Maidin mhaith Positivistas,
That was easy on the eye eh ? All the more so because, at 5.30 yesterday evening I rather fancied we were in for (another) battle at St Mary’s and I would have signed the form accepting the draw with no prompting. Saints riding on a wave of achievement after their Anfield win and a solid home record. Arsene choosing to rest a couple of our bigger guns. It looked “difficult”. After about ten minutes I thought both sides had started well, speedy movement and pass well struck. Both looking for that “opening” and important first goal. And yet by the 36th minute the contest was over. It was damage-control from the hosts in the second half and even that they fell down on toward the end. 5-0 for goodness sake, and five goals with Giroud at the shops, Ozil God knows where and Sanchez only allowed 25 minutes. By 7.20 I had watched THE most one sided game we have engaged in since squashing Basel.
Ultimately it is players, and what they do and don’t do individually and collectively, that decide games. Our youngsters at St Mary’s were Ainsley, Jeff and Rob all enjoyed excellent evenings. Did any of them put a foot wrong al evening ? Well if they did they immediately chased back and put the error right. It probably should not be but the job did Jeff the middle of the park was a revelation. For a youngster ( he just turned 19 last week) it was a confident, strong performance. I had seen in his occasional other games on the wings he has a good touch and a knack of finding a spare yard of space. To manage that in a crowded midfield as he did for 72 minutes is much more of a challenge, and I see he can tackle. I have no idea what Arsene has in mind for Jeff, probably a season on loan, but he is already an interesting player, a proverbial football work in progress. With a few more games under his belt, a little more confidence in his stride, he could be a mighty asset. We shall see.
Having extolled the excellence of Reine-Adelaide picking out other notable contributions in such a crushing win is difficult. The Ox definitely deserves praise for a creative midfield effort that cut Saints to shreds all evening. Danny’s opening goals announced his holiday is over and he is back in town and pressing for a start. I really enjoyed Lucas and his 90 minutes of quality last night, not just a finisher but some lovely link play and touches in the final third. As I said elsewhere Lucas would walk into all but one or two PL sides at the moment. Mustafi had a good evening. The appropriate word for the German is influential.
I cannot say much in Saints’ defence. As one of the commentators said last night perhaps they can only cope with one Cup per season. I appreciate they had injury problems and needed to rotate but the team that performed so well against us at the Ems in the League Cup was not so different from the players Puel had available last night. Yochida, Bertrand, Redmond and Tadic were sat on their bench – and did Fraser Foster really need a weekend off ? The “fatigue” suffered by goalkeepers is a purely second decade of the 21st century phenomenon. I imagine, despite their good week, the home fans felt a bit let down by the thrashing.
Just a short break until we take on Watford on Tuesday. I think almost, bar Santi, Arsene has a full squad to choose from. A few dilemmas perhaps ?