155 Comments

Arsenal Versus Southampton: Feast Day

To be precise it’s the feast day of St. Joan de Lestonnac who was, by all accounts, an all round good egg and particularly nice to children, the abused, those rejected by religious orders and widows. There have been many miracles reported to have taken part in and around the vicinity of her tomb and as such it is perhaps appropriate we play the Saints on her special day. Arsène and Arsenal were written off as dead and buried after the defeat at St Mary’s a few weeks ago and yet, miraculously, neither seems to have managed to remain among the expired.

Lazarus like the team has continued to roam the earth in a post deceased state. Somehow the failed tilt at the league title is still on and even more amazing the team is ahead of Tottenham despite everyone saying how much better they are. Truly we live in a time of wonders. Jack Wilshere was reported to have gone and joined the choir invisible on Sunday only to roll away the stone on Monday and Mikel Arteta’s long since defunct legs were seen moving in a most unlikely and agile fashion.

Can this age of marvels continue? Can Arsenal rise up and vanquish the bogey team of the South Coast? Will we see Aaron, Alexis and Mesut back in their supporting role with Larry at the apex or has Joel done enough to keep his place? If the preferred attacking threesome are indeed reunited will Mo and Coq reprise their nascent performance as the Vieira and Petit for a new age? Or will the Ox continue to show us his versatility by slotting into the Santi role?  Will I end a sentence in this paragraph without a question mark?

It’s rather splendid to have such conundra upon which to ponder isn’t it? The cavalry which George anticipated has definitely arrived; witness the fact that Arsène was able not merely to have certain first teamers warming the bench against Burnley but to rest them altogether. Oh, by the by, if you wonder at my use of condundra rather than conundrums I did waste a lot of time researching the appropriate plural form. The Grauniad notes and queries debate on the subject was hugely diverting. I recommend you follow that link – it’s far more entertaining than me straining the limits of my creativity here.

The last time I previewed a league match my theme, if such a lose collection of disparate and fanciful thoughts can be so described, was revenge. I knew lightning couldn’t possibly strike twice and that with eleven men  on the pitch instead of having to play with our centre back sent off we would surely exploit home advantage and show the most hated team in the land who was boss. That didn’t turn out so well and I am naturally hesitant, one might almost say timid if not downright bloody terrified to return, like the fabled dog to its vomit, to such a motif or theory today.

However there is no denying that as with Chelsea we have unfinished business with Southampton. Try denying it, privately, to, as it were, yourself. You see? Didn’t work did it? The Saints tucked us up like a kipper in a most inhospitable way the last time we were their guests and such behaviour surely merits no bonhomous, polite and considerate reciprocal behaviour now we are the hosts. I would like very much to see the boot firmly on the other foot and preferably connecting with the ball immediately prior to it entering the visitors’ goal.

I suggested pre Burnley that someone is due a good spanking, six of the best, trousers down. We’ve seen it before. A run of disappointing results followed by a sudden blood letting and tonight would be the perfect night. Redress the damage done to our goal difference at St Mary’s and put the fizz back into our jizz, to coin a phrase.

With Tottenham facing a potentially awkward trip to the far flung kingdom of the East Angles, Leicester entertaining the entirely unpredictable but never dull Jürgen Klopp road show only Man City are positively predicted to profit from this evening’s entertainment. The table might get even tighter by nine thirty this evening. There is in fact every chance of us seeing a three way tie with everyone boasting 47 points – but of course with a season such as this one absolutely nothing can be taken for granted.

What of our opponents then? How have they fared since poking us in they eye in a most unfestive fashion on Boxing Day? Well, they promptly lost to West Ham, Norwich and Crystal Palace before going on a three game winning spree at the expense of Watford, West Brom and Louis’ Flying Circus. They are second behind Spurs in the form guide a whole eight places above us. Ronald Koeman talks up their defensive resilience saying

“We believe in our qualities and we play out of good organisation, that’s always difficult for the opponent to beat Southampton. That’s the reason why we have some good results in the last few weeks and we like to continue with that. We had a great result at home against Arsenal not so long ago. They will try to show they are the better team, but we know it’s not so easy to beat Southampton.”

but I’m more concerned with their attacking abilities. I sincerely believe that with Aaron, Alexis, Larry and Mesut we have the guile and skills required to unlock the most resolute of defences, it’s whether we can be sufficiently alert and astute to nullify their threat on the counter. This is where the return of Le Coq is so important. His extra pace and the way he harasses and irritates the heck out of the opposition is vital to buying time for the rest of the lads to resume their starting positions manning the thin red line. More than that his interceptions often put us back on the attack after losing the ball which alters the balance of play so quickly, a perfect scenario for our fast thinking attacking players.

Three points and a barnstorming performance would suit me down to the ground. I’m giving up my radio show to watch this one, a move which has, in the past, met with less than unmitigated success, so I think I’m due a visit from the football fairy tonight. I do appreciate the line which all Arsenal blogs are supposed to toe is that the three points is all that matters – but come on. We aren’t train spotters. We don’t watch football for numbers, we watch for the thrills, the clenched, nervous sphincter, the groans and shrieks and the roaring around the house like a gorilla with a Carolina Reaper up its jacksie. We crave excitement and artistry and total football, so yes of course if things don’t work out I’ll take a 1 – 0, but I’m in the mood for something a little more spicy tonight, go on Arsenal, make my day.

chil

 

 

About steww

bass guitar, making mistakes, buggering on regardless.

155 comments on “Arsenal Versus Southampton: Feast Day

  1. We have come so close tonight. Can’t believe it’s still 0 – 0

    Like

  2. walcott with a couple of chance saved, alexis with a header saved and kos heads over in a great position

    Like

  3. Off the line, Larry having his shirt torn off his back – it’s all happening.

    Like

  4. Ouch. Bit of claret there.

    Like

  5. leicester 2 up,
    arsenal only team in top six not winning

    Like

  6. how long is this? Gamesmanship by Soton.

    Like

  7. 15 minutes plus stoppage time left, still 0-0

    Like

  8. This is our injury time clocking up here. Bloke is obviously hurt but his team needed the break they were on the ropes.

    Like

  9. come on Arsenal!!!

    Like

  10. cards glued in the pocket again.

    Like

  11. ref still not got a clue

    Like

  12. Foul after foul after foul

    Like

  13. got to be more than five mins injury time.

    Like

  14. Blatant elbow = drop ball????

    Like

  15. ref is an unashamed cunt

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Come on Arsenal,come on Arsenal, come on Arsenal!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. That fucking keeper. He’s like Spider Man

    Like

  18. payled the Flam, come on the Coq!!!

    Like

  19. coquelin on for flamini, only a five minutes left

    Like

  20. I won’t say it was luck but it hit his shoulder

    Like

  21. Unbelievable. After all the unpunished fouls he yellow cards Coq with his first touch of the ball. Simply unbelievable.

    Like

  22. Soton totally broke the Arsenal flow with gamesmanship, way more than five minutes, Mason’s gang will give four.

    Like

  23. ref can’t wait to dish out yellows to arsenal players, but southampton fouling all night but only one card, these refs don’t even try to hide their bias

    Like

  24. 6 minutes stoppage time to be played, that is the very least that there should be, there has been five subs and at least three and half minutes for that defenders injury, seems nothing for all the other small stoppages, what a fucking surprise

    Like

  25. This is torture.

    Like

  26. Just hope it was the ref getting boos and not the players.

    Like

  27. stupid referee

    we should have finished at least one of those chances.

    did i say stupid referee??? i hate when referees ruin games

    Like

  28. Not our night tonight. Created enough to win it by a mile but their keeper either made amazing saves or had the *cough* good fortune to be hit by the ball.
    Worst performance of the night by Lee Mason. Simply indefensible, shambolic, inconsistent and incompetent.

    Like

  29. FT: 0-0

    missed too many chances, had an awful ref, down to 4th and 5pts off top. Not a good day at all. Poor first half with too many misplaced passes, stepped it up well in the second half and created lots, but failed to take any of them.
    One thing I’d ask is why when Southampton players stood a foot in front of our players taking frees out the field did our players not have the cop on to just the free and hit them with it and roar at the ref to take action, far too fucking nice for our own good.
    Has to be said ref was a disgrace tonight, one of the most one sided performances I’ve seen all season.

    Like

  30. and to top it all Comedy Spurs go third. Anyway perhaps this will be the final bit of fire we need. As for Mason…
    Night Ed, night Steww.

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Arsenal going to have to go on a long winning run sometime very soon.

    Like

  32. why do we deciede to use the long ball when there is still 20 minutes to go? Are all the refs really that terrible? Why has Theo become so ineffective? Why was there only six minutes of extra time? Why?Why?Why? is football so shit I hate it!

    Liked by 1 person

  33. Mike Dean sends his love our way.
    Saints keeper has the game of his season.

    Oh and Arsenal played on Saturday, Southampton had a week off.

    Like

  34. Have Arsenal ever had a ref really biased in our favour?

    Answers on a postcard to Positively Arsenal.

    Like

  35. Romeu and Wanyama foul after foul after foul, no card, Coquelin carded ten seconds after coming on, Southampton one yellow, AFC 2.
    Only six minutes stoppage time, and despite time wasting in that six minutes none added,
    Southampton stopped AFC taking quick frees all night no action from ref
    Arsenal players made to move freekicks back a matter of inches more than once
    Giroud had his shirt ripped apart by being pulled but of course no penalty

    But of course there is no bias in English refs, no matter what the evidence is

    Liked by 1 person

  36. DC that is a question I have asked many times and on many different Arsenal sites, and as of yet no one has come up with a single game where a ref has been clearly bias in our favor, the best anyone can do is mention a soft penalty or a foul that was not called, isolated incidents in games, but not even the AAA/WOB have so far named a game where the ref gave us a game.

    Like

  37. Leicester City now 10pts clear of 5th place Man Utd, but I bet it will be Arsenal who get it in the neck from the media and pundits.

    Like

  38. This red got slated for not sending Coq off in Aug.
    This was his response. We see far too many refereeing performances like that.
    BUT, we had sufficient chances to put this one away. And our set pieces, and corners need a bit more work, to say the least, isn’t the aim to clear the first defender? I say this despite Giroud getting the shirt ripped off his body in front of the ref….again.
    But how is refereeing like that even tolerated…..despite what will be a media silence.
    That guy is not fit to referee, and I mean that in the impartiality, application of rules, and cardiovascular sense.
    Mike Dean for Spuds or City away anyone?

    Like

  39. Last time we won at the Etihad Deano was the referee Mandy – good call

    Like

  40. 3 bpl games without a goal, we are just not scoring enough this season, only scored 37 goals in 24 games

    Like

  41. Stop moaning PA. 14 games, 42 points to go. Teams will fall back to the norm. How many more worldies will Vardy score?

    Liked by 1 person

  42. It a long way back if you care to think that way.

    Like

  43. Maybe history will repeat itself at the Etihad, but being one of limited memory, I remember more clearly deans last performance …..for Chelsea against us….he was a bit like the ref this evening, but without the red cards of course.
    I am aware of fan bias , confirmation bias and all that, but Masons performance was shocking. Wanyama and Romeu could foul at will, oil and Alexis rotationally fouled at will, Coq gets carded first tackle. Gabriel…ok maybe deserved that.
    But refs aside, we did enough to win that game, and on another day, I am sure we will.

    Liked by 1 person

  44. Well that was disappointing. I was hoping for a late, late 1 nil to The Arsenal, but it wasn’t to be. Southampton worked hard for their point and got every break going from the officials, so we have to be grateful not to have lost. The first half continued a worrying trend lately of us not creating much, second half was much more like the old Arsenal and I hope to see more of that in the coming games. Alexis was man marked and got very little from Mason despite the multiple barges in the back, trips and pulls.

    I know a lot of people feel that we’ve missed Coquelin, but I think the player we are really missing is Santi Cazorla. There is no one else in the squad who can do what he does so well. The closest we have is Rosicky, but unfortunately we are not likely to see him again this season. Still, no point crying over spilt milk. We’ve lost ground in the title race with everyone else around us winning, but it’s not over yet and we’re not that far adrift. A couple of confidence building wins and we’re right back in it.

    Like

  45. leicester play city next, and then us, yet so many of our fans have thrown in the towel, its amazing that these kind of fans are the ones who like to call our players bottlers

    this line from Arseblog summed up tonights match very well

    With Lee Mason pulling the strings for Ronald Koeman’s side, Arsenal found it tough to build any rhythm

    Like

  46. Agree Cazorla is a massive loss. More than massive in fact. We have really suffered at losing key players, again….in contrast to Spurs and Leicester….what are they doing we are not? Are there learning points ?
    As for the officials, what is this sudden acceptance of pushing in the back, and other things?
    A bad night all round. But on other days , all will go in our favour, we can finish this season strongly, as others hopefully run out of steam.
    We still don’t have the full Alexis effect, hopefully that will come soon.
    But that aside, I am still shocked by that refereeing performance, and as someone who inhabits Untold arsenal, that is saying something.

    Like

  47. Wenger’s after game comments

    WENGER ON THE DRAW AND MISSED CHANCES

    Arsène Wenger addressed the media after his side’s 0-0 draw at home to Southampton.
    Here’s what he said:

    on frustration…
    It is, because we produced quite a good performance, especially in the second half when we cerated 10 goal chances. At the end of the day we came out with no goals. I believe the performance we wanted to produce was there, but we can not be happy with the way we finished our chances. I think what’s most disappointing is some players missed some chances that usually they would take. Our finishing is very bad at the moment – we have played three (league) games now without scoring a goal. In all those three games we had chances that we didn’t take. At that level it’s important.

    on the start…
    We started slowly but in the first half Ozil had two great chances. It’s true we started slowly, a bit nervous because we lost our last game at home. But in the second half it was one-way traffic. We still couldn’t score. We didn’t make enough of our set pieces, we didn’t take them well, we didn’t finish well. It’s just that our finishing was very poor.

    on Forster…
    He had a good game, a brilliant game, but you expect that. You rate the quality of the chances you create and the quality of the finishing. The quality of the chances we created today, considering it’s a Premier League game, was high. The quality of the finishing was poor. That differential explains the 0-0.

    on the frustration…
    It’s maximum frustrating, when your team puts the energy in and creates the chances. When you have no chances you come out of the game thinking ‘OK, there was not more in it.’ When you come out and you think there was much more in the game like that (tonight), when you have our ambition of course it’s frustrating.

    on the difference at the top…
    Leicester won again and now I am sure that everybody will take them very seriously, especially in the media, so they will be under pressure as well. But we have not to look too much at Leicester or Man City, we have to win football games. We have to focus on how to respond quickly and win our next game, that’s all we can do. It’s a dream to think you will catch the others if you do not win your games. In the past three games we have taken two points.

    on if the players are under pressure…
    No, honestly I don’t believe that. If we could not play, could not create chances I would say yes you are right. But (we had) practically 70 per cent possession today, and 22 shots on goal. Finishing is a bit cyclic, up and down, at the moment I must say it’s very down.

    on if he’s worried that Arsenal will tail off…
    Look, we’ll see at the end of the season. It’s too early to say that. It’s true that we’ve had a stutter gins tart in 2016. Our January was bad, starting from the last minute at Liverpool, and then at Stoke. Where we especially have a big deficit is in our two home games. We played with 10 men for the whole game against Chelsea and today we created 10 chances and didn’t score. That’s where we have the deficit at the moment. We have to catch that back and we have a difficult programme, especially away from home. We need to respond quickly away from home now.

    on if he should have signed a striker…
    If you knew a world-class striker who could have strengthened our team, you should have told me before the transfer deadline was over. They do not walk in the street and say ‘please, here is a world-class striker, can you take me?’ They are all at big clubs and are under contract. There were none available. We have Walcott, we have Giroud, we have Ozil, we have Alexis, we have Welbeck, who is coming back. If tonight we think a miracle man could have scored the goal for us, I think it’s better we think how can we score the goals with the players we have? We can score goals, we have shown that before.

    on if it was ‘one of those nights’…
    I don’t like ‘one of those nights’ because I would just like us to take the chances we created. We are all disappointed because we had enough chances to win the game and didn’t. The difference between the chances created and the goals scored is too big tonight.

    on how to make sure the players don’t have doubts…
    By reminding the players about what we want to achieve, how we can achieve it, and how much quality they have. Look, let’s not be over pessimistic as well. We have qualified in the FA Cup, we are in the Champions League, we have a big opportunity at the end of the month. We are still in the fight in the Premier League, so let’s as well be a bit realistic, even if we are very down tonight. I don’t hide that but I believe as well that top-quality people respond when they are in trouble. That’s a good way to do it.

    on if the England squad is moving in right direction…
    Yeah, especially with their goalkeepers.

    Copyright 2016 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to http://www.arsenal.com as the source

    Read more at http://www.arsenal.com/news/news-archive/20160202/wenger-on-the-draw-and-missed-chances#LQX5jtk6ZArkxQE2.99

    Like

  48. I don’t know if there is any truth in this but its claimed that in the tunnel after the game Wenger said to Mason “its always the same with you”

    Like

  49. Jackson Martinez the “world class” striker that in the summer the AAA/Wob demanded we sign, who has flopped at Atlético Madrid this season, has been sold to Chinese club Guangzhou Evergrande

    Like

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: