Arsenal v Southampton: 3 Things to Watch for


Arsenal start their Christmas schedule against a tough opponent. Can the Gunners keep up the momentum and come out on top once again?

Venue: St Mary’s Stadium

Date: Saturday, Dec 26 (EST)

Call it Christmas Season, call it Star Wars Season, no matter what season you call it one thing is for sure, it’s moving season in the Premier League. Every year Arsenal seems to be in contention near the end of December but end up irrelevant after January. Maybe the Premier League is as wide open as ever this year, or maybe because Arsenal just got a massive win against Man City or maybe its because its Christmas and I feel soft but I seriously think Arsenal have a chance to come out of these fixtures on top of the league.

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Prediction: Southampton 0-2 Arsenal

1) Cech breaks the record!

If it wasn’t for a beautiful goal by Yaya Toure last week, Arsenal’s goalkeeper would have broken the Premier League record for most clean sheets already. However, given how strong Man City’s attack is compared to Southampton I think it is safe to say the Arsenal goal will be under less pressure.

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According to, Cech is tied for second place in the league with seven clean sheets this season. However, his average goal’s conceded figure of 0.82 is impressive because it is much better than Szczesny’s 1.24 goals conceded per game last year. But this is also helped by the highest-rated defensive player in the league, as per, Laurent Koscielny. By far the biggest reason to Arsenal’s organization and discipline at the back is the amazing form Koscielny has been in. It also doesn’t hurt when Per makes solid plays with his mind and intelligence despite lacking in physical and athletic abilities.

2) Ozil can be better

As crazy as that statement is, Ozil can be better and I expect him to be when the lights shine brightest on Boxing Day. Ozil’s most significant improvement since his move to the league has been his strength and effort levels. Having scored a high of 89.9/100 on possession with the ball this season as compared to last years high of 71/100, Ozil has been far better in possession this year.

Arsenal FC
Arsenal FC /

Arsenal FC

However, these two points are far better illustrated through your own eyes as I think we can all see Ozil trying to keep possession of the ball despite hard tackles more willingly this year compared to previous years. Furthermore, Ozil’s increased effort levels and willingness to tackle opponents is a significant improvement. Ozil has committed 42 tackles already this season as compared to only 47 in total last season. Although he has won a lower percentage of them, effort is more important than anything else for Arsenal’s most creative player.

All that being said, I still think Ozil can further his shooting abilities, and as he attempts more shots on goal it will only get better. Christmas is the perfect time for Ozil to truly announce himself to everyone as there is no other time in the Premier League quite like the atmosphere during these next few games.

3) Arsenal can score and they will score

When we entered the season, the main concern was never if Arsenal can score but when they score and how many goals will they score. It was rough at first with no one clicking in front of goal, but fans often have short-term memory and Giroud is suddenly a sensation. Having scored two goals in his first six appearances, Giroud has found the back of the net six times in his past six games. I’m not saying Giroud is the best striker, as his shot accuracy has not improved at all when comparing the first six games to the past six games, but with strikers the most important stat is about the bottom line.

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For Arsenal to even have a chance at ending the calendar year on top of the league, Grioud will have to be at his best. He will need to show ruthlessness when needed but, just as important, selflessness when need be. Giroud’s true quality is not his scoring prowess but his ability to link up with teammates and understand each others game.

Happy holidays to all of you and I hope we all get to enjoy the upcoming matches!