Arsenal Comprehensively Beaten
Normally when Arsenal lose a match they do most things well but are beaten by a single stroke of bad luck or perhaps they are beaten off a single aspect of a game. There are games where Arsenal make a few mistakes and are burned, like in the West Ham match where Cech and Ox both made errors for goals. There are games where Arsenal are beaten by some dodgy refereeing, like the Chelsea match. There are games where Arsenal create plenty of chances but can’t get the ball in the net, like the 1-0 loss to Swansea last season. And so on. We have numerous example of Arsenal struggling with one or two aspects of the game. But today Southampton simply dominated all aspects of the game and made Arsenal look tired and outclassed. This game, this hurts.
Sure, the first goal was a fluke. You’ll never see that goal from that guy ever again. And yes, the second goal was from a trip which went uncalled by referee Moss. But the third goal was an unmarked header in the box and in the period between each of those goals, Arsenal was simply bossed by Southampton, so much so that they couldn’t generate enough offense to get back into the game.
14 – Southampton outshot Arsenal 14-7
5 – Southampton got more shots on target than Arsenal 5-4
3 – Southampton got more shots in prime than Arsenal 3-1
3 – Southampton created more big chances than Arsenal 3-0
23 – Southampton out tackled Arsenal 23-11 and most of the tackles weren’t high press, just tackles in their own half
9 – Southampton also had more dribbles than Arsenal 9/15 to 8/10 — this is unusual for a team to try more dribbles than the opposition and also to tackle more. Typically, tackles and dribbles go hand in hand. The only time that they don’t is when a player is dispossessed without attempting a dribble, in other words, when they have the ball and aren’t passing it or attacking the defender one on one. This is the “killer” stat here: Arsenal were simply having the ball taken away from them in the Southampton half
21 – Arsenal were dispossessed 21 times in that game, Southampton 6 times — this is what you saw when Arsenal’s attack kept breaking down over and over again (Walcott was dispossessed 6 times, Özil 4 — for Southampton Steven Davis was dispossessed twice)
12 – If we look at turnovers it’s a similar story: take out Mane’s insane 8 turnovers and Southampton had just 4 all day. If we take out Joel Campbell’s 4 turnovers (led Arsenal), Arsenal had 12
8 – Here’s a hard thing to quantify, but Arsenal made 8 bad passes in their own defensive third. If you look at the passing stats, most of the guys were just fine: Campbell, 92%; Ramsey, 90% of 88 passes; Özil 90% of 67 passes; and so on. But Koscielny was 75%, misplacing 15 passes. But worse than just the low percentage, which you can get away with if you’re hoofing the ball, Koz had 5 giveaways in the Arsenal half, all off short passes. He is 91% in short passing this season, for him to miss 5 in his own half (combined with the fact he tried 8 long balls) indicates that there was a lot of midfield pressure that he was unable to break.
To be clear, I’m not blaming Koscielny. Passing is at least a two-person event and just because Koz gets the blame for the missed pass doesn’t mean it was entirely his fault. What I’m saying instead is that poor offensive stats can also be attributed to good defensive pressure. And in this case, we have to give credit to Southampton, they were by far the fresher of the two teams and it showed in nearly every aspect of the game.
Sources: All Opta today, baby