Southampton v Arsenal in the league: the team news

By bulldog Drummond

Of course we can always make something positive out of a big of a negative feel that is in the air, and so in the spirit of uplift it can be said that Arsenal have won four of their last five Premier League games, conceding just one goal in the process.  Indeed the goal conceded in the FA Cup was the first goal in almost eight and half hours they have let in.

If this parsimonious approach to defending continues we could go five games without conceding in the League for the first time since 2006.

Or rather we could if the BBC website figures accorded with my data, but I can’t find that run in 2006.  Still I am sure it is me that’s wrong, not the BBC.

But still the first part is true…


Date Game Res Score Competition
29 Dec 2020 Brighton and Hove Albion v Arsenal W 0-1 Premier League
2 Jan 2021 West Bromwich Albion v Arsenal W 0-4 Premier League
14 Jan 2021 Arsenal v Crystal Palace D 0-0 Premier League
18 Jan 2021 Arsenal v Newcastle United W 3-0 Premier League

However the BBC have caught up with our view that our defence is finally getting itself fully together pointing out that, “Only Aston Villa and Manchester City have conceded fewer away league goals than Arsenal’s eight this season.”

Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Manchester City 8 4 3 1 10 6 4 15
2 Aston Villa 9 5 1 3 14 7 7 16
3 Tottenham Hotspur 9 5 3 1 19 8 11 18
4 Arsenal 9 4 1 4 11 8 3 13

The BBC do tell us however the “The Gunners are looking to win three consecutive away Premier League games without conceding for the first time since 2013.”

Except they refrain from giving us the scores which were three cases of 0-1 wins against Fulham, QPR and Newcastle.  We really could do with something a bit better.

So the good news is not quite as inspiring as it might sound.   Indeed the last time we only had 23 goals after the first 19 games was 1998/9.

Here’s the league table for Christmas Day 1998

Pos Team Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts
1 Aston Villa 18 10 6 2 28 17 11 36
2 Chelsea 18 8 9 1 29 17 12 33
3 Manchester United 18 8 7 3 36 23 13 31
4 Middlesbrough 18 7 9 2 30 21 9 30
5 Leeds United 18 7 8 3 29 17 12 29
6 Arsenal 18 7 8 3 20 11 9 29

We actually finished the league that season in second place.

So onto the lineup and today’s picture is of the man who is clearly the first name on the teamsheet…

As for the rest of the team, Sports Mole give us


Bellerin, Holding, Gabriel, Tierney;

Xhaka, Partey;

Saka, Smith Rowe, Martinelli;



The Standard doesn’t give us a team but predicts a 1-1 draw.

Pain in the Arsenal live up to their name by making us flip through three pages in order to read the line up.  So, to avoid that, here it is…

Bernd Leno

Hector Bellerin     Rob Holding     David Luiz     Kieran Tierney

Thomas Partey     Granit Xhaka

Emile Smith Rowe

Bukayo Saka      Alexandre Lacazette


The Hard Tackle offers up


Bellerin, Holding, Luiz, Tierney;

Xhaka, Partey;

Saka, Smith Rowe, Martinelli;



which when it comes down to it is the same as Sports Mole.

Just Arsenal however goes for a change in the back four…


Bellerin    Holding    Luiz    Soares

Partey    Xhaka

Saka    Smith Rowe    Martinelli



Everyone else is sticking pretty close to these lineups and certainly with no Aubameyang the team is pretty much picking itself.

We are top of the league for games played, so we could be getting ahead of ourselves but…

Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Manchester United 19 12 4 3 36 25 11 40
2 Manchester City 18 11 5 2 31 13 18 38
3 Leicester City 19 12 2 5 35 21 14 38
4 Liverpool 19 9 7 3 37 22 15 34
5 Tottenham Hotspur 18 9 6 3 33 17 16 33
6 Everton 17 10 2 5 28 21 7 32
7 West Ham United 19 9 5 5 27 22 5 32
8 Aston Villa 17 9 2 6 31 18 13 29
9 Chelsea 19 8 5 6 33 23 10 29
10 Southampton 18 8 5 5 26 21 5 29
11 Arsenal 19 8 3 8 23 19 4 27

A win could take us up to 8th and leave us within a win of a “not a trophy” spot.    Although I am wondering, as 4th was not a trophy, then what, two managers later, is 11th?

28 Replies to “Southampton v Arsenal in the league: the team news”

  1. Inches…Lacazette should have scored…the other end…they do 🙁 standing still…

  2. I’ve seen the official Arsenal 20 players for the club tonight’s PL away match to Southampton. And I will say the Arsenal starts and bench for the match are quite very strong and very strong enough to beat Southampton. But if the Arsenal starting XI and Subs who Mikel Arteta will later introduce in the match play to their full strengthb aindividually and as a team. Which I believe the Gunners will play to in the match to beat the Saints tonight and beat them.

    Aubameyang is absent again tonight for Arsenal. But I believe the Arsenal team for the match without him will more than cope with the playing of the match to beat Southampton however difficult the playing of the could turnout to be, Arsenal will prevail in it with a win.

  3. The cheating of Friend and his PGMIOL VAR bastards goes on. The foul on Laca by Stevens was a yellow but Friend ignores the card. Soon after Laca fouled in the box but Arsenal players feel a slight touch while the official sees no foul. Other teams are deemed to have won a foul.

  4. It is really shameful how Friend was quick to card Bellerin but just does not card a Southampton player despite a GBH attempt on the field of play.

    Saka was kicked deliberately by Armstrong and only a foul given – where is the card??? it is past Christmas and New Year but these Arsenal opponents only get cards for Valentines day.

  5. Worse fouls than Bellerin’s of course either not given or certainly no cards. Kevin Friend used to be the most reasonable of referees but that all changed about three tears ago. Now he’s as bad as the rest of them

  6. The muppet that BT use to assess the officiating says that Laca felt a slight touch and threw himself to the floor – well a slight touch was all it took to give several penalties to teams in favour.

    The stamp on Lacas foot was a red card from an honest VAR but there is no honesty in the EPL.

  7. Many offsides recorded against Arsenal in the 1st half after a through ball pass is received by the Arsenal front men should stop i the 2nd half from continuing. The Arsenal front trio should time their runs in the opponent area perfectly when receiving those through ball pass from the mates playing behind then ant utilise those through ball pass beautifully in the game for Arsenal by increasing the tally.

  8. How many times have I seen players sauntering off the pitch when substituted?…for Arsenal that means a yellow

  9. Bizarre…Pepe was trying to waste time to let Emile get off…

    Lacazette…really set up by a nice crossfield pass by Cedric…he’s done that a number of times today. 😉

  10. Fried books Pepe for not leaving the pitch quickly but ESR is down injured and Pepe knows that. Friend doesn’t care because he wants brownie points from Riley. ESR changed for Willian.

    Does Friend rescind the card from Pepe? not in this game!!

    The resultant change results in Arsenal 3 rd Goal!!!! This time it Saka to Laca.

  11. I can see why Saka was MOTM but personally I would of given it to Soares who put in a tremendous display.

    Good overall performance and well deserved 3 points.

  12. Absolutely appalling refereeing! Players could well have suffered serious injury from the type of tackling that Friend allowed Southampton to employ. UA predicted what would happen from the foul analysis and lo and behold this is exactly what we see. Can one continue to believe that the Premier League is the best in the world, officiated by the best trained referees? I cannot! Despite Arsenal winning, I do not want to watch more of this type of performance by the PGMO nor from the VAR accomplices also from the PGMO. When will some official media observer have the guts to research exactly what is actually happening on the playing field rather than continually trying to cosy up to the powers that be!!!!!!! Disgraceful

  13. How the hell does Friend get away with the Pepe booking. We all know it would be rescinded if it was any other team but let’s just wait for the PGMO and or the friends in the media to say the rules don’t allow it to be taken back. Disgrace all round.

  14. The management talk Friend seems to have been given a few years ago certainly changed him on a permanent basis. He has certainly mastered the ‘phantom foul’ trick both to relieve pressure when we are attacking and also to give an attacking advantage to our opponents.

    Fortunately we were too good today and put in a tremendous team performance despite the performances of Luiz and Willian who were both pretty slipshod at times.

  15. We won, which is great!!!
    But again the refereeing was farcical tonight. How can anyone in their right mind go around pretending to be a professional referee and making the decisions Friend did?
    One day there will be a big story and a lot of referees who are ashamed of themselves for behaving like they have for so many years. They are a disgrace! They ignore dangerous tackles and injuries to our players, they distort the results and final league positions. They do everything except their jobs. Shame on them! They have no right to call themselves professional
    referees. How many players have we lost to injury over these last 17 years because referees turned a blind eye on vicious tackles against us? How many points did United get given in the noughties and how many did we have taken by bent referees? At least two titles worth. People wouldn’t believe it but we have seen it with our own eyes and the stats are there and incontrovertible. We have the video clips as well. 10’s of thousands of hours of them.
    It’s time for the heads of Riley’s dictatorship pigmob to be arrested and put on trial for perverting the course of justice. Can we have an actual transparent organisation in charge of refereeing and have done with this medieval bunch of wonkers once and for all, please? How many referees are brave enough to call it out and expose their wicked pigmob overlords? If a few of them met and discussed it and all declared the corruption together, they could be protected and then go on to become a part of an new, unbiased refereeing organisation. You can bet that most of them are ashamed of how they are coerced into Mike Riley’s wicked scheming. I mean wtf is happening. This is 2020, not 1415.

  16. The primary thing seriously sort after to get in this PL match encounter tonight between Southampton and Arsenal is the win in the match that gives all the 3 points at stake in it.

    And the Gunners vigorously pursued getting these 3 points to just do that by beating the Saints at their backyard and collect the maximum 3 points that were at stake in the match for collection.

    For this remarkable success that was achieved by the Gunners over the Saints tonight at away, I will say, Congratulations to all the Arsenal faithful and more grease to our elbows
    I am happy and delighted for this PL match win that the Gunners have gotten after hardworking over the the Saints this night.

    I think the PGMO referee Kevin Friend who officiated as the match centrereferee in match tonight used to be a friendly Arsenal match referee in the Pl. But over the time, he has changed to join the bandwagon of the anti-Arsenal match referee in the PL. However, L don’t know if the big and minor decisions that he took in the match tonight was voluntarily taken ny him or it was a PGMO induced decision making kind that he adhered to.

    Shall us all the Arsenals rise up to our feet to say a big THANK YOU TO THE LIVING GOD for the PL match win success he gave us to over the Saints even at their backyard tonight. Glory Be To The Living God In The Highest Of Heaven. Amen!

  17. Was Pepe booked for injuring Emile?

    Southampton were penalised for committing twice as many fouls as Arsenal (ignoring the fouls they weren’t penalised for). Arsenal received twice as many yellow cards as Southampton.

    Kevin friend is a disgrace, and has no right to call himself a referee.

  18. I think the Bellerin yellow card was correct , he didn’t get anywhere near the ball and took the Southampton player out and again in my opinion not nastily . If this action was done against an Arsenal player we would all be saying it was a definite yellow card where it took place . Did read on the BBC that the official foul count was Southampton 11 Arsenal 6 outcome as predicted in pre match team news by Bulldog

  19. @ Steve Vallins

    I agree, whilst I thought Bellerin genuinely attempted to get the ball, it was late and deserved a yellow. What I’m angry about is that I saw the opposition commit 6 or 7 bookable offences, several worse than Bellerin’s) and receive only one yellow card.

  20. Steve Vallins

    I have no issue with the Bellerin card. Even Pepes was possibly merited within the ‘the letter of the law’ as he ambled off, although of course as events played out it should be rescinded. Cant see that happening, but we’ll have to see.

    All those foul throws we get pulled up on. Every one was probably correctly called by ‘the letter of the law’.

    But as many have pointed out we’ve all seen loads of foul throws by others that haven’t been called.

    And that’s what’s at the heart of it.

    We seem to be held to ‘the letter of the law’ far more often than others.

    Where others get a warning for their first ‘bookable’, we often get a card.

    Where Xhala will get a card for persistent fouling after his 3rd transgression others get to their 4th or 5th.

    It’s not an exact science but you get the picture. All those little nuances in how we are refereed result in us getting a card every 4 fouls (ish) whilst others need to commit 9 (ish) before they get a card.

    I’ve banged on about this for years. It’s all to do with the subjective nature of football that enables the referees to cheat like this without actually cheating.

    Lets say within a match you have 20 subjective 50/50 calls. If a referee is applying the laws of the game with complete impartiality 10 decisions should go our way and 10 not. If we get a soft card and our opponent gets away with one, fine, as long as it balances out and WE get away with one and THEY get a soft card. If only !

    But as we see, time after time after time, it very rarely works out like that. So often we seem to be held to a far higher level of account than our opponent. Last nights performance was a perfect example of a referee cheating without cheating. There were no leg breakers. No rotational fouling that I saw. But I think it is undeniable that Friend applied the Laws of the Game in 2 completely different ways according to which team he was judging.

    This discrepancy in the application of the laws of the game manifests itself in penalty calls as well as cards and has been thus for years now, as we have shown on here many times.

    Despite the subtlety of how it is done, it is cheating, and we are being cheated.

    But the the problem is, despite stacks of ‘evidence’ supporting this thesis, even our own fans come on here denying this bias exists. And as for hoping for any support from the media. Don’t make me laugh.

    I bet they thought Friend played a blinder last night.

    What a sad state of affairs it is that we as a team have to adjust how we approach a match to allow for refereeing bias. To allow for cheating referees.

  21. @Nitram
    I’ve always agreed on your points of how we are refereed , it just seems if they can they will with no leeway when it comes to decisions against us
    Maybe not relevant , a few seasons ago the Chelsea v Sp##s game refereed by Clattenberg the game was a disgrace and how both teams had 11 men on the pitch at the end of the game was a miracle , the FA if my memory is correct did nothing
    We are the only team to have points deducted (2) and MU (1) which proves a point that we are looked at differently by the FA considering how many misdemeanours other clubs have done over the years .

  22. Steve

    I remember it well. And it is very relevant.

    As I have said many times, yes of course once in a while we ‘get away with one’ etc etc.

    But this is, as you know, not about any one particular incident, or even one particular match, although as you point out with the Chelsea Spurs game, and we could add the infamous Riley performance at OT, or the fairly recent FA Cup final against Hull City I think it was, when we had 3 or 4 strong penalty claims waived away, (followed by accusations of diving if you can believe that) there are some extreme examples that highlight our point perfectly. No, this is about a chronic situation in which with have been consistently held to different standards, and refereed in a different manner, to the virtual exclusion of all others.

    What’s more it is entirely ignored, or even encouraged by the media. Take the current case in hand regarding foul throws.

    Us being singled out as we are is ridiculous, especially given the numerous foul throws by others we have all seen going unpunished, and logic alone says it is beyond reason to believe we could possibly be that much worse than everybody else.

    But what do we get from the media? Is anyone in the media picking up on this and actually looking at all these foul throws going un punished and asking why only Arsenal are being picked up on it? Of course not. All we get is blanket acceptance that in fact it is ONLY Arsenal that cant take a throw in, and of course the referees are entirely justified in their actions.

    Although in the great scheme of things foul throws are a fairly minor incident, this is a classic example of how this bias against us works.

    -The referees demonstrate a clear bias against Arsenal.

    -The media don’t question it at all.

    -Some even go as far as to support it.

    -Arsenal get ridiculed for not even being able to take a throw in properly.


  23. It is such a shame that only Arsenal in over a hundred years can go a whole season undefeated.

    It sticks in the throats of these cheating sons of bitches that call themselves sporting and have the gall to cloak themselves under Professional Game Match Officials and then to make their shroud Limited because they do not have the courage to face the Law as individuals.

    Every media man or woman that has cowered under the FA and not had the courage to call out the cheating that is now ruining our national game with the corrupt officiating is aiding and abetting the ruin.
    Don’t blame the pandemic for killing indiscriminately when the discrimination is slumbering in your bank accounts and feeding your families. Your judgement will come before those who know the truth.

    Arsenal will be the football club that has shone in its match play and in its simplicity that has kept it in the top level for more than 100 years……….with the occasional foul throw.

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