76 Comments

Arsenal Versus Southampton: Drop The Monkey

godzilla

There was something extremely cathartic about Danny Welbeck’s goal on Sunday. A palpable relief of tension so orgasmic that my involuntary exclamation awoke Liz from a deep and dreamless sleep. I was watching in the wee small hours having evaded the score until I returned home from my labours and had managed to remain quietly respectful to those already ensconced in the land of nod. There are though some moments in a football match which are like a sneeze – you just can’t help but produce an explosion of unexpected noise and the second, decisive goal of our encounter with Jose Mourinho and his merry men was just such a moment.

There was of course the fact that the game was all but over from the instance the ball crashed in off the underside of the bar, but there were other things in play. While the team have been battling to find lost form and wayward confidence I’ve often found myself watching games as if holding my breath. Like observing a drunken relative carrying a baby across an untidy room I’m willing them to succeed but all the time oppressed with the nagging thought that the whole enterprise is one misstep from disaster.

That tension blew out like a surfacing whale when The Ox’s perfect cross connected so sweetly with Danny’s bonce. Earlier in the game the commentators had been wittering about young Noddy Holding’s slightly under hit back pass as if it were the greatest disaster since Blues Brothers 2000 and I was feeling for the kid. He’d had a good game, looked skilful and composed in possession and brimming with confidence yet they’d hung him out to dry on the flimsiest pretext. So when he was instrumental in setting up that goal another bubble of frustration burst.

He completely Coquelined the United turnover when we seemed to have lost our way, momentum, and the ball, not only robbing the opposition player but sliding out a long leg to direct a sweetly improvised pass to AOC which took another defender off the board. It was a gorgeous moment fully deserving of the goal which followed.

So, if my noisy nocturnal instincts were correct the team felt the monkey leave their back on Sunday afternoon and tonight, while I don’t expect an easy game, should at least be a really good contest. Southampton at St Mary’s has provided an uncomfortable experience for visiting Arsenal fans in recent times. I was surprised to discover that we must go back as far as 2003 for our last league victory there. We have of course a memorable FA Cup win in January to balance against this disagreeable statistic, but cup ties are notoriously individual and shouldn’t be seen as part of the trend.

On their day these Saints players can be obdurate and awkward opponents. They came away from Anfield with a goalless draw, played out similarly fruitless ninety minutes with Hull and Bournemouth and unlike Arsenal have beaten West Brom and Crystal Palace. Set against these results they also leaked seven goals in total against City and Chelsea and so a picture emerges of a capable side but one which, with a fair wind and a good start can be put to the sword.

The big question hanging over our team selection, apart from the usual knocks and scrapes, is the injury to Lauren Koscielny. I can’t overstate his importance to our back line and you’d have to be a football illiterate not to appreciate the calm he brings to those around him and the complete arse aching irritant he must be to every striker unfortunate enough to have to face him. With a new formation still bedding in his leadership and nous have been and will continue to be vital for our chances in the remaining fixtures. Can he be risked? With a cup final looming and our league position precarious it’s a tough choice for the manager to ponder.

The other variable in recent games has been in the centre forward position. Gone are the days when our top two was a given. We have now the luxury of five players each capable of bringing something different to the role. Needless to say I like them all and will be happy whoever starts but in an away fixture it may be that Giroud’s masterful hold up play and defensive cover at set pieces wins out. Of course I have no clue about tactics – no more than any other blogger out there and will not be offering advice to the manager. Having an opinion and having expertise are as far apart as reading Arthur C. Clarke is to  building a space ship: leave it to those who know is my mantra and one I’m content to repeat.

Once again the fixture has fallen at a time when I will be at the coal face so it’ll be a Thursday morning breakfast match for me. For the rest of you I trust it will be a joyous evening and a rare chance this season to see the Arsenal rolling without that proverbial handbrake on. To my mind beating United was only half of the job  – stepping over them in the table tonight would complete the task. I believe we can do it. I look forward to being proved right.

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.

Comment navigation

Newer Comments →

76 comments on “Arsenal Versus Southampton: Drop The Monkey

  1. 1886‏ @1886_blog 27m27 minutes ago

    A reminder that Manchester United went on a 25-match unbeaten run and went from sixth to sixth.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Xhaka impressing away against the saints midfield.

    Nice prediction from NOTH. Straight out from Cechs pass, unfortunately this was a team goal capped off by a switch of Sanchez to cf, which might have been made after the clash of heads in the AFC area (Could be wrong).

    Like

  3. WhoScored.com‏Verified account @WhoScored 41m41 minutes ago

    Olivier Giroud: Has scored his 10th league goal of the season, now having reached double figures in all 5 of his seasons at Arsenal #SOUARS

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Couldn’t watch but chuffed with that result. Lovely stuff. Sounds like Ramsey and Xhaka continuing to impress.

    We have a chance. Stoke not a happy hunting ground, but if we can do it there we’re in with a real chance.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Bandog‏ @Bandoguk 52m52 minutes ago

    Other teams time waste, nothing from the ref’s. We do it, ref stares at his watch openly.

    Like

  6. The 12th Man‏ @_The12thMan 54m54 minutes ago
    Ozil has the most assists since 2014 and the best assist per 90 ratio in PL history, but he doesn’t kick people and shout a lot so he’s bad.

    Mesut Özil‏ @MesutOzilStats 48m48 minutes ago
    Only Messi (134) & Cesc (127) have had more league assists than Özil (118) since his debut in 2006.
    Özil’s the youngest out of the three. 👀

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Paddy‏ @VieiraPaddy 1h1 hour ago

    Granit Xhaka is class but the British public don’t rate him because John Moss is a fat racist. Sad.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Sorry PA for being MIA but I have been raising hell with the WOBs on twitter all day. The fact that AW went public on the DOF, laying down the line to Gazidis and company, had them cocky in their various blogs and other incarnations. The critical contradiction over which they will never overcome is for 12 years they ridiculed top-4 as not being a title and when AFC seems about to fall from top-4 it suddenly became important to not only fire Wenger but turnover the entire football management that served the club for so long.

    Poor things, now the club is drawing closer to making top-4 they are beside themselves. How can you be for the club and want us to lose games and not qualify for top-4? This is where the contradictions and stupidity reach epic proportions.

    My most popular tweet in terms of views and retweets were the following:

    After the game I posted this which has left them helpless in terms of replies:

    All in all a good day from my point of view. I lost some followers and good riddance I say.

    Liked by 4 people

  9. By the way; I can hardly walk in the shoes of the boss. He is a legend on twitter.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Well it is flattering to see the 7am blogger tracking PA and writing about Alexis’ turnovers. Too bad him and other blaggers made Alexis a bit of a demi-god in the first place. But I for one welcome the debate given I am sure his future at the club is questionable. As usual I will let time provide the data and facts.

    Like

  11. I thought the reference to ‘turnovers’ was the number of Southampton players that Alexis left stumbling about and sitting on their arse as he scored his goal ?

    His throw in though – unforgivable #SO

    Liked by 3 people

  12. BTW this is a blogger who long counted us out of top-4. Been dooming our chances for weeks. Said today he wouldn’t watch the Southampton game, predicted we would lose. Now you know why I went on the offensive against the blog WOBs on twitter today. They have access to data but have no clue as to the long term trends that show we are a top-3 club year-in, year-out. I will go further they have no idea, until another of their useless pals spout it, what tactical changes Wenger makes over time to give his team a better chance of winning. With pro-Arsenal bloggers like this, we could with more anti-Arsenal screeds. At least there would be no confusion about their goal.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Sell the top goalscorer – the top assists man ?

    And he is fit

    But he is shouty and he ruined Wengerball

    Yeah let’s do it Arsene

    Like

  14. Get used to the Americanisms Andy Nic. This is a multi-national blog.

    PS: Using an American style spelling on my laptop has ruined my British spelling. My poor mother, a teacher, has long forgiven me.

    Like

  15. At least you are not an Alexis psycophant AndyNic. You will engage the debate. As I documented there is a “good” Alexis and a “bad” Alexis. Just before he scored I had reached the point of tweeting that this was turning out to be the night of “bad” Alexis. The “turnovers” were killing me.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Good Mesut Bad Mesut like every player

    And as for th Young theooooooooooooo

    Liked by 1 person

  17. AndyNic: You will not tempt me into saying anything about Theo. Silence is golden.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. yes anicol every player has good and bad moments, often in the same game, often withing seconds of each other, but unlike ozil and theo, it seemed until very recently that Alexis’s bad moments could not be spoken about, in fact many would have us believe that Alexis has never had a bad moment.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. A good win. Not an electrifying performance, but a strong, focused performance, including from Cech who provided the safety net we needed at times. But what are we talking about? Alexis good or bad or both? It’s almost like we need our own lightning rod because the Wob Wa****s have Ozil/Ramsey/Giroud/Wenger. Let it go, seriously. Not everything has to be about Alexis.

    Liked by 2 people

  20. By the way, on the DoF debate, I think the video of the presentation Dick Law made in Brazil is worth watching. He details the different models among PL clubs, and shows how Arsenal currently do it.

    Like

  21. Play from 1:02:29

    Like

  22. Shard – the reason we discuss Sanchez ad nauseum is because he is our very own quantum striker, both our weakest and strongest point at the same time. Anyone taking a pro or an anti-Alexis stance has every opportunity to be 100% correct or wrong – and sometimes, as per last night, during the same match!

    I’d love it if he stayed but only if he could play with the discipline required for the team and stop dropping so deep where his propensity to lose possession can hurt us, and stops bawling out the other players.

    Personally I’m convinced he’s playing for a move but would be delighted if I’m 100% wrong.

    Liked by 4 people

  23. Cech had a good first half and really kept us in the game a couple of times, plenty of fine saves. Nice goal from Sanchez, sent the two defenders on a wild goose chase to line that goal up.
    Keep that confidence building up you Gunners!

    Liked by 3 people

  24. New post up

    Like

Comment navigation

Newer Comments →

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: