Arsenal 3-3 Southampton | Tactical Analysis

Let’s analyse the draw between Arsenal and Southampton in one of the most intriguing games of the season.

Southampton FC

Out of possession

Southampton’s narrow 4-3-3 creating problems for Arsenal’s build up. 6 vs 5 in midfield, with the forwards blocking central passing lanes, forcing the Gunners wide.

Southampton’s pressing in the opening minutes was very aggressive, especially from Alcaraz, leading to mistakes like the first goal with a horrible decision by Ramsdale. The same in the second goal, 14th minute, Arsenal losses the ball due to Southampton’s good pressing and in the transition Arsenal allows Alcaraz to carry the ball and give the pass to Walcott who attacks Gabriel’s back, with the center back badly positioned.

Arsenal FC

In possession

With Arsenal having problems in the build up, Arteta adapted the team, placing Partey between center backs and with Gabriel Jesus dropping deep to receive near Zinchenko to generate superiority in the first phase of attack. Thus came Arsenal’s first goal, with a pass breaking the line of midfielders, receiving Odegaard between the lines.

The other key in the first half was Arsenal’s wingers, as Southampton’s narrow block defending meant there was plenty of space on the flanks. The midfielders didn’t get to help, with Saka and Martinelli constantly having 1on1’s, being superior in the duel, with both Southampton full-backs on a yellow by the end of the first half.

2nd Half

This prompted Rubén Sellés to change the system in the second half to a 5-3-2 to protect his full-backs and stop Arsenal’s wingers defending wider and with help from the midfielders.

After an excellent defensive work by Southampton in the first 40 minutes of the second half, in the last 5, with Nketiah on the pitch, Arteta went all in on a 3-1-6 shape that forced Southampton’s low block to defend too close to their goal, leaving the edge of the box unprotected. Arsenal took advantage of this and scored the 2 goals to equalise with Ødegaard’s long-range shot and Saka running into the box, free. In the final minutes, also from the edge of the box, a shot against the crossbar from Trossard could have given Arsenal the 3 points.

An important result for Southampton in the fight for relegation and Arsenal will play on Wednesday the game that will decide the Premier League against Man City.

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