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Arsenal Versus Southampton : Bogeys In The Long Grass

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I’m having terrible trouble getting going this season. After a prolonged summer break recovering from the effects of the interminable internationals I crept from the long grass, blinking in the light of day, just in time to preview a routine victory against Watford. I was then immediately given the bum’s rush and booted back into touch once again. Why did they need to play more internationals so soon? It beats, as our American friends are so fond of saying, me. You might have thought they’d have learned their lesson, especially the English, following their débâcle en France.

It is, as a consequence, with heady sense of déjà vu, that I float the suggestion that our season proper starts today. Actually, I don’t think it is déjà vu because I’m pretty certain I said as much in my previous preview. Although if it were déjà vu I would think that wouldn’t I? Bloody awkward organ the brain.

Never mind all that. What matters as far as the stale and uninspiring football fodder we’ve been served since last we witnessed the real thing, is did our players come through their ordeals unscathed? All I can tell from Arsène’s remarks to the reptiles yesterday is that Ospina and Alexis didn’t get home until late on Thursday night, the implication being that they may be a little groggy still. With a big game on Tuesday evening one might be forgiven for  wondering if our Chilean action man may miss out today.

With Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain champing at the bit to prove himself this season and the Premiership’s most exciting young player, Alex Iwobi, back in the squad we are more than capable of filling the left flank of our attacking triumvirate, but it will still be a shame not to see our diminutive number seven. His first half display against Watford was a joy to watch. He wasn’t just fast, eager and full of running – let’s be fair any moderately healthy and enthusiastic young person can show willing and trot about a bit – but he linked exquisitely with team mates and really terrorised the home defence. Apart from one howler when he chose not to pass with Theo unmarked in the area and the keeper committed his decision making and passing were exemplary. It would have been wonderful to see him build on that, put Southampton to the sword and really make opponents sit up and take notice.

One of the advantages we used to have was players of whom other teams were properly scared. It’s a vital ingredient. I remember Tomáš Rosický scoring a goal against some side from the north. I think they were from the north anyway. They wore red. Possibly. I must confess my memory for the superficial details of life is a little lacking. Blame my great age. Either way my point is the space he created was due in part to the headless chicken act from the opposing defenders as they contemplated a certain French fox in their midst. Henry created room for his mates to exploit simply by being on the pitch. It’s an unmeasurable quality certain people bring to bear on a game often decided by slender margins. Suarez did it for Liverpool and made some fairly good but not spectacular players look very much better for a season. Heck he made Brendan Rodgers look like a half decent manager. Briefly.

I believe Alexis can be that kind of player for us. I think Mesut is the one they really ought to fear but his position on the pitch and his all round game are such that he tends to be the one passing the stiletto rather than sliding it between the ribs. It’s the pugnacious presence of Sanchez which really gets the defender’s attention and when he performs as he did for the first forty five at Vicarage Road they end up chasing shadows or just falling over.

Oops, I’ve done it again. I’ve ignored the laws of The Professional Transfer League and not been talking about the right players have I? No one wants to hear about yesterday’s chip papers when there are new kids on the block. The big question is which, if any, of our recent additions might play today.

Looking back, I  think Arsène has a tendency to bung defenders straight onto the grill and see how they sizzle. In contrast I believe he prefers to ease his strikers more carefully into the side. If we take Eduardo as the template he started a lot of cup games but wasn’t the immediate first choice in the league. Of course this is a blog and in common with all other football blogs is based on wild assumption, unsubstantiated guesswork and amateur opinion. If my mind has done me a disservice I apologise. I was simply pulling some vague notions from the dusty, cobwebbed, crumbling back room of my memory to support the hypothesis that while we might see poor Noddy Holding reduced to an also ran despite as good a start to an Arsenal career as one could ever hope to see, I doubt that señor Perez will join Herr Mustafi in the starting line up at 3pm.

I just feel that while we are still bedding in a new midfield linchpin, altering our back five and adjusting to life without Aaron and (potentially) Alexis too, throwing another new face into the mix could only be disruptive and unhelpful. But what on earth do I, you or any of us know about it? Luckily enough, while we fill the hours before kick off with idle speculation, there is a man who makes such decisions for us and all we really need to do is sit back and watch the show.

It needs to be a better show than any we saw against the Saints last season that’s for certain. While their inability to win a league game at the Emirates disqualifies them from being a bona fide bogey team they have been a right royal douleur dans le dos. In fact we’ve only won once in our previous six matches against them in all competitions. The shocking nature of their victory on boxing day when a win would have put us on top of the league still causes me to push my spoon around the mulligatawny in a disconsolate manner (if that match happens to pop into my mind over dinner that is). We simply must do better today. I don’t subscribe to the idea that we can lose too much ground in September but two home defeats on the bounce is seldom title winning form.

I shall not, however, entertain such negative thoughts this morning and I adjure you to abstain from the same. Let us instead anticipate the return of our brave boys from the far flung reaches of the globe, welcome the new faces and eagerly anticipate a similar display to that with which Watford were so comprehensively dismantled. If you’re going to the game I hope you get your money’s worth, if like me you’re confined to the watching on  the small screen, I’ll see you here at 3pm.

About steww

Arsenal, books, photography, bass guitar, dog walking, mountain biking, being on the radio, writing, talking too much, failing, making mistakes, buggering on regardless.

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143 comments on “Arsenal Versus Southampton : Bogeys In The Long Grass

  1. what are the widening cracks that were papered over today or was i watching another match?

    saw a comment about widening cracks being papered over on the BBC… saw comments that Southampton were the better side and had better chances
    yet it is arsenal that scored the 3 goals in the match?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. seeing the hate for Arsenal from Chris Sutton on BBC makes the win all the sweeter.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. JB™ ‏@gunnerpunner 12m12 minutes ago
    The best thing about that game was how we didn’t put the ball out for Long or Koscielny.

    totally agree with this, it drives me mad when we stop play cos someone is down on the ground, its up to the ref to stop play, otherwise play on.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Orbinho ‏@Orbinho 13m13 minutes ago
    Arsenal managed just two shots on target today.

    Like

  5. so we had a debut day assist from Lucas, a worldie over head kick goal from kos, and an injury time penalty winner, and still the malcontents whinge. Its great.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. It looked very much like what you would expect from a post international game with 2 new starters. A little slow and wayward passing, but it was also the stuff of champions according to the old saying ‘grinding out a win when not at your best’. I’m happy with that, don’t know or care about what the malcontents have to say.

    Liked by 4 people

  7. Nearly a bloody catastrophe there

    I managed to get the early train though

    Liked by 2 people

  8. To be entirely fair to my fellow supporters almost no one left today before the end – right to the last whistle everyone there and noisy

    Liked by 3 people

  9. So we won with a penalty in the 4th minute of added-on time. What are we? ManU?

    If things like this are going to be allowed to happen, we’ve got the title sewn up already.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Entertaining game. Was dreading it would be one of those days with the final touch missing but a fair referee is all we need. Did a good job I thought with most decisions including the penalty.

    We were a bit off in parts thanks to the first game after internationals I suppose and new players with some of the passing sequences were fantastic.

    I thought Theo was really good.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. I also thought was really good t title a little over eagle but we will take that along with him finding his pre-major injury form.. i still remember him in that game against spurs where he got injured. . he is approaching it…

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  12. it never ceases to amaze me to see supposed Arsenal supporters going out of their way to find fault with Arsenal, today its laughable to see so many claim that “no way was that a penalty”, and the scapegoating of Walcott has reached new levels, as for me he had a fine game, in fact he was one of the few of our players to play well, and he really put in a shift. I think all that was missing for a lot of the malcontents was Ramsey to blast and of course us dropping points, then they would have had a great day.

    Liked by 3 people

  13. a pundit(Andy Reid) today on TodayFM radio actually said

    “Arsenal are two quality players short of challenging for the title”

    oh and he said it was two quality attacking players we need

    Like

  14. After reading many of the big Arsenal twitter accounts slag their own team for winning I noted the following:
    “Jeezus. How many times have Arsenal played poorly and lost after an intl break? Our Twitter experts slagging the team for winning. Credible?”

    Liked by 5 people

  15. its odd that when we totally outplayed southapton at home last season, but ended up with a 0-0 the big bloggers went to town on the team, for not winning, and now we win a scrappy game, they are still going to town on the team, it seems “result is all that matters” is only all that matters when we don’t get the result, but when we do, “performance matters”

    Liked by 3 people

  16. ‘WE THREW EVERYTHING FORWARD’

    Arsène Wenger admits there was an element of relief after we scored a late, late penalty to beat Southampton on Saturday.

    Take a look at some of his quotes from the post-match press conference:

    on the manner of the win…
    Look, we had a little bit of a slow start and after 20 minutes we were 1-0 down, so we came back well into the game and we had a good response. In the second half I felt we dominated well again and created many dangerous situations but couldn’t score. Because we threw everything forward we were always a little bit under threat on the counter-attack of Southampton and in the end we got the penalty, so it’s a relief. When you lose your first home game, you cannot afford to drop points in the second home game because it creates a little bit of anxiety at home and that’s not what we really want.

    on the squad’s maturity…
    It is a win after Watford, that is two wins together. If we can put a few wins together, of course that will help us to be more confident and to get to a very fluent level like we want to play.

    on the penalty decision…
    I haven’t seen it again on video. They tell me in the dressing room it was a penalty, 100 per cent penalty. Have you seen it again on video? I haven’t. There were maybe one or two on corners before, I don’t know. But I’ll watch it again, I promise you. It’s difficult for me to give you an opinion.

    on Koscielny…
    Koscielny has a problem with his face. He’s with the doctor now. I haven’t spoken to him yet, but it is very swollen.

    on Ancelotti’s comments on possession football…
    Everybody is free to play football. At the end of the day, you need players that are well positioned on the pitch. It is true, if they are mobile and exchange their positions, it is better.

    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 sourc

    Read more at http://www.arsenal.com/news/news-archive/20160910/-we-threw-everything-forward-#OiY7miWQkf4jpo5Z.99

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  17. on the penalty decision, for me it was a double penalty, Fonte first of all had a major handful of Giroud shirt, he even dragged him, and then he tripped him up with a flying boot too, and I’m certain any pundit or arsenal fan or blogger calling it lucky or even “never a penalty”, are being disingenuous and would if it was the other way round be saying 100% penalty, and stupid and headless from the defender and Arsenal have no one to blame but themselves.

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  18. This actually made me laugh… couldn’t help it, maybe cos I just really think the price paid for him was outrageous…

    Pogba Since Returning To United
    -3 Different Hairstyles
    -200 Instagram Videos
    -5 Dabs
    -2 Fancy Handshakes
    -8 Long Shots, Zero On Target
    -0 goals
    -0 assists
    Player.

    Liked by 3 people

  19. We took time to bind into the game. They got a lucky goal which added to the pressure. However like Arsene said I thought we dominated the second half with much of it and also parts of the first with 21 players in Southampton’s half.

    Plenty on last ditch defending from them and some miss hit shots/passes by us kept them in it.

    I thought Mesut didn’t have his best game for us and his normally silky touch let him down a couple of time.

    Cazorla was immense.

    Liked by 3 people

  20. Sky Football ⚽️ ‏@SkyFootball Sep 8
    Paul Merson’s predictions: Man Utd to beat Man City, Tottenham to slip up at Stoke – http://skysports.tv/frb6qW

    Like

  21. Yippee kay yae!

    Like

  22. So: how many Experts will rightfully acknowledge that after an international week Coquelin starting in the rough and tumble of the PL ahead of Xhaka coming in for the PSG game on Tuesday was obviously the right call?

    Don’t hold your breath!

    Liked by 2 people

  23. WENGER – MY VERDICT ON THE NEW BOYS

    Shkodran Mustafi and Lucas made their Premier League debuts on Saturday – and did enough to suggest they will be significant additions to our squad.

    Arsène Wenger gave his verdict on the new boys in his post-match press conference. Here’s what he said:

    ‘We threw everything forward’
    Santi on his penalty and Koscielny
    Arsenal 2-1 Southampton – Report

    on the new signings…
    I feel both are short [of fitness] a bit, they lack competition and their second half was much better than their first half. They were a bit surprised by the pace and the commitment of the Premier League [but] they will adapt to that. As well, they were a bit on their nerves in the first half. In the second it was much better.

    on if it’s easier for an attacker to adapt…
    It’s much easier.

    on if Lucas will take time to adapt…
    He has had one game in La Liga, and then he didn’t play many more because they knew he would go. Mustafi has only played one half since the start of the season with Valencia, so they are missing games.

    on if they will feature in the Champions League…
    I have to decide that. We will see how everyone is tomorrow morning. For Tuesday, we might just have Gibbs coming back, who was not in the squad today. It’s possible they are in the squad.

    Read more at http://www.arsenal.com/news/news-archive/20160910/wenger-my-verdict-on-the-new-boys#o5DqxYOXPisXRU7J.99

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  24. arsenal getting more criticism for a 2-1 win than man utd are getting for a 2-1 defeat

    Liked by 2 people

  25. 3 away games now, in 3 different competitions, PSG(CL), Hull(BPL), N Forrest(EFL)

    Like

  26. howard webbs view of the penalty

    “I can say now I don’t think it’s a penalty,”

    “Do i feel for Jose Fonte? Yes I do. Do I like him as a player? I do aswell, I’ve reffed him many time, I think he’s a decent guy on the pitch.”

    just confirms what we already knew about howard webb when it comes to arsenal

    Liked by 2 people

  27. Seems like they look at the player committing the foul and try to judge whether he meant it rather than judging the actual foul.

    Liked by 3 people

  28. FT: RasenBallsport Leipzig 1 – 0 Borussia Dortmund

    Like

  29. Guess what Barca just lost to a newly promoted side. They even had their first choice attack on for the last half an hour and barely created anything. Also Alaves had what seemed like a perfectly good goal ruled out.

    What do you know, even the best can lose sometimes. And we won today.

    I just read a comment where an Arsenal fan was’sad’at the way we won. Idiots.

    Liked by 5 people

  30. Özil: 2/2 tackles, one block, 4 created chances, 86% accurate passes, 75% accurate crosses. Not that bad, obviously…

    Liked by 3 people

  31. afcstuff@afcstuff
    Laurent Koscielny is Arsenal’s highest scoring defender in Premier League history with 16 goals. #afc

    Liked by 2 people

  32. If you don’t think it’s the best day ever when you convert a slightly contentious penalty deep into injury time to win the game then you have no flipping idea what supporting a team is all about.
    All together now: oh Santi Cazorla!

    Liked by 6 people

  33. Kelechi Nwakali ‏@Kelechi_nwakali 8h8 hours ago
    Have Arrived in the Netherlands🙌⚽️

    Liked by 1 person

  34. why can’t Arsenal play free flowing expansive football against teams like, Southampton today, that play with packed defenses.
    also why don’t we stop defensive teams from getting breakaways when we push extra men into attack to try and break down the parked bus defenses.

    by the way, I know the answers to both questions, I was just asking for all those that seem confused by it. As there seems to be a lot of them out there, even some of the big bloggers, yeah I kid you not.

    Like

  35. Osman ‏@OsmanZtheGooner 39m39 minutes ago
    Mourinho spent years convincing everyone of a campaign vs Chelsea. Just a month into his United career, suddenly it’s campaign vs United

    Like

  36. mirror reporting that ozil and alexis are close to signing new 5 year deals

    Liked by 2 people

  37. so what did wright, shearer and lineker have to say about afc

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  38. Sometimes the points are more important than the performance……a good days work, especially as it has clearly upset the malcontents. Some good mental strength in the end as well, though apparently our players do not possess that.
    Hopefully the Jose/utd wankfest will be curtailed a bit, they had an easy start to the season even by their standards, come up against a decent team, they lose. Both Utd and City showed significant flaws in their game today. Despite what the media say, it is all to play for.

    Liked by 3 people

  39. I think Jose Fonte has been disingenuous when he suggests that Giroud did not know why the penalty was given, seeing as it was clear that Giroud appealed for the penalty, he clearly looked at the ref and raised his arms looking for the foul to be given. If he did as Fonte claims, ask who did the ref call the foul against, then maybe he was just rubbing Fonte’s face in it, a bit like asking what is the score when you are winning.

    Liked by 2 people

  40. Thanks Steww once again for the excellent preview! I thought we handled the triple challenge this game well! Integrating 2 new players, coming off an international break with a CL game days later was no easy task. I thought all played well, Santi and Frankie C were amazing and Monreal right there also. Mesut did not have his usual Velcro touch but still did great.

    As for the penalty, karma’s a bitch Saints, last year their first goal was offside, the second Long tripped Koz and if I remember correctly there was an issue with the 3rd goal also.

    I watched the manc derby, I agree with Mandy, we have no reason to think we can’ t beat either of these teams.

    Bonne fête Laurent! Wishing him all the best….

    Liked by 5 people

  41. New post up

    Like

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