Arsenal 0-0 Southampton: 5 Talking Points

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February 3, 2016 4:07 pm

Arsenal lumbered on to another goalless draw after a poor first half, slipping further off the top of the table as Southampton picked up yet another impressive point on the road. Arsenal last picked up a win in the league on the turn of the new year against Newcastle but have gone on a string of four games without a win since. Their title challenge looks shaky, now sitting five points off leaders Leicester, and having also been overtaken by local rivals Tottenham, albeit goal difference. Southampton, on the other hand, has been on the rise ever since the reverse fixture on Boxing Day, having also beaten Manchester United at Old Trafford and they now sit in the 7th position after a relatively disappointing start to the season. Essentially Sports looks at 5  talking points from the game.

Fraser Forster’s Dream Return Continues

Having missed ten months of football through injury, the English goalkeeper has returned to action with a bang. He returned to make his first league appearance after his layoff against Watford and is yet to concede a goal with four consecutive clean sheets under his belt.

Forster was in top form yesterday as he made ten saves, most of them world class, against an Arsenal side that struggled to find the net. Ozil, Giroud, Alexis and Walcott all had a go at the 6’7″ ‘keeper, but Forster produced stunning saves to earn Southampton an important point. His ten saves are his personal best, with his previous best coming at 7 saves, also against Arsenal. With performances like this, he may have a shot at being England’s no.1 at the Euros

Southampton Put Up a Brilliant Start But Lack of Finish Cost Them The Win

Southampton made a frantic start to the match, pressing Arsenal and not allowing them much room throughout the first half. The Gunners were mostly restricted to their own half under pressure from the Saints and were often caught out. Ronal Koeman’s  men, while brilliant in their pressing and defensive work, failed to create too many chances of their own, but were compensated by their opponents who made plenty of mistakes, giving the ball away too many times for Wenger’s comfort. But the Southampton forwards like Mane and Tadic could not make much of the gifts from Arsenal and Petr Cech was never really troubled. The Saints will rue their chances as it was a great chance to claim another big scalp. But it was a brave and organised performance nonetheless and will be very pleased with having come out with a draw.

But the Southampton forwards like Mane and Tadic could not make much of the gifts from Arsenal and Petr Cech was never really troubled. The Saints will rue their chances as it was a great chance to claim another big scalp. But it was a brave and organised performance nonetheless and will be very pleased with having come out with a draw.

Arsenal Missing Santi Cazorla’s Presence in Midfield

The partnership between Santi Cazorla and Francis Coquelin came to the fore ever since the two paired up from the start of 2015 and was broken only by an injury to the duo in consecutive matches this November. While the French enforcer has returned before schedule, Cazorla is still a huge missing cog in the Arsenal midfield. In matches like this one, when opposition teams would try to pressure Arsenal inside their own half, the Spanish magician had the ability to control the tempo, passing or dribbling Arsenal out of trouble. As of now, Aaron Ramsey is the player in that position, and he has looked out of sorts at the time, lacking the discipline and precision. Controlling the midfield is a major part of Arsenal’s plan, and without Cazorla they have not been able to do that and this has resulted in points dropped in key matches. Arsene Wenger needs to find a solution to this problem as soon as possible, or he may have to bid farewell to his title dreams for the year.

In matches like this one, when opposition teams would try to pressure Arsenal inside their own half, the Spanish magician had the ability to control the tempo, passing or dribbling Arsenal out of trouble. As of now, Aaron Ramsey is the player in that position, and he has looked out of sorts at the time, lacking the discipline and precision. Controlling the midfield is a major part of Arsenal’s plan, and without Cazorla they have not been able to do that and this has resulted in points dropped in key matches. Arsene Wenger needs to find a solution to this problem as soon as possible, or he may have to bid farewell to his title dreams for the year.

Arsene Wenger needs to find a solution to this problem as soon as possible, or he may have to bid farewell to his title dreams for the year.

Fabled “Handbrake” Costs Arsenal Yet Again

Arsene Wenger often speaks of his team playing with the handbrake and this proved to be the case yet again, with the Gunners starting off slowly and they rightly ended up getting dominated by Southampton in the first half. Whatever Wenger said or did at halftime had an effect as Arsenal looked much more potent, playing with more purpose and intent from the start of the second half. Had they started the match like that, they might have had a breakthrough although they did create a flurry of chances and were unfortunate to come up against Fraser Forster in such brilliant form.

Whatever Wenger said or did at halftime had an effect as Arsenal looked much more potent, playing with more purpose and intent from the start of the second half. Had they started the match like that, they might have had a breakthrough although they did create a flurry of chances and were unfortunate to come up against Fraser Forster in such brilliant form. 

Arsenal Need More Players to Make a Difference if They Want the Title

Alexis Sanchez blitzed Arsenal through a tough run of games in October before picking up an injury in November and Mesut Ozil was the one who picked up the mantle from there, keeping Arsenal in the running in the middle of an injury crisis. Olivier Giroud is also having a great season, but there is only so much a select bunch of players can do. In a long season in a league as competitive as the Premier League, the whole team needs to step up and make a difference if Arsenal is to try and win the ultimate prize. Players like Theo Walcott and Aaron Ramsey need to get out of their rut and start putting up better performances. The next few weeks will decide whether Arsenal will really be facing a title run-in or a fight for the top four come the end of the season and Wenger needs to rally his troops for a tough fight.

In a long season in a league as competitive as the Premier League, the whole team needs to step up and make a difference if Arsenal is to try and win the ultimate prize. Players like Theo Walcott and Aaron Ramsey need to get out of their rut and start putting up better performances. The next few weeks will decide whether Arsenal will really be facing a title run-in or a fight for the top four come the end of the season and Wenger needs to rally his troops for a tough fight.

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