While the Saints are currently flying high in the English top flight, sitting in fourth position, Arsenal are currently 15th on the table, just five points above the relegation places.
For a side that began the season with successive wins against Fulham and West Ham United, Arsenal’s slump in recent months has been as sharp as it has been surprising.
The Gunners ended the 2018-19 campaign on a high by winning the FA Cup and started the current season with a victory against Liverpool as they won the Community Shield. However, they’ve now gone five games in the Premier League without a win.
Arsenal are winless in five league games
For all the early progress that the team saw under Mikel Arteta, the pressure is beginning to pile on the Spaniard as a result of the club’s poor run of form. Arsenal haven’t won a league game since beating Manchester United on November 1.
Since then, they’ve lost 3-0 to Aston Villa, 2-1 to Wolverhampton Wanderers, 2-0 to Tottenham Hotspur, 1-0 to Burnley, while drawing goalless with Leeds United.
The only thing that currently inspires a bit of hope at the Emirates is Arsenal’s form in the Europa League, where they won all six of their group games. However, the London giants now badly need to replicate this form in the Premier League.
No matter how one chooses to look at it, Arteta’s job is on the line, and only a win against Southampton on Wednesday can guarantee him some respite. The Spaniard himself understands that he’s in a job that is ruthless and only guaranteed by results.
Mikel Arteta's job on the line
When he spoke during his pre-game press conference, Mikel Arteta took responsibility for the Gunners’ poor form. He said (as quoted by Goal):
“When you are not getting results, at the end of the day it’s the manager who has the maximum responsibility.”
“That’s why I accept them, because you can say whatever you want to explain but at the end you have to win football matches and this club is too big to accept this many losses in the last weeks. So my chest is here, hit me guys.”
While Arteta’s message is touching, only results can save his job. The Southampton game is almost like a make-or-break clash for him, and anything less than a win would be unacceptable for Arsenal’s hierarchy and its fans.Published 16 Dec 2020, 17:41 IST