When Southampton last played Arsenal at the Emirates they lost 6-1, taking them up to 12 goals conceded after just 4 games in their first season back playing top-flight football. Fast forward 14 months and the Saints have conceded just 7 goals in their first 12 games - better than any other team in the league so far.
November 26th, 2013
Despite losing to Arsenal in their own back yard again this time around, the circumstances surrounding Southampton’s 2-0 defeat are very different. A moment of madness on the ball by goalkeeper Artur Boruc allowed Olivier Giroud to steal the ball away and stab it into the empty Southampton net, before Mark Clattenburg awarded Arsenal a penalty for shirt-pulling two minutes from time.
This wasn’t the team who found themselves completely outclassed at the Emirates last season and they weathered the Arsenal onslaughts well – the performances of Victor Wanyama and Morgan Schneiderlin stood out in particular. In truth Saints didn’t really trouble the Gunners enough in the final third and Wenger’s men were deserving of their points, at times showing just why they are top of the table.
So far this season Southampton have played Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United all away from home, taking 4 points from a possible 9. The Saints will be looking to bounce back from only their second loss of the season at the first time of asking – but it certainly won’t be easy. Their next three games are Chelsea (A), Villa (H) and City (H) respectively.
There are no easy games in the Premier League and as we approach December we’ll have a much better idea of whether the Saints can be classed as serious contenders for European contention or not. A large part of that will no doubt come down to how the squad copes with a busy December schedule once injuries and suspensions start to take their toll.
Southampton thoroughly deserves to be where they are so far and people are beginning to sit up and take notice. Let’s see how far we can go…