Arsenal v Southampton: the predictions, the form and the psychology

It was a defeat away to Southampton that started Arsenal on a downward turn earlier in the season after a very long unbeaten run.  But Arsenal’s away form is nothing like their home form, and so they should feel confident.

However Southampton will enter the game knowing that they did give Arsenal a rough time of it at their home ground.  So who will come out on top?

Arsenal’s home form remains very positive

Home games only…

P Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Manchester City 14 13 0 1 49 11 38 39
2 Liverpool 13 11 2 0 35 7 28 35
3 Arsenal 13 10 2 1 28 11 17 32
4 Chelsea 13 8 4 1 26 9 17 28
5 Tottenham Hotspur 13 9 0 4 24 12 12 27
6 Manchester United 12 7 4 1 25 16 9 25

Whereas Southampton’s away form is anything but positive…

Away games only

15 Southampton 13 3 3 7 13 23 -10 12
16 AFC Bournemouth 13 3 0 10 12 30 -18 9
17 Brighton and Hove 13 2 2 9 12 24 -12 8
18 Cardiff City 13 2 2 9 9 24 -15 8
19 Huddersfield Town 12 1 3 8 8 26 -18 6
20 Fulham 13 0 2 11 8 32 -24 2

The goal difference of the two clubs looks significant as well: Arsenal have scored 28 and conceded 11 at home, while Southampton have scored 13 and conceded 23 away.   Just on average scores Arsenal should win 2-1, but if we take into account that Arsenal do have a powerful forward line who can exploit the situation against lower positioned clubs, it would be foolish to bank against Arsenal getting three or four.  One might also look out for a couple of goals coming in the last ten minutes of the game as Southampton wilt.

Of course, Arsenal’s form this year has not been what was hoped for by Arsenal fans…

01 Jan 2019 Arsenal v Fulham W 4-1
05 Jan 2019 Blackpool v Arsenal FAC W 0-3
12 Jan 2019 West Ham United v Arsenal L 1-0
19 Jan 2019 Arsenal v Chelsea W 2-0
25 Jan 2019 Arsenal v Manchester United FAC L 1-3
29 Jan 2019 Arsenal v Cardiff City W 2-1
03 Feb 2019 Manchester City v Arsenal L 3-1
09 Feb 2019 Huddersfield Town v Arsenal W 1-2
14 Feb 2019 FC BATE Borisov v Arsenal Europa L 1-0

But although the figures for this year read five wins and four defeats, only one of those defeats was at Arsenal Stadium.

Southampton from the start of the year…

02 Jan 2019 Chelsea v Southampton D 0-0
05 Jan 2019 Derby County v Southampton FAC D 2-2
12 Jan 2019 Leicester City v Southampton W 1-2
16 Jan 2019 Southampton v Derby County FAC L 2-2 (3-5)
19 Jan 2019 Southampton v Everton W 2-1
30 Jan 2019 Southampton v Crystal Palace D 1-1
02 Feb 2019 Burnley v Southampton D 1-1
09 Feb 2019 Southampton v Cardiff City L 1-2

Of the eight matches, four were away from home, resulting in one win, three draws and no defeats.   And this is where Southampton will start to find confidence.  Their last away defeat was back on 8 December, away to Cardiff, and for them a draw would be a victory.

But looking at the January scores Southampton have never scored more than two goals in a match, and although Arsenal’s defence is widely noted to be not of the best, Southampton probably recognise that knocking in two past Arsenal in London is going to be tough.

It can happen that a team will put two or more past Arsenal on their own patch – but it is rare…

Date Match Res Score Competition
12 Aug 2018 Arsenal v Manchester City L 0-2 Premier League
20 Sep 2018 Arsenal v Vorskla Poltava W 4-2 Europa League
02 Dec 2018 Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur W 4-2 Premier League
19 Dec 2018 Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur L 0-2 League Cup
25 Jan 2019 Arsenal v Manchester United L 1-3 FA Cup

It has happened five times this season that teams have scored two or more goals against Arsenal at the Arsenal Stadium.  Of those five Arsenal still won the match twice.  The other three games were against top six clubs, which suggests Southampton are going to have to have a wonderful day, while Arsenal will have very much an off day for Southampton to get anything from the game…

And Arsenal have another incentive as the league table shows

P Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Manchester City 27 21 2 4 74 20 54 65
2 Liverpool 26 20 5 1 59 15 44 65
3 Tottenham Hotspur 26 20 0 6 54 25 29 60
4 Manchester United 26 15 6 5 52 35 17 51
5 Arsenal 26 15 5 6 53 37 16 50
6 Chelsea 26 15 5 6 45 29 16 50

Three clubs are chasing fourth position in the league, and there is only one point and one goal between them.  No one wants to slip up, and extra goals really could count at the end of the season.

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