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.

Leicester v Southampton: the predictions and the psychology

It seems rather a long time since Leicester won the Premier League – and it may well be that they are now in a long period of decline after that extraordinary win.   There have been other surprise winners in the past – probably none so great at Manchester City in the 1930s who then, having won the league, were relegated the following season.

No such decline for Leicester but looking at their results in December and into this month things don’t look that good overall but with a couple of major exceptions…

01 Dec 2018 Leicester City v Watford W 2-0
05 Dec 2018 Fulham v Leicester City D 1-1
08 Dec 2018 Leicester City v Tottenham Hotspur L 0-2
15 Dec 2018 Crystal Palace v Leicester City L 1-0
18 Dec 2018 Leicester City v Manchester City* L 1-1 (1-3)
22 Dec 2018 Chelsea v Leicester City W 0-1
26 Dec 2018 Leicester City v Manchester City W 2-1
29 Dec 2018 Leicester City v Cardiff City L 0-1
01 Jan 2019 Everton v Leicester City W 0-1
06 Jan 2019 Newport County v Leicester City** L 2-1

*League Cup

**FA Cup

So taking all the games into account in this run that is five defeats four wins and a draw.  But what will (or at least should) worry the club are these two recent defeats to Cardiff and Newport County which have really taken the shine off wins over Manchester City and Chelsea.   Having reached the heights in those two games, they really should not have now slipped back down to the subsequent defeats.

Will they be able to pull themselves back up to the heights in facing Southampton?

In terms of home form, Leicester are mid-table.  Here’s the league table just taking into account home games.

Team P W D L F A GD
Pts
8 AFC Bournemouth 11 5 3 3 19 17 2 18
9 Everton 11 5 3 3 18 16 2 18
10 Watford 11 5 1 5 16 18 -2 16
11 Leicester City 10 4 2 4 12 10 2 14
12 West Ham United 11 4 2 5 16 18 -2 14
13 Wolverhampton Wanderers 11 4 2 5 12 15 -3 14

Just 12 goals scored at home in 10 games is not that inspiring, but at least they have kept a positive balance in terms of goals.

Southampton had a poor start to the season indeed but are pulling themselves back up a bit now.  Here’s the away table.

14 AFC Bournemouth 10 3 0 7 12 23 -11 9
15 Brighton and Hove Albion 11 2 2 7 9 18 -9 8
16 Southampton 11 2 2 7 10 21 -11 8
17 Burnley 11 2 2 7 9 22 -13 8
18 Cardiff City 10 1 2 7 6 18 -12 5
19 Huddersfield Town 10 1 2 7 8 21 -13 5
20 Fulham 11 0 2 9 7 28 -21 2

Two wins and two draws out of ten games, with 10 goals scored, which suggests they might well get one.  But the 21 conceded suggests that even Leicester might knock in a couple.

Southampton’s upturn started by ending Arsenal’s 22 match unbeaten run…

16 Dec 2018 Southampton v Arsenal W 3-2
22 Dec 2018 Huddersfield Town v Southampton W 1-3
27 Dec 2018 Southampton v West Ham United L 1-2
30 Dec 2018 Southampton v Manchester City L 1-3
02 Jan 2019 Chelsea v Southampton D 0-0
05 Jan 2019 Derby County v Southampton* D 2-2

*FA Cup

The club then dutifully saw off Huddersfield who are having such a poor run, but more might have been expected from the game against West Ham.  But they did hold Chelsea at the start of the year.

The psychology.

Having picked themselves up with two early wins Southampton had two defeats, but then put up the shutters for a goalless draw.  However each time they get some confidence they don’t fully build on it.

Leicester are not the team they were when they won the league but they have players on much higher salaries now, who are not always delivering.  But the wins against Chelsea, Man City and Everton will give their players the mental boost they need.

It still looks like a clear home win to me.  2-0, I’d say.

 

Chelsea v Southampton: the predictions

It is perhaps interesting to note that Chelsea have a home record this season similar to the much criticised Manchester United and worse than Arsenal, on whom a lot of opprobrium has been placed of late.  Here is the league table showing home games only…

Team P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Liverpool 10 9 1 0 27 3 24 28
2 Manchester City 10 9 0 1 35 9 26 27
3 Arsenal 10 7 2 1 20 9 11 23
4 Chelsea 10 6 3 1 19 8 11 21
5 Manchester United 10 6 3 1 21 13 8 21

Six wins, three draws and just one defeat of course is not bad but as the results of the top two in the table show, not enough to be challenging for a title.  And Chelsea have the lowest number of goals scored out of the top five at home.

Of course this hardly gives them too much to worry about in terms of Southampton’s away form…

13 Everton 10 2 3 5 13 15 -2 9
14 AFC Bournemouth 10 3 0 7 12 23 -11 9
15 Brighton and Hove Albion 10 2 1 7 7 16 -9 7
16 Southampton 10 2 1 7 10 21 -11 7
17 Cardiff City 10 1 2 7 6 18 -12 5
18 Huddersfield Town 10 1 2 7 8 21 -13 5
19 Burnley 10 1 2 7 7 21 -14 5
20 Fulham 10 0 2 8 6 24 -18 2

Just two wins in ten, averaging one goal a game scored and two conceded.

Chelsea in the league in December doesn’t reveal anything to worry about either – although those two defeats were both against clubs that we would not expect to see beating Chelsea – and one was at home and one away.  There is a weakness in there somewhere.

02 Dec 2018 Chelsea v Fulham W 2-0
05 Dec 2018 Wolverhampton Wanderers v Chelsea L 2-1
08 Dec 2018 Chelsea v Manchester City W 2-0
16 Dec 2018 Brighton and Hove Albion v Chelsea W 1-2
22 Dec 2018 Chelsea v Leicester City L 0-1
26 Dec 2018 Watford v Chelsea W 1-2
30 Dec 2018 Crystal Palace v Chelsea W 0-1

Perhaps the other thing to notice is that Chelsea are not knocking in the goals at fullest speed.  One game without a goal, and the rest are games with one and two goals scored.

Southampton in December have only played league games (Chelsea also had League Cup, Europa League and even a Trophy match), so in theory have less strain on the squad.

01 Dec 2018 Southampton v Manchester United D 2-2
05 Dec 2018 Tottenham Hotspur v Southampton L 3-1
08 Dec 2018 Cardiff City v Southampton L 1-0
16 Dec 2018 Southampton v Arsenal W 3-2
22 Dec 2018 Huddersfield Town v Southampton W 1-3
27 Dec 2018 Southampton v West Ham United L 1-2
30 Dec 2018 Southampton v Manchester City L 1-3

Southampton’s wins against Arsenal who have been running into trouble of late and Huddersfield who are deeper in the mire than Southampton both saw the club scoring three goals, and in only one match above did they fail to score.

Chelsea however are only conceding one at most, in recent games, so the best Southampton could hope for is a goalless draw, maybe just a 1-1, but otherwise it looks like a 2-0 win to Chelsea.

 

Southampton v Manchester City: the predictions

Starting as usual with our look at the home and away form of the two clubs, Southampton have only won one game at home

Club P W D L F A GD Pts
16 Fulham 9 2 3 4 11 19 -8 9
17 Southampton 9 1 5 3 10 14 -4 8
18 Newcastle United 10 2 1 7 7 15 -8 7
19 Burnley 9 2 1 6 10 20 -10 7
20 Huddersfield Town 10 1 2 7 4 14 -10 5

However that was just recently and it was against Arsenal.

Manchester City on the other hand we might expect to have an excellent away form and yet…

Club P W D L F A GD Pts
1 Tottenham Hotspur 11 9 0 2 25 12 13 27
2 Liverpool 10 8 2 0 21 5 16 26
3 Chelsea 9 6 1 2 18 8 10 19
4 Manchester City 9 5 2 2 16 6 10 17
5 Arsenal 9 4 3 2 21 16 5 15

In fact Manchester City’s away form is only slightly better than Arsenal’s this season, and yet last season Arsenal had a terrible away form, that was the prime cause of them not qualifying for the Champions League.

However, Manchester City have only conceded six goals away from home while Southampton have conceded over twice as many at home.  That would seem to indicate that this will be the moment that Manchester City’s wobble will be over.

Southampton have had two wins of late in the Premier League

24 Nov 2018 Fulham v Southampton L 3-2
01 Dec 2018 Southampton v Manchester United D 2-2
05 Dec 2018 Tottenham Hotspur v Southampton L 3-1
08 Dec 2018 Cardiff City v Southampton L 1-0
16 Dec 2018 Southampton v Arsenal W 3-2
22 Dec 2018 Huddersfield Town v Southampton W 1-3
27 Dec 2018 Southampton v West Ham United L 1-2

With that win over Arsenal and then against struggling Huddersfield it is possible that the club thought they were on the way, but a home defeat to West Ham put a dent in that.

December has not been the best of months for Manchester City however, at least when it comes to the League:

01 Dec 2018 Manchester City v AFC Bournemouth W 3-1 Premier League
04 Dec 2018 Watford v Manchester City W 1-2 Premier League
08 Dec 2018 Chelsea v Manchester City L 2-0 Premier League
15 Dec 2018 Manchester City v Everton W 3-1 Premier League
22 Dec 2018 Manchester City v Crystal Palace L 2-3 Premier League
26 Dec 2018 Leicester City v Manchester City L 2-1 Premier League

Three defeats in the league all season and they have all come in the last four games.  What is more in the last four games Manchester City have conceded eight goals.  That hardly seems many but that is over half of all the league goals they have conceded in 19 games.  It really has been an implosion.

But can Southampton make the most of this?

Southampton has scored 20 and let in 35 all season so far.  Now 35 goals conceded in 19 games is a little bit on the high side – only Cardiff, Burnley and Fulham have done worse.  As for goals scored, despite their recent woes Manchester City are the top scoring team with 51 in 1 games making 2.68 goals per game.

The last time Southampton beat Manchester City was on 1 May 2016 – the result was 4-2.  Since then there has been one draw on Man City’s own ground, and then four straight City victories.  The last on 4 November was a home win for Man City by six goals to one.   Could Southampton really reverse that?

The City bad run will finish sometime, and I suspect that finish will come with another Man City win in this game, to get them rolling along once more.  They might also do some serious buying in the transfer window to expand their squad, which in terms of the 25 is one of the smallest in the league.

Recent Predictions

 

Huddersfield v Southampton: the predictions

Huddersfield v Southampton – a battle to get away from the relegation area.

Huddersfield’s home record is the worst in the league

Pos Club P W D L F A GD Pts
15 Southampton 8 1 5 2 9 12 -3 8
16 Crystal Palace 8 2 2 4 5 8 -3 8
17 Fulham 8 2 2 4 10 18 -8 8
18 Burnley 8 2 1 5 9 15 -6 7
19 Newcastle United 9 2 0 7 7 15 -8 6
20 Huddersfield Town 9 1 2 6 3 11 -8 5

Worse even than Southampton who prior to last weekend had not won a game at home, but then went on to end Arsenal’s 22 game unbeaten run.

Southampton’s away form is just as problematic

16 Huddersfield Town 8 1 2 5 7 17 -10 5
17 Burnley 9 1 2 6 6 18 -12 5
18 Southampton 9 1 1 7 7 20 -13 4
19 Cardiff City 8 0 1 7 5 18 -13 1
20 Fulham 9 0 1 8 6 24 -18 1

So what do we make of this.  A home team that has picked up one win and two draws on its own patch, and an away team that has got one win and one draw.

A home team with a goal record of three for and 11 against against an away team with a record of seven for and 20 against.

Huddersfield really ought to start scoring a few more goals at home.

Huddersfield have been having a difficult season but they then had a little relief with three unbeaten matches – a long run for them.   But as they started to get carried away the bad times returned with four successive defeats.

Date Game Res Score Comp
05 Nov 2018 Huddersfield Town v Fulham W 1-0 Premier League
10 Nov 2018 Huddersfield Town v West Ham United D 1-1 Premier League
25 Nov 2018 Wolverhampton Wanderers v Huddersfield Town W 0-2 Premier League
01 Dec 2018 Huddersfield Town v Brighton and Hove Albion L 1-2 Premier League
04 Dec 2018 AFC Bournemouth v Huddersfield Town L 2-1 Premier League
08 Dec 2018 Arsenal v Huddersfield Town L 1-0 Premier League
15 Dec 2018 Huddersfield Town v Newcastle United L 0-1 Premier League
That victory over Arsenal brought to an end a very poor run for Southampton in the league
24 Nov 2018 Fulham v Southampton L 3-2 Premier League
01 Dec 2018 Southampton v Manchester United D 2-2 Premier League
05 Dec 2018 Tottenham Hotspur v Southampton L 3-1 Premier League
08 Dec 2018 Cardiff City v Southampton L 1-0 Premier League
16 Dec 2018 Southampton v Arsenal W 3-2 Premier League

But what is interesting is that leaving aside the Cardiff game, goals have been abounding.

I suspect the victory over Arsenal and the three goals scored will give Southampton a more gung ho attitude and they will go full on the attack.  If Huddersfield can find a way around Southampton’s defence which has already let in 20 goals in nine games they could well find they might get a point out of this.

But I would not go further than that.   A 2-2 draw perhaps simply because neither side know how to defend.