3 reasons why Arsenal's defeat to Southampton was coming
Arsenal had not lost a match in any competition since August 18, 2018 when they were defeated by Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. They had gone 22 matches unbeaten and had a winning run amidst the unbeaten record.
However, this weekend their unbeaten sequence was finally ended by a Southampton team playing their first home game under new manager, Ralph Hasenhüttl. Charlie Austin scored the decisive goal in the 85th minute as the makeshift Arsenal defence conceded a third header in the game.
Here's a look at three reasons why this defeat for Arsenal was coming.
#1 Shaky defence
This Arsenal defence was eventually going to cost them. Three clean sheets in seventeen Premier League games is not a record that Unai Emery or Steve Bould will appreciate.
In this unbeaten run, Arsenal were extremely clinical in front of goal and boasted the highest conversion rate in the Premier League. The defence, however, has not been as effective.
Arsenal have conceded 23 goals in the 17 Premier League fixtures played. This shows an average of more than a goal conceded per game. Therefore, Arsenal have needed to score 2 or more goals to win each game. This eventually cost them against Southampton where the 2 goals scored was not enough to get them even a draw.
The 23 goals conceded is higher than that conceded by all their other top four rivals. In fact, Liverpool (7) and Manchester City (10) combined have conceded 17 goals and that is 6 less than Arsenal alone has conceded.
In the top 8 this season, Arsenal have conceded more goals (23) than anybody except Manchester United (29). This defensive frailty was eventually going to tell and it did against Southampton.
The Arsenal team against Southampton was not helped by the absence of first-team regulars; Mustafi, Sokratis and Holding. They had to field a midfielder (Xhaka), a right back (Lichtsteiner) and Koscielny who was playing his first league game after a long-term injury.
This defensive weakness is evident and is the reason they are not in the title race. They have scored more goals than every team except Manchester City and the same number of goals as league leaders Liverpool and yet are in fifth place because of goals conceded.