Arsenal 3-3 Southampton – Disastrous start sets up thrilling last ten minutes

Saints shock Arsenal at the Emirates

I guess it is confirmed that the PL title race will be decided next week. Anyway, what a game Arsenal vs. Southampton was! The Saints were buzzing to be in the headlines as the team to end Arsenal’s title charge, but Arsenal didn’t have any of it.

It only took Southampton 28 seconds to get the ball in the back of the net after the Saints Alcaraz took advantage of a Ramsdale mistake; Ramsdale gifted him the ball to slot in as he was trying to play from the back. Arsenal’s poor start to the game again saw them concede minutes later, in the 14th minute, as their once-fan favourite Theo Walcott slotted in the ball from a defence-splitting ball from Alcaraz.

Luckily, Martinelli gave Arsenal hope for a comeback in the 20th minute by finishing Saka’s cross.

In the second half, while Arsenal were keen on getting an equaliser, Duje Caleta Car headed in the ball for Southampton’s third of the game.

By the 85th minute, Arsenal were still losing 3-1, but Odegaard scored Arsenal’s second in the 88th minute after a nice interchange with White, before Saka took advantage of the Saints failure to clear the ball to score at the dead end and make sure Arsenal left with a point.

Arsenal had a chance to extend their lead at the top of the table to seven points even if they’d played two more games. However, they find themselves five points ahead of Manchester City, who have played two fewer games. All Man City needs to do to win the league is win their two games at hand and match Arsenal’s results. However, for Arsenal, Arteta needs to have a grand idea of how to leave the Etihad with three points next week, as that’s the only way they can still be at the top of the table if City win their games at hand and they just match the Citizens’ results.

So can Arsenal beat City next week? They have no choice…….

Daniel O


Arteta proud of our comeback after Arsenal 3-3 Southampton

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  1. Did Xhaka wound up Southampton supporters? Scored three own goals? Last three games conceded 7 goals.

    All because of Xhaka hot headedness and immaturity.

    The ones I am addressing and you all know who you are if you are decent people an apology should be in order.

      1. It is unlikely although not concluded that we are not winning the title but still this season has been an immense success and valuable experience gained for players and the manager. Things are only going to get better. We are on our way up not down.

        Xhaka and older players won’t be here for long to come but they have already passed valuable experience to the young ones.

    1. Oh do grow up. Xhaka lost his head at a key juncture, yet again. Yes he’s had his best season for the club, but please try and be mature an accept that against liverpool he once again did something stupid and costly. Or alternately carry on with the tiresome one man crusade to smear anyone who disagrees with you that xhaka is beyond reproach. As said back then, no xhaka was not responsible for arsenals collapse. No he didnt cause team mates to play badly. But yes, he did break the teams momentum by overreacting (as he often does) to a challenge. Just deal with it.

      1. What about West Ham and Southampton games? There have been individual errors that have probably cost us the title but I haven’t seen you or your fellow Xhaka haters raise a voice.

        Is it a mistake only when it is Xhaka?

        You all crucified Granit for no fault whatsoever except the one you made up yet you are silence for the subsequent games which have been worse.

        Am I wrong to say you are just Xhaka hater?

        1. HH “haters”? Or simply non Xhaka raters? (which is the truth) Those words are very different things to those who prefer to use language properly.

  2. Word’s can’t describe how I felt after the game and still feeling right now. Let’s see how Wednesday’s game goes.

  3. I think the only way to beat Man City is by using another tactic. I believe Guardiola is very familiar with our inverted-LB setup, so we should surprise him with a more counter-attacking scheme

    Probably use two conventional attacking wingbacks, to get a lot of corners at the Etihad. I don’t think we can score from open play, but we might get lucky in set-pieces

    1. We should set up 3-2-3-2 formation
      With White, Saliba and Tierney as back 3
      Zinchenko and Partey as CM
      We can also use Jorginho and Zinchenko or Jorginho with Partey..
      Arteta has such a versatile group of players who can play in various different formations…
      Saka and Martinelli on wings
      Odegaard as number 10
      And Trossard and Jesus and CFs
      We so many versatile players that we can adopt this formation very easily..
      We can also put White in midfield along with Zinchenko once Saliba is back
      Or we can simply play, White, Saliba and Gabriel as CBs
      Also with this formation our forwards can interchange as Trossard, Jesus and Martinelli starting all together…

      1. We have actually been playing with a variant of that formation

        I’d prefer to keep it simple at the Etihad, by using 3-4-3 to get more corners

        Tierney is perfect to play attacking LWB in that formation, unfortunately we don’t have a pacey conventional RWB

      2. 3 1 at the back Kedar with Zinchenko playing the role in front, would also work. Although i wasn’t impressed with Zinchenko last teo games at all.

  4. So title is all but over..
    Yet another collapse…
    Last year it was for top 4
    This year for title..
    We all knew this collapse started at Anfield but nobody was brave to accept it then..
    But now it’s evident that it’s a collapse…
    At least yesterday we can’t say Areta didn’t have depth…
    Arteta had ESR, Trossard, yet he started with Viera who had nightmare season..
    Such a shocker..
    Arteta could have start with Trossard…
    It was evident that immediate rise in quality when Trossard was introduced..
    He had so many options..
    Arteta could have moved Zinchenko in Midfield and slot Tierney as LB
    He could have opted to go back to 3 when we were ahead against Liverpool and West Ham just to see out the game with White, Gabriel and Tierney as back 3
    Zinchenko or Jorginho to partner Partey
    Saka and Martinelli on wings
    Odegaard as number 10 and Trossard and Jesus CF
    The group of players which we have, Arteta can tweak or twist any tactic..
    But not sure what’s wrong with him and players…
    Now just hope we are maintaining our respect next week against City..
    Hope City is not destroying us..

    1. Arteta still has a whole lot to learn.
      A modern coach needs be more flexible and adaptive to changes. In-game tactical dynamism is a major marker for success these days.
      Being too rigid in all aspects of the game, be it selection or style of play only gets you this far.

      Even the likes of Pep has shown considerable dynamism this season.

      Arteta still has a whole lot learn.

    2. This game was the worst example of poor selections/management by Arteta this season.
      What have ESR, Tierney and Jorginho done to Arteta to be “sent to Coventry”. Viera is preferred for selection, yet has has only had one decent game.
      Arsenal don’t fail to win from a position of 2-0 up, but against bottom club Southampton are 2-0 down after 15 minutes. Dont they coach fundamentals like don’t play the ball short from the goal or across the goal mouth or into tightly contested areas in your defensive third? Why does Zinchenko continue to be selected at RB when he is defensively poor? He was beaten badly for the second and third Southampton goals, yet Holding will be made the scapegoat.
      Now a run of three poor performances with so much at stake. It is soul destroying after such a positive season after a long wait for success.

      1. @OG
        I feel your pain just like mine last night.
        First and foremost Arteta has to show maturity.
        We should not go to City trying to win it but make sure we are hard to beat as there are still 6 games to go. If we go gung ho like we did against Southampton, we will loose and the title race is over.
        If we get a draw against City, we still have a chance of winning it albeit a slim one as I am reasonably confident that Man City will not win all their games.

        My view is a 3-5-2 formation as below:-
        3: Holding, Gabriel, Tierney
        5: White, Jorginho/ESR, Odegaard/Trossard, Partey, Zhinchenko
        2: Saka, Martinelli

        Subs to be brought on at 60th minute and that includes Jesus or Nketiah to effect the game.

  5. I doubt Xhaka would have changed that performance. We are stuck with him this season, but I consider Smith Rowe to be a better option and we need to phase him out next year with players in the Canciedo, Rice, Bellingham mould if Arsenal are to make another serious title challenge. Today’s performance showed how much we really, really missed Saliba, needed Tierney at wing back, how fragile Partey can be mentally, how much we have overrated Jesus as a goal scorer and also for all his heart and endeavour Ben White is not a wingback . Next year I worry about the deadwood,. We will have Elneny, Jorginho, and Xhaka floating around and Partey one year older. As usual we are three players away from being up there. Having said that, I’m not convinced the fat lady as sung yet and will stick my neck out to predict an Arsenal win at the Etihad.

    1. Joe.S your obsession/fixation on Xhaka is something else. You mention him in all your posts. Even in a match where he didn’t play,somehow you manage to drag his name into it. It is a team sport and just about everyone in this current Arsenal side has made mistakes that cost us points. Pointing fingers at/scapegoating certain players we may not like doean’t help the team. They all have to take responsibility,including the coaching staff.

      1. I can’t help the team Onyango. They can only do it themselves regardless of my good or bad will. I actually want this guy to leave Arsenal with a league title, as a reward for his loyalty but have never enjoyed watching him play and have always associated him with the failures of the past three managers who have never been able to look beyond him. Why Arteta is sacrificing Smith Rowe’s career in favour of this guy is beyond me. Xhaka does a job. When he does it well he is a decent player but never a great one and Arsenal are crying out for a world class midfielder.

        1. Unfortunately both emery and arteta had to pick up the pieces of ten years of failure to address key issues. What’s more galling is that the club had opportunities to address these, and didn’t do so. Central defence, defensive midfield and a defensive plan when out of possession have been an issue since Pat Rice retired. Wenger was a brilliant attacking strategist, but once all the old guard had moved on (brady) or retired (Howe, Rice) the defensive side of our game fell apart. The likes of Vidal (we weren’t prepared to meet his wage demands – then blew a fortune on pepe a few years later) were allowed to slip through our fingers and reliance on the likes of xhaka, a willing trier with a bad temper, became the norm. Its staggering how many absolutely dismal defenders the side has got through since Sol left, including some who’s names should not be spoken out loud lest evil befall us.

          This is why the club, quite rightly, have stuck with Arteta. It’s an acknowledgement that he has a mountain to climb to sort that defensive triangle out, and theres still a long way to go. The only problem is of course, is the game (even according to FIFA) isnt exactly overflowing with top talent at the moment. Arteta therefore has to be wise in who he chooses to bring in to get us back where want to be.

        2. Joe.S I don’t thing Arteta is sacrificing ESR for Xhaka. For one,playing Viera in the left CM role and Odegaard previously, shows Arteta prefers a left-footed player in that role,which Smith isn’t.
          Secondly,there’s a lot of defensive work that Xhaka does that most of us harldly give him credit for. The fact that the inverted LB tactic requires the left CM to cover for the LB sometimes,means the player has to have a level of defensive nous. ESR has not demonstrated ,thus far,that he has the defensive capabilities to play that role.
          Thirdly,ESR has recently come from a big injury and we don’t have sufficient information on the extent of his fitness or lack of it.From the little I’ve seen of him since his return,he’s looked rusty and off the pace. Is this the time to risk playing someone with questionable fitness levels when there are better options? For perspective,when Martinelli returned from injury,he hardly played while ESR was the regular on the Left Wing. Certain fans made the claim that Arteta had something personal against Martinelli. Turns out the coaching staff were just managing his minutes to avoid the risk of injury recurrence.
          In addition,Wenger,Emery,Arteta,have always had Xhaka starting; the Swiss coach too. Mourinho talks well of him too and even attempted to sign him last year. There must be something that these coaches see in him and his play that make him valuable to their plans.

        3. Summed up perfectly, Joe.Those who like me and you do not “HATE” Xakka as those who use English incorrectly often say, but we knew he is having a decent season, by his past standards, but the team needs MUCH better than him next season.

          That is sober and realistic analysis and in no way can or should ever be called “hate”, which is a plain silly word to use for a fan who simply does not rate any footballer in particular..

  6. Ramsdale’s error galvanised a team that needed all the help it could get and they made it count. It reminded me of the 2 pivotal moments against Liverpool and WH when the team lost its focus.

    All credit to the team for fighting back. Odegaard scoring enthused the crowd which I thought had been quiet and certainly gave the last 15 minutes a roller coaster feeling. A pity they left it so late to take the bull by the horns

    Heaven help us on Wednesday I’m afraid, as City have so many top players that Guardiola can choose from even after the cup match this weekend.

    1. I had a bad feeling going into the game, in particular after recent poor performances against the saints. After just 15 minutes those worst fears were realised. Yes, we got back into the game, but the truth is that was the worst we’ve looked all season. Even at 2-1 the side was disjointed and a number of players put in ‘season worst’ performances. It said it all that the crowd were as shocked (but elated) as the saints when we snatched a draw.

      As for City, a small crumb might be that pepe will not want to cede utd a trophy. As such he will play a stronger side against the blades than he would have if utd weren’t the most likely other finalists.

      I did say a ‘crumb’.

  7. Well, manc is not invicible. They are beatable if only Arteta should learn and go for players that will give results. I don’t understand what Viera was doing on the pitch last night. And to be frank, I don’t really know what he does differently that earns him game time. Again, our players should cut down on the avoidable mistakes. Finally, let me ask again: Do we have in our coaching crew those whose responsibilities are to psyche up our players? If we do then, their work starts NOW. This is the time to let players know, it’s not over yet.
    Like I said earlier, if Arteta play the right players and make good tactical changes, you can take it to the banks that arsenal will come out of the match against City unhurt.

  8. Our defense just lacks the confidence and calmness of Saliba honestly, not to say our collapse has been the total fault of our defenders. How many goals have we conceded without Saliba ? We’re just leaking goals currently. Am afraid we need a miracle at Etihad and hopefully there’ll be some twists and turns along the way.

    I know now it’s not the time, to be talking about Summer window but Arteta needs to be ruthless as always, Upgrades will be needed.

  9. I’m not sure I’ve been this heartbroken before, Southampton was there for the taking,
    Our midfield was terrible, why Arteta used Viera is still a mystery, he practically weakened Partey with 2 light weight players(Odegaard and Viera), the midfield only came alive when Trossard stepped in, Jesus was in terrible form too, thumbs-up to Martineli, the lad gives it all, against City, if possible Odegaard needs to sit out,with Trossard in,alongside Partey and Xhaka.

  10. Match against Southampton has reinforced the need for a true top striker. Jesus is a good attacker and has never been a striker. We need upgrade in DM, CB, top striker and quality GK back up as well as our coach learning fast. Please and please, let Viera not near our starting eleven again. I wonder what he does differently in training to make a match squad.

    1. I disagree on jesus – he looked a top striker earlier in the season. I think he’s feeling the pressure more than we’d expect, given his experience, and is playing inefficiently due to his desperation to win.
      I think Vieira is a top talent, but we’re not seeing it yet. I still have confidence he’ll be an asset, but right now I agree he shouldn’t be starting. I think arteta thought we could get away with the luxury of a more attacking player, who needs a good game to build his confidence, but there is no room for luxuries at this point in the season.

    2. Jesus missed too many chances. There is a good reason Guardiola played him sparingly and released him.
      Buying him in lieu of making a concerted serious effort to sign Erling Haarland looks like costing Arsenal a fortune by missing the title.

    3. Odegaard was one of our best players against Southampton, why should he be benched? Viera weakened our midfield performance. He is too light weight. An inform Smith-Row would have been a better replacement for Xhaka, who was solely missed.

      1. Odegaard came alive with Trossard on, Odegaard is lightweight, against Liverpool he was overrun, Partey is the only complete midfielder we have, imagine if we had a Bruno Guimeres with Partey in midfield, Odegaard would thrive in every single game,
        The funny part is Trossard doesn’t everything Odegaard does and even adds stamina and Pace, against Mancity ,I hope Arteta strenghtens the midfield else we’ll be dinner,Trossard needs to sit in midfield, Jesus needs a faster AM/CM ,who would pickup every ball he shields off,

  11. I will suggest to Arteta and the Gunners to calmdown and be a little patient. So that they don’t get overworked. And as a result miss what they should actually do to beat Man City. As they prepare for the crucial Epl top of the table away big game match clash to Man City next Wednesday night and win it.
    For, I think and believe Arteta and his coaching staff as well as the Gunners themselves will do with having the right patient both in their preparation for the match and also when they are playing it.
    Arteta and the Gunners SHOULD not become overzeleous ahead of playing the match. But be cautious and very calculatetive on how they’ll nail Man City in the match.
    I think being patient by Arteta and the Gunners is going to be the key that will decide the outcome of the match to the favour of Arsenal as the match is been played. For certainly, I am foreseeing a situation in the match whereby the Citizens will bully the Gunners in the game to score first and build on the goal to score more goals to beat Arsenal.
    But this bullying of the Gunners which the Citizens might do to the Gunners in the game, is the danger that the Gunners MUST resist by all means from becoming effective against them in the game in as much as the Citizens try to do so.
    Till later.

  12. Jesus has not improved the team, since he has come back. He has altered the way we play. Trossard and Eddie played the striker role differently. We need a central striker.

  13. I think we were found out by Klopp. We are weakest through the middle. Either apply high pressing in our area at the middle or keep hitting direct passes or long balls there. It would be just a matter of time before we succumb. Teams are doing that now. Thinking of Haaland bursting through the middle, we would have no chance if Arteta could not find a solution.

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