Arsenal – Southampton: Have Both Teams Bottled It? (3-3)
Watching one team "bottle" something - be it in a match, over a few weeks or over the course of a season - is not uncommon at all, but how often do we get to see two teams bottling something simultaneously in the same fixture? Those watching Arsenal and Southampton on Friday night got to witness such a rare occurrence in a six-goal thriller where both sides' ambitions took a massive hit.
Tactical analysis and match report by Neel Shelat.
Arsenal’s title charge seemed to be undergoing a bit of a slow disintegration in recent weeks. They dropped points from two-nil up in both of their last two matches - away at Liverpool and then West Ham. Ahead of kick-off, their fate was still in their hands with a crunch midweek fixture against Manchester City next, but they really needed to get back in their groove here.
Recent weeks had not been great for Southampton either, as they started this match four points from safety having lost four of their last five matches. They do have a couple of big relegation six-pointers scheduled before the end of the season, which they will certainly need to win and pick up a few bonus points from elsewhere if they are to survive.
Mikel Arteta’s side had to contend with a couple of injuries and the unexpected absence of Granit Xhaka. They lined up in their usual 4-3-3 formation, with Aaron Ramsdale in goal behind Benjamin White, Rob Holding, Gabriel Magalhães and Oleksandr Zinchenko. Thomas Partey started deepest in midfield with Martin Ødegaard and Fábio Vieira on either side of him, whilst . . .
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