Our Arsenal week 31 match review discusses Arsenal’s 3-3 home draw against Southampton. This is yet another terrible result for an Arsenal team that is slumping at the worst possible time. The Gunners barely managed to salvage a draw at home against the worst team in the Premier League. Let’s discuss the match in more detail.
Arsenal Week 31 Match Review: The Positives
There were hardly any positives to take away from this game. However, Martinelli and Saka’s performances were two of the few positives in this match. Both of them scored and Saka’s late goal ensured that Arsenal did not suffer a humiliating defeat. Martinelli and Saka both appear to be up to the challenge of fighting for the league title. Additionally, Martinelli has now tied Robert Firmino’s record as the Brazilian player with the most goals in a Premier League season with 15 PL goals.
Martin Odegaard Stepped Up in the Second Half
Odegaard had a quiet first half, which was surprising given both the season he’s having and the level of opposition he was facing. However, he stepped up in the second half and scored a late goal to help the Gunners draw against Southampton. I expect Odegaard to play much better from the very start of the game moving forward and he will certainly have to do that against Manchester City.
By contrast, there were no shortage of negatives in this match for Arsenal. First of all, Ramsdale made an idiotic error that allowed Southampton to score in the first minute. Ramsdale made a terrible pass under very little pressure that gave the Saints an invitation to score an early goal and they did exactly that. Aaron Ramsdale will have to avoid any such errors against Manchester City and play some of his best football for Arsenal to have any chance of winning that game.
Arsenal’s defense overall was laughable. The Gunners once again conceded a goal from a corner and seem incapable of defending corners properly these days. Also, the Saints had an easy time breaking through Arsenal’s defense and getting shots away. The Arsenal defenders deserve plenty of blame for this, but Thomas Partey also did a poor job of shielding the back four, as well.
Fabio Vieira did essentially nothing in the Gunners’ midfield. He was tasked to fill in for the ill Granit Xhaka and he failed to do so spectacularly. His lack of physicality was a major issue during the entire time he was on the pitch. Vieira also seemed to retreat from the ball whenever it was played to him. Overall, it was an awful performance that should keep him out of the starting 11 for the rest of the season, even when Xhaka is unavailable.
Gabriel Jesus also had a poor game. He certainly played hard, but he was ineffective for the most part and did not really cause many issues for Southampton’s defense. That was also surprising, given that Jesus has played extremely well in recent weeks. Jesus will have to get back to form when the Gunners face Man City.
Arsenal Week 31 Match Review: 3/10 Manager Rating for Arteta
Arteta got many things wrong in this match. Starting Fabio Vieira in place of Xhaka was a terrible choice and the Gunners did not seem to be prepared, especially defensively, for Southampton. Arteta should have started Trossard in place of Xhaka. Additionally, Arteta’s half-time team talk didn’t seem to have much of an impact, since Arsenal only barely managed a draw against the bottom team in the Premier League. Arteta will have to hope for the return of both Saliba and Xhaka against Man City and make far better decisions prior to and during that match.
Arsenal Face Manchester City Next in a Must-Win Game
The Gunners have to travel to the Etihad to play Manchester City in a must-win game. Arsenal is in a slump and the pressure is greater than ever. Hopefully, the Gunners look like an entirely different team in that match and get the desperately-needed three points. I would bet on Gabriel Martinelli getting a goal or an assist in that match, in any case.
Check back next week for more Arsenal content.