Saints v Arsenal History/ Preview/ Line-Up: Xhaka and Joe in Midfield, Eddie up-top?

Southampton v Arsenal – June 25th 2020

Southampton was originally founded at St. Mary’s Church, on 21 November 1885 by members of the St. Mary’s Church of England Young Men’s Association.

St. Mary’s Y.M.A., as they were usually referred to in the local press, played most of their early games on The Common where games were frequently interrupted by pedestrians insistent on exercising their right to roam. More important matches, such as cup games, were played either at the County Cricket Ground in Northlands Road or the Antelope Cricket Ground in St Mary’s Road.

The club was originally known as St. Mary’s Young Men’s Association F.C. (usually abbreviated to “St. Mary’s Y.M.A.”) and then became simply St. Mary’s F.C. in 1887–88, before adopting the name Southampton St. Mary’s when the club joined the Southern League in 1894.

For the start of their League career, Saints signed several new players on professional contracts, including Charles Baker, Alf Littlehales and Lachie Thomson from Stoke and Fred Hollands from Millwall. After winning the Southern League title in 1896–97, the club became a limited company and was renamed Southampton F.C.

Southampton was among the founding members of the Premier League in 1992–93, but spent most of the next ten seasons struggling against relegation. In 1995–96, Southampton finished 17th with 38 league points, avoiding relegation on goal difference.

Mark Hughes was fired as the Saints manger after a poor start to the 2018/19 season and in December 2018 he was replaced by Ralph Hasenhuettl who has a record of (W22, D13, L26, Win % 36.1). He signed a new contract until 2024 during the Covid -19 pandemic.

Hasenhuettl recorded his first win as Southampton manger against Arsenal a 3-2 victory on December 16, 2018.

Here is a brief accounting of the game.

Ralph Hasenhüttl bounces on to the pitch. That’s lift-off! The new era is very much under way at Southampton. Arsenal’s 22-match unbeaten comes to a grinding halt on the south coast. Charlie Austin’s late winner lifts Southampton out of the bottom three, while Arsenal stay fifth, three points behind Chelsea, who have just wrapped up victory over Brighton in Sussex. It was a game teeming with great goals – and two wicked deflections – but when it mattered most, Austin had a cool head to apply a fine finish, heading in Shane Long’s lofted cross.

We have only won once in our last eight visits to St. Mary’s (W1, D4, L3, GF9, GA14) so we can expect another tough encounter. Playing in a crowd-less stadium should have a neutralizing effect, although that has not been apparent so far this season.

Arsenal v Saints EPL Away Results
1 05-Dec-92 1 0 2
2 19-Mar-94 1 4 0
3 19-Nov-94 1 0 1
4 09-Dec-95 1 0 0
5 15-Mar-97 1 2 0
6 23-Aug-97 1 3 1
7 03-Apr-99 1 0 0
8 18-Sep-99 1 1 0
9 19-May-01 1 2 3
10 13-Oct-01 1 2 0
11 23-Nov-02 1 2 3
12 29-Dec-03 1 1 0
13 26-Feb-05 1 1 1
14 01-Jan-13 1 1 1
15 28-Jan-14 1 2 2
16 01-Jan-15 1 0 2
17 26-Dec-15 1 0 4
18 10-May-17 1 2 0
19 10-Dec-17 1 1 1
20 16-Dec-18 1 2 3
21 16-Jun-20
Total : 7 6 7 26 24

This will not be an easy game and we need to show up as a unified, supportive team. Injuries and red cards have put us in a difficult position defensively and our mid- field has not created enough opportunities for our strikers.

After a difficult re-start to the season Mikel Arteta has his work cut out to bring the team together, but I have confidence that, in the long term, he is the right person for the task ahead.

Arsenal v Saints  All time Away Results
Division 1 8 4 10 30 29
Premier 7 6 7 26 24
Total : 15 10 17 56 53

Overall Southampton has had our number at St Mary’s – we need to change that situation.


TA’s Preferred Line-Up….

*Xhaka is in full training so I hope he will start… If not it will surely be Guendo

23 thoughts on “Saints v Arsenal History/ Preview/ Line-Up: Xhaka and Joe in Midfield, Eddie up-top?

  • Great post, GN5. The stats are telling us it will indeed be hard. Why do we have to play three fricking away games in a row?! Could this not have been rescheduled?

    I am so hoping Xhaka is back and that Arteta will stick with Joe in the B2B position. But more about this in a future post. I am relatively positive about this game though. Pepe has found his scoring boots and Auba is well due a goal. Saka in the hole gave us something extra and now we just have to serve them all better from midfield… Hence my hope that Xhaka and Joe will play tomorrow.


  • Dan Critchlow
    So basically all the recent talk of huge agent fees on all our signings was total nonsense. This even includes the Pépé signing.
    Quote Tweet

    Sam Dean
    · 6h
    FA documents show that, from February 1 2019 to January 31 2020, Arsenal paid around £13.5m to intermediaries.

    That’s considerably less than Liverpool (£30m), Man City (£29m) Man United (£27.5m) & Chelsea (£26m). Also less than Everton (£17m) & Leicester (£15m).

  • thanks for the history, GN
    i find it very hard to predict our XI tonight, but i’d like mikel to give a try to 3-4-1-2 (as kev suggested lately), something like:
    i hope emi will do fine; this is a big day for him, it was very harsh from mikel not to pick him against olypiakos imo, he’d done alright in the europa so far
    COYG – 5 hours before kickoff, “peace of mind” is not exactly how i feel …

  • Quite right Total, another fine piece of writing by our wordsmith GunnerN5…

    Our away record in Southampton is mostly evens stevens, it’s one of those grounds that I always expect Arsenal to win at and they usually do when they have good well-balanced teams, but that’s not been the case for a long time and it certainly isn’t right now.

    The most painful and damaging visit to Southampton in recent times for me was the 4-0 capitulation in December 2015, thanks in part to a horrendous refereeing display by some idiot with a whistle. That was the game that pretty much ended our title challenge as Leicester pulled away after that and Arsenal had a meltdown, it was to be our last serious title challenge to date. That result really hurt because I began to lose faith in our ability to compete for the league under Wenger after that. Leicester winning the Premier League was a great story and a great advert for the Premier League, but I can’t help feeling that we really let a championship crown slip through our fingers that season.

  • LG, with Xhaka playing, as I suspect that he might, then I’d expect to see Mikel play with the usual defence and stick with a back four.
    Apparently Arteta switched to 3 at the back for a spell vs Brighton according to Clive Palmer on the Arsecast, but I didn’t notice.

  • looks like 3-4-2-1 to me:
    what do you think??
    11′; i like what i’ve seen, so far

  • eddie!!
    what a lad!!
    whatever it is that mikel has worked since saturday; the boys seem to have bought into it
    so good to see

  • not what you’d call an ad for premier league football
    but at least we have a plan – not the sexiest one, i’ll give you that
    rob is on his way back to being his dominant self again, that’s good to see
    hector worries me – we have to keep being patient with him, he’s still young
    bukayo/eddie: hats off to hale end; joe for dani and reiss for pépé ‘d be nice, too, imo
    come on, lads, we need that win before the cup

  • Nice one Total, I was playing ‘air guitar’ to that one ( I wasn’t really 😉)

    Some of that playing out from the back gets the old heart pumping and I could do without it really, but again at times it did look as if it was coming together, so small steps I suppose…

    Really pleased to see Eddie have such a good game, almost Ian Wrightesque at times, I’m pleased for the lad and for Joe.

    Saka was quality, he oozes quality, he’s vital to our future, and Rob Holding, so pleased for him after such a debilitating time with injuries, if he can get a run of games up till the end of the season, then Arteta could have a real selection headache, which is good…

    There were times LG when Saka was left back, I loved the way he never stopped, so you might have a point about 3 at the back, maybe we were just doubling up?

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