Things keep getting worse for Arsenal who hover above the relegation zone after a 1-0 defeat on Sunday gave them their worst top-flight start since 1981/82.
They’ve now failed to score in 50% of their Premier League (PL) matches, and subsequently, their average of 0.83 goals scored per fixture is their worst at this stage across the previous 39 seasons.
After becoming the first Arsenal manager to lose his first two North London derbies since Bertie Mee in 1966/67, Mikel Arteta followed that up by guiding his side to four consecutive top-flight home losses for the first time since December 1959 – another here will set a new club record. Crisis-stricken Arsenal even conceded the opener via an own-goal in two of those recent defeats.
It’s a completely different story at high-flying Southampton as Ralph Hasenhüttl saw his side run out 3-0 winners at the weekend as they secured a league-high sixth HT/FT win of the campaign.
The ‘Saints’ coach will have sympathy for his Arsenal counterpart though, as whilst Southampton are on cloud nine with their second-best 11-game PL start in their history (W7, D2, L3), it’s just over a year ago that Hasenhüttl clung onto his post despite being at the helm of a PL joint-worst 9-0 defeat.
Southampton recovered from that well, and with 15 PL goals scored from outside the box this calendar year – six more than any other side – they’ve done it in style too. Furthermore, a five-game unbeaten away run (W3, D2) will fill them with confidence as they hunt a first top-fight win at Arsenal since 1987.
Full Arsenal squad available to Arteta to face Southampton:
Goalkeepers: Bernd Leno, Runar Alex Runarsson & Matt Macey.
Defenders: Cedric Soares, Gabriel Magalhaes, David Luiz, William Saliba, Rob Holding, Shkodran Mustafi, Calum Chambers, Pablo Mari & Kieran Tierney.
Midfielders: Nicolas Pepe, Willian, Dani Ceballos, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Mohamed Elneny, Joe Willock & Emile Smith Rowe
Forwards: Alexandre Lacazette, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Eddie Nketiah & Folarin Balogun.