By Bulldog Drummond
As we saw yesterday there are huge variations in the ways that referees treat different teams in the Premier League when it comes to tackles, fouls and yellow cards. Now it is time to focus just on this weekend’s opponents, Southampton, and their differences from Arsenal.
Those differences are modest but are largely in Arsenal’s favour for this weekend’s game. Compared with Southampton, Arsenal can put in more tackles before one is called as a foul, can put in more tackles before one is called as a yellow card, and are on a par with Southampton when it comes to how many fouls they can get away with before a yellow card is pulled out.
|Tackles per foul||Tackles per yellow||Fouls per yellow|
So with no obvious bias there, let’s check the home and away records. And here again we see a balance between the clubs – except for the fact that Arsenal have played two fewer away games than Southampton have played home games. Because of this I’ve added a points per game (PPG ) column to allow for the difference in games played.
So an advantage to Arsenal based on this season’s results but not much of one.
In terms of the head to head Arsenal have won 53 of the games against Southampton, drawn 28 and lost 22, although as the home and away results above show that historic difference between the two sides has now been set aside a little this season.
However, looking at the last ten league games between the two sides we can see there has only been one Southampton victory which is encouraging.
|10 May 2017||Southampton v Arsenal||W||0-2|
|10 Dec 2017||Southampton v Arsenal||D||1-1|
|08 Apr 2018||Arsenal v Southampton||W||3-2|
|16 Dec 2018||Southampton v Arsenal||L||3-2|
|24 Feb 2019||Arsenal v Southampton||W||2-0|
|23 Nov 2019||Arsenal v Southampton||D||2-2|
|25 Jun 2020||Southampton v Arsenal||W||0-2|
|16 Dec 2020||Arsenal v Southampton||D||1-1|
|26 Jan 2021||Southampton v Arsenal||W||1-3|
|11 Dec 2021||Arsenal v Southampton||W||3-0|
This suggests that the dark days of 2014 to 2016 when in a run of seven league and cup games we only won two matches against Southampton, are well and truly behind us.
And although Southampton sit just below mid table in the league their recent form has been pretty awful.
|5 Mar 2022||Aston Villa v Southampton||L||4-0||Premier League|
|10 Mar 2022||Southampton v Newcastle United||L||1-2||Premier League|
|13 Mar 2022||Southampton v Watford||L||1-2||Premier League|
|20 Mar 2022||Southampton v Manchester City||L||1-4||FA Cup|
|2 Apr 2022||Leeds United v Southampton||D||1-1||Premier League|
|9 Apr 2022||Southampton v Chelsea||L||0-6||Premier League|
Their overall position in the table however does not bring any serious concern about relegation, but a win against Arsenal could lift them into the top half of the table.
|11||Brighton and Hove Albion||31||8||13||10||28||37||-9||37|
Between 2013/14 and 2016/17 Southampton were looking like a club secure in the Premier League mid-table coming between sixth and eighth in the league each year.
But then their rather extraordinary habit of changing managers virtually every season undermined them and they have since finished between 11th and 17th in the last four seasons.
Indeed it is interesting that there are multiple examples of clubs changing managers over and over again and then suffering as a result. And this managerial merry-go-round really does need a mention as Southampton have had five managers in the past six seasons although Ralph Hasenhüttl does look to have steadied the ship a little by lasting since 2018, having come from Leipzig.
Indeed we might remember that his first ever win as Southampton’s manager was on 16 December 2018 in a 3–2 win over Arsenal which ended our 22-match unbeaten run.
However what Southampton have done is found themselves a manager that they can hang on to (or want to hang on to) for more than a season or so. A list of their recent managers shows how things have been going: seven managers in five years up to 2018! Still if you must appoint Mark Hughes…
Clearly their top manager was Nigel Adkins, who interestingly has not worked as a manager since being kicked out of Charlton in 2021 after a poor start. Ralph Hasenhüttl has however been kept longer than anyone since Chris Nichol who left in 1991.
By comparison Arsenal’s managerial win percentages etc are
Mr Wenger was twice as successful as Mauricio Pellegrino in terms of wins. What a surprise.