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Arsenal vs Southampton (1-1): Match Summary and Analysis

Another red card for Arsenal who yet again, failed to get the three points

17/12/2020

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Arsenal were in abysmal form coming into this game with losing their last four on the bounce. The Gunners saw them in 15th position, and bad results along with a lack of discipline were the frequently irritating issues for the fans. As for Southampton, they were on the back of two consecutive wins. A win could have top of the Premier League temporarily, at least.

A. Maitland-Niles came in for the suspended Hector Bellerin while Lacazette and Willian made way for N. Pépé and E. Nketiah. D. Ceballos Fernández came in for Xhaka, and skipper P. Aubameyang started from the left.

As for Southampton, they didn’t change a lot and kept their usual 4-4-2 intact, with C. Adams and D. Ings leading the line. T. Walcott started against his former club, where he spent 12 long years.

First-Half

Southampton started the game with high intensity as they usually do. Once again, Arsenal were needlessly trying to play out from the back, and the Saints had all the traps on. R. Hasenhüttl’s men kept getting in behind and kept stretching Arsenal to get more space for the onrushing midfielders, and Arsenal were struggling to deal with it.

Soon, Southampton’s goal came through a former Gunner Theo Walcott with a delightful dinked finish. Che Adams got the ball near the halfway line, and Gabriel came and stuck with him, which allowed Adams to turn and play a nicely weighted pass into the path of the goal scorer.

Arsenal did create a few chances as Dani Ceballos played some good vertical balls. Bukayo Saka was again the bright spot. He kept getting at the Southampton defenders and kept trying to create something. Tierney was also making forward runs and crossing a few balls, but that’s not what Aubameyang and Nketiah are good at.

Southampton had more of the ball with 58% in their favor. They had 6 shots with 2 on target while Arsenal had the same from 5. It was the defensive aspect of the game where Southampton looked great as they completed 9 interceptions along with 12 clearances despite having more of the ball. Southampton also won 10 aerial duels to Arsenal’s disappointing 5.

Second-Half

Arsenal started the second half much better. It was evident that Mikel Arteta had a go at a lot of those players. They began to get up the pitch and won a few second balls, which are always something that gets a team on the front foot. Southampton didn’t change as they were not massively troubled, but Arsenal did look improved from the restart.

Arsenal equalized seven minutes into the second half, and finally, Aubameyang and Arsenal scored from open play. Saka turned and dribbled well before playing into Nketiah’s feet. The youngster then touched a lovely pass into Aubameyang’s path, finally scoring open play.

A few minutes later, Gabriel was booked for time-wasting, and incredibly, just four minutes later, he made an unnecessary challenge and picked up a second yellow. Once again, Arsenal’s lack of discipline and lousy decision-making cost them big time.

Ralph Hasenhüttl reacted positively to Arsenal’s sending off by sending on Redmond and Djenepo. M. Arteta Amatriain responded by sending David Luiz replacing Nketiah and Willock for Ceballos. Towards the end, Arsenal were hanging on for a draw, and they got there. However, it’s just not good enough, and things have to change soon.

Fixture Details: Arsenal vs Southampton (16/12/2020)

See Also: Championship football predictions

Eye-Catching Performers

Bukayo Saka (Arsenal)

The impressive youngster once again was the heart of the few positive things that Arsenal did offensively. He was instrumental in Arsenal’s first goal, and his work rate against Southampton was second to none. B. Saka completed 1 key pass, 1 cross, 1 long ball, along with 2 successful dribbles. The 19-year-old completed 1 clearance along with 2 interceptions in another difficult match for the Gunners.

Che Adams (Southampton)

The signing that took a lot of time to settle has since been outstanding for the Saints. Adams had another eye-catching performance. He grabbed an assist for Walcott’s opening goal and worked hard without the ball as well. The 24-year-old has undoubtedly established himself as one of Hasenhüttl’s most trusted individuals.