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…
|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…
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
|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…
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.
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