Did Arsene Wenger Get His Team Selection Wrong vs Southampton?

Arsene Wenger is a man who splits opinions around the country, and even across Europe. The Frenchman has been part of our game for almost 18 years now and he has accomplished a lot in that time, but he’s not everyone’s cup of tea. He’s a man who has instilled a aesthetically-pleasing style of football into the north London side and is somewhat of a genius when it comes to the tactical side of the game. He’s not always right though, and I think last night was a case of Wenger being wrong with his team selection.

The Gunners travelled to St Mary’s to take on a Southampton side who are renowned for their high-pressing, never-releasing persistence and a sense of unity in their entire team.

Arsenal knew that the game would be won in midfield, with whoever could hack the pace of the game likely to come out on top. Saints being the home side never let Arsenal rest, and when the shoe was on the other foot they simply couldn’t keep up with the hosts.

I point towards two players for that – Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini. Wenger selected two of the least mobile central midfield players to go toe-to-toe with an athletic, hard-working midfield unit with the likes of Jack Cork, Morgan Schneiderlin and Adam Lallana in.

For me, Wenger should have started with one of the chosen two, but replaced the other with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to add some balance and energy. Or even thrown a youngster in like Thomas Eisfeld or Gedion Zelalem.

Flamini was eventually dismissed for a terrible challenge, which has added to their personnel problems, but with Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere on their way back from injury things should get easier.

A point away at Southampton can always be considered a good point, though I can’t help but feel the midfield pair cost them all three.