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Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl delivers brutal Arsenal verdict ahead of Chelsea clash

Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl believes there is a “gap in quality” between Arsenal and Chelsea, having played both sides in recent weeks. The Blue’s ran out 6-0 winners at St. Mary’s 10 days ago, whilst the Gunners’ Champions League ambitions took another hit, with Jan Bednarek’s goal just before half time enough to seal all three points for the Saints.

And with Thomas Tuchel’s side currently eight points clear of Arsenal, the Southampton boss was quick to pinpoint the differences in playing the European Champions, and Mikel Arteta’s side.

Speaking at his pre-match press conference when asked to explain about the contrast in performances, Hasenhuttl explained: “It is a Champions League winning team [Chelsea] and I think they are still a step forward from a team like Arsenal.

“They [Arsenal] have also shown some good moments this season, but I think there is still a gap to the Chelsea team from the quality – I must say this is why we could defend against them a little bit better.”

The 54-year-old also used the Blues’ Champions League performance against Real Madrid as an example of how Tuchel’s attacking options are so hard to stop, for any team in world football.

“I know they [Arsenal] had some injury issues and Chelsea were on fire against us. Yes, you can say we played a very different way, with an offensive way of defending against them, and last time a bit more of a passive way.

“But I think Chelsea have shown against Real Madrid that they can also score a few goals, this is not so easy to prevent for any team in the world, and it is hard against them when they are on fire.”

Following the humbling defeat in which Mason Mount and Timo Werner impressed, Hasenhuttl said his side knew they had a chance against the Gunners, and insisted their 3-0 defeat earlier in the season helped them with their victory.

He added: “For us, it was about showing a reaction and we knew against Arsenal we had a chance at home, and we have had the first game against them where we played well for the first 15 minutes but ended up losing 3-0

“We have changed a few things and we have been more compact and less in possession. It worked quite well. It doesn’t mean we can always play like this, but for this game it was the right way to go.”

 

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