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Arsenal Versus Southampton: Wither Young Yaya?

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I probably don’t need to tell you what happened the last time we played Southampton in this competition. What did surprise me however was to discover that the match took place more than two years ago. I believe this is a common problem as one gets older, the memory plays tricks and our understanding of time contracts and stretches in an alarming fashion. This probably explains how I can still name the first eleven from 1970 / 71 season without breaking sweat but struggle to recall what the hell has happened to Yaya Sanogo.

Talking of Yaya we could well do with someone of his stature in the squad right now especially in light of Olivier Giroud’s injury. There is, for an old fashioned chap like me, nothing so comforting as seeing a couple of big handy blokes on the pitch. Silly and counter intuitive when you look at the diminutive stature of some of the world’s greatest ever players, but it’s there nonetheless.

It probably has something to do with the traditional significance of set piece goals in the English game. We all feel vulnerable when the opposition has a corner and so there is solace in the presence of a hefty header of the ball in our area, especially if he’s the kind of chap who is equally dangerous up the other end.

This is in all likelihood one of the reasons many of us felt a little more secure with our no nonsense makeshift right back on Sunday. After coming on for the desperately unfortunate Matt Debuchy, Gabriel didn’t do much wrong to my eyes and he brought us extra threat and extra protection. It was however his nifty footwork and crisp passing which surprised a few of the Arsenal faithful and I for one would be happy to see him there in future – assuming Jenks recovery is being handled with care. Having said all that he must be favourite to start at centre back tonight given the partnership he has formed with Noddy Holding during this year’s League Cup campaign.

At the weekend I took the bold and brash step of predicting victory in my pre-match ramble. I did so because I’m always honest with you about how I feel before a game. You may not be overly surprised to learn that I’m not experiencing quite the same confidence  in the result this evening. Not that we can’t beat Southampton, of course we can. We’ve done it before and can do so again. The problem lies with the make up of the sides.

Their first team is in fine fettle right now. Organised at the back, slick in midfield and with some sharp players up front. If they field a strong team and we put out a patchwork quilt of youth teamers and second choice first teamers there is no question that they should be favourites.

Given the strength of our first team squad we can of course start with a pretty strong eleven and still rest a few of our tip top best quality star turns. The problem is that they won’t have put in much time together on the pitch and so much will depend on how quickly they settle on the night.

All of that notwithstanding I’m still excited about the match. This is a competition in which it doesn’t sting as much to lose but is still great fun to win. While no one wants to lose any game and naturally we want the second string players to progress as far as possible thus gaining valuable match sharpness for when they are called upon to take part in the more heavyweight matches, going out has never been the end of the world. Except perhaps when we lost in the final that last time. I must confess that one did smart a bit.

A glance at the form table shows the Saints only winning one from their last five games. This may be a little deceptive as their previous two matches saw them gain a creditable draw with over achieving Jurgen Klopp’s Flying Circus and beat an Everton side which had until then been doing rather well. As we all know league and cup form are seldom related so apart from padding I’m not sure what I hoped to achieve with this paragraph.

According to the club website the game isn’t being televised so many of you will be listening on Arsenal Player which will be an interesting experience for you. Others will no doubt discover the delight of the foreign stream. If you’ve followed my advice and installed the Sopcast Player then the Russian and Spanish streams tend to be the best quality and the most stable but there are good Android links available too so if you have a tablet check out social media just before the game and you should be fine.

If you’re at the ground then I suppose none of that has any relevance but I mention it in the spirit of public service. So here’s to a victory, progression to the semi finals, a solid recovery for Lucas Perez and game time for the other understudies. And if anyone does happen to bump into Yaya, tell him I’m thinking of him.

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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90 comments on “Arsenal Versus Southampton: Wither Young Yaya?

  1. Poor. And these injuries seem to be mounting up again.
    A final sting in Novembers tail?

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  2. I anticipate a very lively opening to the 2nd half. Much too pedestrian. Plenty of time.

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  3. Not much to write home about tonight.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. it might be no harm if elney has to go off, as his partnership with coquelin is not working out very well.
    Once again Reine-Adelaide is doing things that have you saying wow, but then wondering where he is most of the time.
    Wenger said before the game we would see a new and improved Jenkinson, sadly it just has not worked out that way at all. I expected more from Ramsey

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  5. HT: man utd 1-1 west ham

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  6. Ramsey slips as he shoots 8 yards out, ball goes straight to the keeper

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  7. Great start to the second half.

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  8. Martinez having another good game.

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  9. did i just jinx martinez

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  10. ox and maitland-niles getting ready to come on

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  11. Easy to say that from here Eddy. I never think the players don’t care or want to try.

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  12. maitland-niles on for jenkinson

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  13. the ball does not stick with lucas the way it does with giroud

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  14. ox fires over from inside the area. 12 minutes plus stoppage time to play, starting to run out of time here

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  15. Leaving it a bit late

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  16. 4 minutes stoppage time to save this game, not likely

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  17. we are not very good with corners

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  18. FT: 0-2

    awful first half cost us the game

    much improved second half, better tempo and energy levels.

    overall southampton deserved to win.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Was hoping for better, but hay-ho. And on we go.

    Liked by 2 people

  20. Positively Arsenal ‏@Blackburngeorge 6m6 minutes ago Blackburn, England
    I understood the line up. less so the shape. If we played until Saturday we wouldn’t have scored.
    On we march tho

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  21. Ah well, it was always going to be tough against Southampton, but given the injuries mounting up, I think Arsene made a sensible call not to risk too many first team players when we have bigger fish to fry.

    Liked by 3 people

  22. we play again on saturday, we made 10 changes from the weekend, and the one player who we did not change, got injured, but wenger should have fielded far more first team players

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  23. Semi-final draw

    Manchester United vs Hull

    Southampton vs Liverpool

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  24. Does anyone here know how much it costs to go tonight and whether it was part of the season ticket allocation?

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  25. as far as i know league cup are not part of season ticket, and its normally a £10 ticket

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  26. James OlleyVerified account
    ‏@JamesOlley
    Wenger says Elneny was sick before the game and felt ill after 5-10 minutes.

    then why select him

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  27. hopefully southampton lose the semi final, as we are due to play them the day before the eflc final

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  28. Wenger on Sanogo: “He has a confidential problem. Not a secret problem. I’m not a specialist enough to explain. It is not life threatening.”

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  29. Wenger “@ElNennyM was sick before the game and I could see after 10 minutes that he wasn’t right. He has no injury but he has a stomach problem”

    Wenger 🗣 “We didn’t have enough urgency in the first half, we were weak in some departments and we paid for that”

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  30. 4 away games in our next 6

    West Ham A
    FC Basel A
    Stoke H
    Everton A
    Man City A
    West Brom H

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  31. afcstuff ‏@afcstuff 20m20 minutes ago
    Wenger confirms that Olivier Giroud could be back from his groin problem for Saturday’s trip to West Ham. #afc

    afcstuff ‏@afcstuff 24m24 minutes ago
    Wenger on Cazorla’s Achilles ‘inflammation’: “It is stable.”

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  32. If it wasn’t for Passenal I have no confidence in getting a decent night’s sleep…..

    Liked by 1 person

  33. Richard ‏@R_GOONER 14m14 minutes ago
    The evening finished with a whimper and wasn’t inspiring. But it started remembering a team that didn’t make it to their match. Perspective

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  34. ‘WE DIDN’T HAVE THE RIGHT URGENCY’

    What were the reasons for our 2-0 EFL Cup quarter-final defeat by Southampton?
    Arsène Wenger faced the media after the game and discussed the result, his team’s lack of urgency and his team selection.

    on the performance…
    We had a disappointing performance, especially in the first half. We gave ourselves a mountain to climb. We were not good enough defensively and gave cheap goals away in the first half. In the second half it was better but it was one of these nights where we looked like we could play for two hours without scoring a goal. We didn’t have enough urgency in the first half, we were weak in some departments and we paid for that.

    on his frustration at the result…
    We were not incisive enough in the first half, especially. In the second half they played very deep and were sharper than us. With a two-goal advantage, everybody defended very well. If you give a handicap of two goals in the first half against a Premier League team, it’s difficult.

    on his team selection…
    I have regrets on having lost the game. I think we have played well until now and when you look at the players who have played tonight, some of the players who didn’t play tonight were on the edge. When you look at the team we played, in midfield we had Coquelin, Ramsey, Elneny, afterwards Xhaka. Up front we had Lucas, Giroud was injured. We had Iwobi, who is a regular player in the first team. I don’t think the problem was there – we had players who are used to top-level competition but I think we maybe didn’t have the right urgency from the start on.

    Read more at http://www.arsenal.com/news/news-archive/20161130/-we-didn-t-have-the-right-urgency-#3mTpBRUKdEtrvtrq.99

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  35. Francis ‏@Flanchich 2h2 hours ago
    Same meaningless Cup Wenger got OG and Theo injured last season and many of u abused him for rhat.. now abusing him for resting players haha

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  36. Tim,

    The match was not included in season ticket allocation.

    Our mixed group including well behaved Southampton fans got our tickets at twenty two squid a pop, could’ve been cheaper I think though I could be wrong. I shall be writing to the AST shortly…

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  37. New post up

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