THE ARMBAND RETURNS TO KOS AS TEAM AIMS FOR 23-UNBEATEN. (SOUTHAMPTON PREVIEW).
The xG stats tell us that Southampton should have scored 7.02 more goals than the 13 they have scored so far in the epl and should have conceded 4.19 less goals than the 30 they have shipped in (understat.com). According to these stats, the team’s effectiveness at both ends of the field has not matched the body of their work. In other words they could be a better team than the results make them out to be. Could it be that they are simply on the wrong side of luck or … ? This is a puzzle Emery shouldn’t be bothering his head about because he has a bigger one at his doorstep.
Arsenal are 19th on the 1st-Half table but sit atop the 2nd-Half table. Relegated on one half, undisputed champions on the other is a bizarre combo to say the least. City in contrast is 1st/2nd, Tot is 2nd/8th, Liv 3rd/3rd, Chl 4th/4th, Manu 6th/11th, Sthptn 18th/17th (after 16 games). They all kinda rhyme, but not the 19th/1st. Ours is so big an anomaly it’s scary. You really don’t know who you are. Click the link below:-
And this is not the only headache sitting on Emery’s doorstep as he prepares for the Southampton match. There is not a single central defender available for the match apart from Laurent Koscielny who is just coming back after 6 months out with a ruptured achilles tendon. Mustafi and Sokratis are suspended for this match while Holding and Mavropanos are out with an injury. It would be interesting to see what the coach would come up with. I predict a 3-man back line of Lichsteiner, Koscienly and Monreal with Elneny on the bench as a cover. Koshielny had 72 minute successful run out against Qarabag making 62 touches with an impressive 100% pass success rate. Qarabag was perfect for easing him back to more competitive games.
On the brighter side, Ozil and Ramsey are available. They represent creativity we can do with considering the paucity of it in the Huddersfield match, even though it could be argued that wearied legs and minds on that day were partly to blame. Would Emery play one or both of them? It depends on the formation of the day. With 82 minutes against Qarabag on Thursday night, Ozil’s role this time could be from the bench.
More words about our 1st half form. Are our boys bugged down in the 1st halves by too much instructions? Are we thinking too much of the opposition strengths at the expense of ours? Do we come into our own only when we find ourselves with our backs to the wall? Has Emery drilled the team to the point where he can now afford them tiny extra spaces for self expression? Hope so to the last question because we need those 1st-half handbrakes released. We long for the first match we would be ahead at the interval and at the final whistle. That would have Arsenal written all over it. Time overdue.
Here’s predicting the line up:-
Bench:- Cech, Elneny, Guendouzi, Mailand-Niles, Ozil, Mkhitaryan, Lacazette
This season’s top-4 race is like never before. Get a draw instead of a win and the two points dropped would hunt all the way. It is 3 pts and 3 pts only when playing against a team that is, with all due respect, 19th on the table.
Prediction: 0-2 away win to the good guys.