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October 2020
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Southampton v Arsenal: down among the deadmen

By Bulldog Drummond

These are not the best of times for Southampton at home or Arsenal away.  Indeed in terms of Southampton at home we are looking at the bottom of the league.

Club P W D L F A GD Pts
16 Aston Villa 15 5 3 7 19 26 -7 18
17 AFC Bournemouth 15 4 5 6 17 23 -6 17
18 West Ham United 15 4 3 8 23 28 -5 15
19 Norwich City 16 4 3 9 19 30 -11 15
20 Southampton 15 4 2 9 16 31 -15 14

Arsenal away is not quite as bad in terms of a comparison with other clubs (Arsenal at 13th in the league on away form) but adding the two clubs together we have 30 games played and just six wins between them, with ten draw and 14 defeats.   Adding together the goal difference of the two clubs we have the grand total of -21.

If it was possible to have a game in which both teams would lose this would be it.

Arsenal away…

Club P W D L F A GD Pts
10 Burnley 15 4 4 7 14 26 -12 16
11 Tottenham Hotspur 15 3 6 6 20 25 -5 15
12 Everton 16 4 3 9 19 31 -12 15
13 Arsenal 15 2 8 5 15 21 -6 14
14 Newcastle United 15 4 2 9 13 29 -16 14
15 Brighton and Hove Albion 16 2 6 8 15 25 -10 12
16 West Ham United 16 3 3 10 12 26 -14 12
17 AFC Bournemouth 16 3 1 12 12 27 -15 10
18 Watford 15 2 4 9 11 27 -16 10
19 Aston Villa 16 2 3 11 17 33 -16 9
20 Norwich City 15 1 3 11 6 26 -20 6

Southampton’s recent form has not shown anything of an upturn with them having lost six, won three and drawn 1.  Only one of their wins was at home – a 2-0 win over struggling Aston Villa.  Otherwise they have beaten Crystal Palace away and Norwich City away

Date Game Res Score Competition
18 Jan 2020 Southampton v Wolverhampton Wanderers L 2-3 Premier League
21 Jan 2020 Crystal Palace v Southampton W 0-2 Premier League
25 Jan 2020 Southampton v Tottenham Hotspur D 1-1 FA Cup
01 Feb 2020 Liverpool v Southampton L 4-0 Premier League
05 Feb 2020 Tottenham Hotspur v Southampton L 3-2 FA Cup
15 Feb 2020 Southampton v Burnley L 1-2 Premier League
22 Feb 2020 Southampton v Aston Villa W 2-0 Premier League
29 Feb 2020 West Ham United v Southampton L 3-1 Premier League
07 Mar 2020 Southampton v Newcastle United L 0-1 Premier League
19 Jun 2020 Norwich City v Southampton W 0-3 Premier League

With that sort of form Arsenal should stroll through this match.  But Arsenal have the self-inflicted wound of having bowed to the pressure of card carrying protesters and changed their manager twice of late.  Although the last ten results still look ok, despite the two ghost game defeats.

So taking the last ten Arsenal games as a whole we see three defeats, one draw and six wins.   But none of the wins is an away league win.  Indeed for the last Arsenal away win in the league we have to go back to 9 December 2019 and West Ham 1 Arsenal 3.

Here is Arsenal’s recent record

Date Game Res Score Competition
27 Jan 2020 AFC Bournemouth v Arsenal W 1-2 FA Cup
02 Feb 2020 Burnley v Arsenal D 0-0 Premier League
16 Feb 2020 Arsenal v Newcastle United W 4-0 Premier League
20 Feb 2020 Olympiakos v Arsenal W 0-1 Europa League
23 Feb 2020 Arsenal v Everton W 3-2 Premier League
27 Feb 2020 Arsenal v Olympiakos L 1-2 Europa League
02 Mar 2020 Portsmouth v Arsenal W 0-2 FA Cup
07 Mar 2020 Arsenal v West Ham United W 1-0 Premier League
17 Jun 2020 Manchester City v Arsenal L 3-0 Premier League
20 Jun 2020 Brighton and Hove Albion v Arsenal L 2-1 Premier League

So three defeats in the last five, and the two wins being against Portsmouth and West Ham.  Things do need to change.

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A look at the league table overall gives us a view of how huge the task is for getting into the top six or seven (depending on Manchester City’s fate at the hands of CAS.

Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Liverpool 31 28 2 1 70 21 49 86
2 Manchester City 30 20 3 7 76 31 45 63
3 Leicester City 31 16 7 8 59 29 30 55
4 Chelsea 30 15 6 9 53 40 13 51
5 Manchester United 31 13 10 8 48 31 17 49
6 Wolverhampton Wanderers 31 12 13 6 44 34 10 49
7 Tottenham Hotspur 31 12 9 10 50 41 9 45
8 Sheffield United 31 11 11 9 30 31 -1 44
9 Crystal Palace 31 11 9 11 28 36 -8 42
10 Everton 31 11 8 12 38 46 -8 41
11 Arsenal 30 9 13 8 41 41 0 40

Arsenal need to be sixth to get into the Europa League or seventh if CAS do their duty and throw Manchester City out of European competitions.  So we are five points behind with a game in hand.  A win would take us up to ninth.  But Tottenham have a better goal difference (plus nine to our zero) so we need not only to win and keep winning,  but also we need to be knocking in the goals.

And of course we need Tottenham, Sheffield United, Crystal Palace and Everton to be slipping up.  Maybe we would be better of focusing on a another FA Cup win.

The alternative, as we have noted before, would be to allow the club to slip out of Europe for a season, and use the extra time afforded by not having to play those Europa games to rebuild the club – exactly as Liverpool did when they dropped out of Europe after coming 8th in 2015/16.  Indeed it is easy to forget that Liverpool has built this current record breaking season from 2016/17 outside of Europe, and using that as a platform.

Mind you they were also flagrantly breaking the child protection rules at the same time.

What do Arsenal have to do to win the league?

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