I am afraid to say my fears from my article prior to the Southampton-Arsenal game came to pass. I stated that I believed that the Saints could enjoy a new boss bounce, which happened.
I also wrote about the Gunners having to field a makeshift central defensive partnership. In truth, both of these issues were not hard to spot, but I thought that the Gunners newfound toughness might have got them through. Unfortunately, it did not and the team from north London suffered a 3-2 defeat at St Marys.
Question marks over Leno
At the beginning of the campaign, I like many, questioned why Gunners boss Unai Emery decided not to field summer signing Bernd Leno. He arrived from Germany with a big reputation, but Emery was reluctant to start him, so persisted with veteran Petr Cech.
The Southampton game was one were Leno showed why Emery lacked the faith in him in the first place. He made a couple of saves, but he was also poor on at least two of Southampton’s goals.
The winning goal from Charlie Austin was the most concerning, as the former Bayer Leverkusen star rushed out of his goal and completely missed the ball. This decision allowed the striker to head into an empty net.
Leno’s performances need to improve if he is going to remain as Arsenal number because the German has not produced a few poor errors.
Arsenal have not been convincing of late
Some will say that defeat was coming, as despite the unbeaten run, Arsenal have not been that convincing in recent top-flight games. It is not as if Emery’s have been playing teams off the park.
However, they have been grinding out results, which can be a good thing. Grinding out results only lasts for so long, as it gets to a point where you slip up and Southampton away always seemed a likely banana skin in the circumstances.
Still in the race for the Champions League spots
In reality, Arsenal were going to lose their unbeaten run at some point. Unai Emery has come in and done a good job, but he is not a miracle worker. The team were miles away from the top four last season.
However, the Gunners are in the thick of the race for the top-four, as they are now odds of 13/8 to finish in the top-four at the end of the season. The team from north London are just three points behind fourth-place Chelsea.
The Gunners just need to dust themselves off and go again this weekend against Burnley, whose performances have improved of late. Hopefully, Emery’s side gets back to winning ways and the Southampton game will just be considered a bad day at the office.
Did Arsenal deserve to lose against Southampton?