The 2016/2017 Premier League season is back in full swing, and Arsenal have so far faced three formidable foes. Despite the disappointment of an early defeat, they’ve bounced back and look set to continue into the season with a strong strategy. Here’s a closer look at the highlights from the first matches of the season, and what we can expect as they go forward.
August 14 – Arsenal v Liverpool
Arsenal’s first Premier League match of the season was a true nail-biter, but despite valiant efforts they unfortunately were unable to defend against Liverpool’s onslaught. Three goals were scored, all of which were significant. The first half started well, with expert play between Iwobi and Alexis, and plenty of energy on the field from Aaron Ramsey. Although Theo Walcott missed a penalty, he quickly made amends for this with an assist from Iwobi and scored the first goal for Arsenal. In the second half, things got a bit stickier as Liverpool ramped up the game and pushed Arsenal back. Within just 18 minutes, Adam Lallana, Coutinho, and Sadio Mane all managed to score goals for Liverpool.
Arsenal’s Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain scored a second goal for the home team, and Calum Chambers the third. While Liverpool may have prevailed, it was a strong opening for Arsenal and set the scene for what promises to be an exciting season.
August 20 – Arsenal v Leicester City
After scoring three goals against Liverpool before ultimately facing defeat, Arsenal’s second outing of the season therefore took on a more intense build-up. Arsenal faced Leicester City on August 20th, and with the two teams being the top two last season there was a lot riding on this meeting. In the end, neither side was able to score a single goal in what was a tense game. It ended up being a draw, but that doesn’t mean that there weren’t plenty of Arsenal performance highlights along the way.
The line-up was slightly different from the first match – Laurent Koscielny, Mesut Ozil, and Olivier Giroud were all back on the bench after taking a long leave of absence after the Euro 2016 finals. With Aaron Ramsey and Alex Iwobi injured, Santi Cazorla and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain started in their place. The football was pleasing on the eye, and Arsenal managed to maintain possession of the ball for much of the first half. Hector Bellerin and Theo Walcott nearly managed to score at one point, before being deflected by Leicester’s Morgan. The second half was more of the same, and Leicester City’s strong defence made it difficult to break though. In the end, it was a disappointing draw.
August 27 – Arsenal v Watford
The most recent match saw Arsenal taking on Watford. This had not gone well for Watford in the past – they have lost all seven of their Premier League games against Arsenal. This gave Arsenal a chance to get back into their groove, and the highlights of this performance mainly took place in the first half of the game. Alexis Sanchez has scored in every Premier League appearance against Watford and this game was no exception. Assisted by Theo Walcott, he scored the second goal of the game. The first goal was scored by Cazorla, who neatly pushed the penalty kick straight down the middle after Sanchez was hit on the head by Nordin Amrabat. Ozil proved that he was well-rested after Euro 2016 by scoring the third goal of the game, right in the nick of time before half-time. While the second half wasn’t quite as brilliant, Arsenal defended well until the end of the game.
Outlook for Arsenal v Southampton
The next match is due to take place on September 10th. Arsenal’s odds are more favourable than Southampton’s, currently standing at 7/12 v 14/3. The team’s thus far had a defeat, a draw, and a win, so now is their time to build a bit of a winning streak and get ahead this season. Historically, Arsenal have won 45 games against Southampton. They’ve only lost 19, and 25 have been a draw. Southampton’s first three games of the season have resulted in two draws and a loss. They had a 1-1 draw against Sunderland, a 0-2 loss against Manchester United, and a 1-1 draw against Watford. However, prior to this they had won three matches and certainly boast no shortage of capable players. It should be another exciting match in what has been an eventful season thus far.