Arsenal welcome Southampton to the Emirates on Saturday as they look to get their stuttering season back on track.
Against Everton, Arsenal should have got back on their dull horse with a routine win against a side that hadn’t collected three points in months.
Instead, Mikel Arteta’s timid team once again turned up, shot themselves in the foot repeatedly, and then left with nothing.
It’s no wonder Arsenal are slipping down the UK bookmakers list of teams likely to finish in the top four and their odds for individual games are starting to reflect that.
Southampton currently sit in 16th place on 16 points (had Arsenal beaten Everton they would have been on 15 from 15). They will arrive at the Emirates with the 40-year-old Willy Caballero in goal, signed on a n emergency one-month loan after injuries to their two first-choice keepers.
Caballero has been without a club since the summer when he was released by Chelsea.
That being said, Arsenal barely create anything dangerous so they probably aren’t too worried.
Arsenal have had a total of 208 shots this season in the league which is an average of almost 14 per game. That’s a surprising number, as it feels more like about two. Of those, 68 have been on target (around 4.5 per game, again, another surprising number, a shot-on-target percentage of 32.7%).
To compare to Tottenham, another team that has been boring the life out of its fans this season, they have 153 shots, with 54 on target and a % of 35.3.
Still, they have more points on the board, even if they have two fewer goals in the bank.
Arsenal have, in fact, only scored four goals more than Saturday’s opponents and have contrived to concede one more. Arsenal’s +3 goal difference over Southampton somehow translating into seven extra points, even though Arsenal have lost seven games to the Saints’ six.
The record between the two sides in the last 10 games is also pretty even.
Arsenal have won four, Southampton have won three and there have been three draws. In fact, a draw might be a good bet for Saturday’s game.
Southampton have seven draws already this season and Arteta is likely to be so scared of losing a third in a row that we will see the team stifled once again.
Hopefully, I’m wrong. Hopefully he sends the team out to attack relentlessly and make a real statement.
Then again, how long have we actually been waiting for something that feels like a statement win from an Arteta side?