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January 2021
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Arsenal beat Southampton 6-1; watch the video…

By Bulldog Drummond

Arsenal as we all know, won their section of the Europa League group stage, winning every game against weaker opposition.  Southampton on the other hand had no such games to play.

They have of course played in the League Cup, (going out in the first match) and the Football League Trophy (one win and two defeats including a thumping great loss to Northampton Town which suggests a significant lack of strength in depth).  Otherwise it has been league games all the way – and they seem to have benefited from the smaller number of matches.

They started with two defeats, before going on a seven match unbeaten run before coming unstuck in a match against Manchester United, losing 2-3 at home.

In fact Southampton have played three games against members of last season’s top six, losing to Tottenham 2-5, drawing with Chelsea 3-3 and the losing to Manchester United.   Such results would suggest that Arsenal might have a chance if they can start playing like a top 6 club, instead of like a bottom six club, which is where they are at the moment.

Historically we don’t normally have too much of a problem with Southampton having beaten them 51 times, drawn 27 and lost 21.  Which means over half of the games between the two clubs have been won by Arsenal.

And indeed of late we have been doing particularly ok…

Date Game  Res Score Competition
28 Jan 2017 Southampton v Arsenal W 0-5 FA Cup
10 May 2017 Southampton v Arsenal W 0-2 Premier League
10 Dec 2017 Southampton v Arsenal D 1-1 Premier League
08 Apr 2018 Arsenal v Southampton W 3-2 Premier League
16 Dec 2018 Southampton v Arsenal L 3-2 Premier League
24 Feb 2019 Arsenal v Southampton W 2-0 Premier League
23 Nov 2019 Arsenal v Southampton D 2-2 Premier League
25 Jun 2020 Southampton v Arsenal W 0-2 Premier League

So recent history and overall records point our way, but these are not normal times and Arsenal are not playing in their normal way.

But there is one game we should particularly remember, while we are here, that of 7 May 2003.  It was the start of the 49.  We won 6-1 and Pires and Pennant each got a hattrick.  Here is the team for that day…

Taylor

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Luzhy Stepanovs Toure Luzhny

Parlour Pennant van Bronckhorst

Henry Kanu Pires

Here’s the video

Now the point of this remembrance is not just the fun of the game, but  the fact that Arsenal had just lost the chance of winning the league by losing 2-3 at home to Leeds on 4 May.  Up to this point we had a chance of taking the title as the league table before the game read

Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Manchester United 37 24 8 5 72 33 39 80
2 Arsenal 35 21 9 5 73 38 35 72
3 Newcastle United 37 21 5 11 61 46 15 68
but we blew it although obviously it was also Man U’s to lose.  However curiously in the final games of the season we played Southampton twice…
Date Game Res Score Competition
07 May 2003 Arsenal v Southampton W 6-1 Premier League
11 May 2003 Sunderland v Arsenal W 0-4 Premier League
17 May 2003 Arsenal v Southampton W 1-0 FA Cup Final

So having lost to Leeds we could not win the League, but we could still win the FA Cup.  As a warm up to the cup final a 6-1 thrashing of our opponents for that day was not a bad start, and then another four against Sunderland, followed by winning the FA Cup again against Southampton.

But back to the present day, one thing we should be aware of is that Southampton are not just living on the upturn in away form this season.  Last season they did particularly well away from home…

Away results only…

Pos Team P W D L F GA GD Pts
1 Liverpool 19 14 2 3 33 17 16 44
2 Manchester City 19 11 1 7 45 22 23 34
3 Southampton 19 9 4 6 30 25 5 31
4 Chelsea 19 9 3 7 39 38 1 30
5 Manchester United 19 8 5 6 26 19 7 29

So they have had a lot of practice at this away winning lark.

Clearly what Arsenal need to do is to remember that they are traditionally a top six club, and play that way.  So far this season we have beaten Liverpool twice (in the Shield and in the League Cup, both on penalties, and lost to them in the League).  We have lost to Manchester City and Tottenham (both away) and beaten Manchester United (away).  Now is the time to start turning on the results.  If we don’t, the 100 years in the top division could be coming to an end quite soon.

More later.

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