    May God help the Arsenal.

    The WOBs desire to win the league with their cruel agenda will haunt them big time for sure.

  30. Well, just to appease the yapping, I dislike perhaps even hate the PGMOL officiating whether we win or lose. They are corrupt in almost every game in the EPL, not only in the Arsenal matches. Their setup allows them to select whatever result they wish & obviously with it a select set of results to satisfy unknown paymasters. The Sky coverage is also biased and manipulated to ensure PGMOL smell of roses.

    There are several clips on youtube showing the poor officiating of these cretins. The amazing thing is the fraud squad have not got involved to date with this blatant national scandal.

  31. I was impressed with how well and often we hustled Soton off the ball. It seemed to me that the tactic was to reduce tackles, especially anything approaching full-blooded, and to corral the ball into dead ends and nip the ball away cleanly. This reduced our usual cards awarded rate and the concession of dangerous free kicks rate.
    Yep I’m disappointed at losing, frustrated at how, but we played well, fought hard, kept our heads and throughly entertained, I’m still feeling good.

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