Arsenal breeze at St Mary’s


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 ?


Enjoy Sunday!

39 comments on “Arsenal breeze at St Mary’s

  1. The old fart’s thoughts
    Nothing wrong with a 5-0 away win, partially avenging the 1-0 (+ 3 offside goals) defeat suffered last year.
    “Partially” as it was a little worrying seeing our midfield (Ox, Jeff and Ainsley) looked somewhat inexperienced, but against a Saints team that was even more so, many injuries plus a near total team change from that played against ‘Pool in the week, they were splendid. The Ox in particular stood out for 90 minutes and to my mind was MOM. What with Danny and Theo making starts together with Rob Holding, Kieran, Lucas and Oosp, we were a class and a half ahead of a poor Saints side. Danny in particular was like a young colt running everywhere and scoring twice prior to laying on Theo’s first; his two goals coming from lovely passes from Lucas and the Ox.
    Bar a couple of misunderstandings between Skhodran and Oosp, the defence was very sound and young Rob bottled up the threat of Long with no problems.
    On the hour, Alexis joined the fray and went on to show how unselfish he is by laying on two more goals for Theo.
    All in all, a very enjoyable and relaxed evening especially for Steve Bould who must have been fully aware of AW checking things out from the stand.
    A repeat of this for our next two games would certainly not go amiss. Keep the faith.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. It was a treat. Extremely rare for us to go up against a side who don’t see fouling as an important part of the gameplan and especially a side who don’t resort to stronger fouls when really up against it. The ref was also unusually good- calling back play at least twice for smallish fouls which were nevertheless clear fouls. That’s almost unprecedented for us. Meant the game could be enjoyed to the full with no worries about filth and no annoying shite from ref.

    It turned out that as well as having a much stronger defence and attack, our midfield also played much better than theirs, when on paper it looked like their extra bit of experience in the middle might cause a problem.

    Nope, no problems, just a very enjoyable game.

    I thought the Jeff faded slightly after an amazing start while Maitland Niles got better the longer it went, Holding just did what he seems to do- confident, quality play with barely a misstep. Ox was great, Perez excellent, Wellbeck remarkably good, Theo a nice hat-trick, Mustafi exuding the authority and class which has quickly made him a favourite for me.

    Is that four different hat-trick scorers- Ozil, Perez, Sanchez, Walcott- without Giroud getting in on the act yet? A record for us?

    Proper firepower this year.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. excellent review Andy,
    Ironically I thought our two goalscorers wern’t anywhere near our best players with so many outshining them. The Ox and Lucas we both excellent and like you said all the youngsters we solid as well. The first teamers gelled with the squad players much better in this game than in the league cup although I was worried in the first ten minutes when a few passes were going astray not because of poor execusion but because of misunderstanding.
    Jeff finally showed a full game of the potential he has shown in flashes since he arrived and the confidence we knew he had since making de-bryne dizzy at that friendly game at the emirates. I thought Danny has still not the full power back and he was pushed offf the ball abit to easily a few times but his finishing is excellent and he is only going to get better and stronger.
    I think this game proved what we all knew when we have a fully fit squad we can beat anyone and on a regular basis. The next games will be difficult to manuver but we are in better shape now than we have been for a while now.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Thanks Andy, and glad you enjoyed the way our lesser-known names played. Seeing the youngsters come through (and watching them in the reserve and age-group games) is surely one of the best aspects of following a team. Or at least it is for me. I first saw Jeff R-A in an Emirates Cup match about 18 months ago when he played Theo in for the winning goal and agree that he seems to have it all in terms of skill and build: the next few years will show whether he has the mental toughness and desire to match.
    It was a strange Arsenal game to watch, as for once the opposition allowed us to play without resorting to the dark arts; as a result the result was never in doubt. However, despite the genius of Bould’s selection – six names on the team sheet for a three man midfield was always likely to prove too strong for single-barrelled Saints – I am sure we will see the older pros back in action on Tuesday. Mind you, a front four of of Welbeck, Ozil, Walcott and Alexis might well give a few defenders headaches in the.coming months. I can but dream

    Liked by 2 people

  5. It also occurred to me that watching the game from an elevated position in the stand, but still able to send orders and observations to the bench is probably a better bet than being stuck at ground level where it is harder to see the patterns of play.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. Thanks Andrew, great summary.

    Agree with all, hard to pinpoint the best (or worst) players, a tremendous team performance and the fact we were purring from Minute One rather than Fifty One was significant – and a point Theo alluded to, post-match.

    The Jeff has been my most watched player since Bellerin took off under Under 18 skies. JRA has looked like a young Diaby since his first run out and I think he’s a special talent, already well established in the French national team’s U21’s. I would not be surprised if he does not go out on loan, I suspect he’ll be one of Arsene’s special projects. M-Niles also impressed in midfield in ways he didn’t do so much previously when playing in defence.

    But man of the match was Oxlade-C – the one player who’s defence splitters meant no one missed – let alone mentioned – the missing Mesut. I rarely ‘give up’ on players but I really felt 2015’s Ox had the look of a player almost permanently distracted and simply not at the races. Has his play benefitted from close-up exposure to the world class Ozil? He looks strong, fit and incisive and I take my hat off to him, the best I’ve seen him for quite some time.

    When’s the draw – Monday? Can’t wait!

    Liked by 6 people

  7. Spuds next round?


  8. Of course.


  9. Nice summation Andy.
    We have learned that Arsenal’s strengths in depth is a fair bit more advanced than most other PL clubs.


  10. How many of the boys deserve a second crack at the team for Watford?


  11. I am glad someone mentioned Theo. Three good goals, especially the first which was a most UnTheo-like goal with him muscling a defender out of the way on the edge of the 6 yard box. I remember that, and his two other goals, and a very handy clearance he made near the end when Sims was teeing up a shot in our box. Again most UnTheo-like to pop up on the edge of our 6 yard box to get a boot in.

    The other 87 minutes or so I admit I did not register Theo or am I being too harsh on our hat-trick scorer ?


  12. anicoll5 You are correct in you assessment TW 6 sucessful passes 3 shots on target is pretty much his contribution .
    But you have to acknowledge he did a lot of covering and classic Bobby Pires Passing lane ‘hole’ blocking.
    But some people say he does not have a football brain.
    So you are not allowed to give him credit for any of that.

    Liked by 4 people

  13. *successful
    I can spell a bit.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. IMHO Arsenal have some of the most rounded footballers in world football.
    I say footballers as the players and the manager are constantly criticised because they are rounded footballers instead of Left-backs or Right winger etc.
    Specialists in another word, now with football being a living entity, constantly changing in a constant state of flux, you have to ask yourself a question.
    Specialists, pure footballers or a mixture ?

    Liked by 2 people

  15. I personally prefer a mix, but weighted to pure footballers, with at least one play maker in each line.


  16. Can’t argue with that.
    Don’t want to either.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Fair point WWWB – as I said Theo stepping in to deny Saints a good goalscoring chance near the end was quite a sight !!


  18. Anothe very small but interesting point I saw last night was after about 30 minutes and the OX was dribbling diagonally across midfield, about 15 yards from the Saints box.

    There were players crowded around from both sides, he lost close possession and the ball ran free with a Saints midfielder just nicking a foot on it, and neither side really had the ball under control.

    What expected is that the Ox would slide in, make a lunge, to get the ball back. And we all know what happens if you lunge in, natural reaction though it might be.

    Not a bit – AOC stood up and let the ball go.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. great Post, well up to the standards we have come to expect from you anicoll.

    There is very little to add as you have covered the game and the players so well, and the earlier comments have added piquancy to the debate too.

    The Jeff was injured in a tackle during the second half, when we were coasting, so that might explain his slowing down, and the decision to sub him.

    The Oxo Kid was playing in the position he prefers and which AW said he thought was his best position, and boy did he come good, spraying passes hither and thither as if he had been doing it for ever. We must keep him – the adverse rumours have probably unsettled him — and me!

    Referring back to the refereeing concerns – I watched the Betis v Barça game and for some reason the Spanish FA have not allowed goal line technology, and both the referee and the assistant ref missed a ball that went 2 feet over the line before being cleared by a defender and should have been a goal.

    Bias? No. Just rubbish recalcitrance from the Spanish FA. Ludicrous in fact!

    Liked by 2 people

  20. The football yesterday was excellent but I wouldn’t get carried away. There have been previous examples of very promising young Arsenal teams in the cups but similar selections failed to thrive in the PL. As I will demonstrate tomorrow in my new blog, one key element in their ability to succeed is the refereeing. It was interesting to note that once Arsenal was two goals up the referee decided he could freely blow the whistle on routine fouls by the Saints that go unpunished in the PL. Reine-Adelaide was the beneficiary on one incident in particular where he was pushed, the advantage given but two-passes later when possession was lost, the ref stopped the game for the original foul. I was incredulous. Never saw that before.

    It was a classic piece of refereeing from the PGMOB school. Go with the tide. Hold the whistle for critical decisions. As I will demonstrate tomorrow, the key decisions are usually unfavorable to Arsenal.


  21. Shotta
    6 wins and a hard fought away draw since the team’s last defeat at Man City. momentum is returning.


  22. good point shotta about how the ref changed his “game management” as the PGMOL call it, once we were in full control. That the whistle does not blow so kindly when games are in the balance is for me the biggest sign that the PGMOL are trying to subtly decide the outcome of games. we seen it at Everton with one of the better refs in charge – clattenburg – how he allowed the foot to be left in on our players right from the off, xhaka and ozil boot done in the first couple of minutes, of course no such leeway is allowed when any of our players commit a foul or are a bit naughty. That was a night that Clattenburg fully bought into the “get in their faces” as a legit tactic to stop Arsenal. It is just not right.

    Sutton utd have taken the lead v Leeds Utd, now wouldn’t it be nice to have Arsenal v Sutton utd at the Emirates in a few weeks time. still 35 minutes to play so might be a bit early to suggest a giant killing just yet.


  23. Leeds the victim of a terrible refereeing decision on the Sutton penalty

    According to Leeds fans anyway ……30 minutes to go


  24. any PC/Internet experts on here, I’m having awful trouble with my internet. The provider – 3 Ireland – say the problem is not on their side. i’ve been having trouble connecting since Wednesday.

    Google chrome freezes almost instantly.
    I am currently only able to connect to Postively Arsenal using google chromium, and even then the only way is to open up chromium and try and access PA, it fails to load, I then switch off the pc without closing chromium and start the pc again, chromium opens with PA loaded.

    I can post sometimes and other times I have to do the above steps all over again.
    Oddly if i open twitter and it loads, i can switch from one twitter site to another without a problem. Twitter seems to be the easiest site to load.

    a mate of mine says it looks like a speed problem, but the provider done a ping test and says its not on their end.

    any ideas guys as to what the problem might be


  25. I thought Jeff Reine-Adeleide was Santiesque with his link up play between the defence and the attack. Him, Welbeck and Lucas were out of this world. That little ball Lucas put in for Welbeck’s first was exquisite.

    Liked by 3 people

  26. I thoroughly enjoyed watching the first half again this morning. Focussed on Maitland-Niles and Jeff Rein-Adelaide. I also see some Diaby in JRA. I hope so because we were deprived of one of the best players that never was.

    I am so pleased for Danny Welbeck. His pace and power must be a nightmare to play against.

    The Ox must have taken a “Pirlo pill” I’m sure I heard one of the commentators say so yesterday.

    Lucas’s link up play and deft touches were a delight.

    Great performances all round.

    Liked by 3 people

  27. I think something nasty has crept on to your machine – a browser hijacker – have you tried? ;

    On Chrome open up Preferences

    Then have a look at your list of “Extensions”

    Can you see any on the list of Extensions that you do not recognise, or which you know should not be there ?

    If you see anything obvious that should not be there remove it

    If you are not sure just untick the enable box and that should suspend it

    Then reboot your machine

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Throw that shit out the window, Ed.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. And well done to Craig Eastmond today after a huge effort against Leeds – he made his FA Cup debut in the fourth round in 2010, starting in an Arsenal team that included Cesc, Theo and Le Coq.

    Nice little snapshot of Craig being a part time footballer still with full time ambitions here;


    Liked by 3 people

  30. Selflessness is a virtue not easily recognised by selfless people,because they believe that selflessness is just ‘Normal’. Unfortunately this is not the case, as selfish people recognise this trait and take advantage of the selfless use this knowledge to their own ends and call it weakness.
    Selfless people are only able to recognise it when it is pointed out to them by others unless they are real analysts.
    Our manager has this trait (selflessness) in abundance and has only recently (2011, 2012 and 2013 he spoke about the trait for the ideal DM) recognised it and the trait required to make a successful team.
    This squad has the most selfless players I can remember.

    Liked by 2 people

  31. Eddie – suggest you delete Chrome and reinstall. My version of Chrome occasionally does odd things so I revert to Firefox, which I’d recommend you try also.

    Liked by 1 person

  32. I think he has taken Gains’ advice and slung it out of the window AA


  33. If not and you are looking at Extensions if any of then say “installed by a third party” message under an extension – this indicates that something/someone other than you installed it. This is the little bugger – erase it.


  34. Looks like it Andrew; I shall worry now whenever he goes quiet for five minutes!!

    Liked by 3 people

  35. Eddy mist have picked up a toxic virus from visiting sites like Le Grove or Online Gooner.

    Liked by 5 people

  36. Eddy: I would also recommend Yandex browser which combines Chrome with Opera. Its very stable and has many security features and a wide range of extensions. Aye it is Russian so you may fear that there are little green-men hiding inside.
    Personally I always have Firefox and Yandex open on my laptop.


  37. Mo out with a calf injury tonight but Egypt march on to a semi final place with a 1-0 over Morocco 🇲🇦 – our man at the AFCON is still in the pot


  38. A5: But if Mo has a calf injury then nowhere in hell should he be playing for the rest of the tourney.


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