Arsenal: The Belles of St Mary’s


@LaboGoon opens the programme on Arsenal vs Southampton

Arsenal travel to Southampton this afternoon looking to bounce back after shooting ourselves in both kneecaps last weekend.

In that game from 10 minutes in till the end whistle we put in quite a credible performance, but it was ultimately the “Oh FFS” moments in the initial 10 that did enough damage. And that’s the lesson in humility that should accompany us for not only today, but onwards.

Going to St Mary’s has never been an easy trip for Arsenal. Our victory there last season has been the only one in the PL this decade.

Mauricio Pellegrino have his boys well organised in recent weeks. In their last three matches they scored 4 goals vs Everton thanks to a good attacking display, turned Pep into a demented banshee after keeping his gunslingers at arms length defending in numbers, before coming from behind to draw vs a very spirited Bournemouth team. That they can take a lot of heart from that performances, varying tactics, should be enough to give us pause for concern.

In our four matches following the FIFA week we’d been in good form, playing with energy, confidence and togetherness, besides that 10 minute freak show of course.

With the PL so unforgiving it’s hard to gauge how hard you need to go one game to the next during these congested times. So as default we need to keep the intensity and tenacity up, without getting ahead of ourselves. The PL is a steeplechase we go one hurdle at a time.

Chelsea allowing West Ham to pin them back in the opening stages of their game gifted the Hammers an opportunity they didn’t look back from. That’s a risk we can’t afford to make (again). When the ref blow the whistle to signal the start of the game we switch on, and stay on till full time.

Being the “most important game of the season” I have no doubt Arsène Wenger will field his strongest team from the available players. Those are the same as last week beside Shkodran Mustafi who’s missing out with injury. We could see either Holding or Mertesacker taking his place. Might be too soon for Chambers who only just came back from injury.

Arsenal are going into hostile territory as the St Mary’s crowd will be on our players’ back from start to end. So let’s keep our fingers crossed they keep their wits about them.

Good luck to all watching the game wherever you find yourselves, and don’t quit speaking out against those who seek to divide the Arsenal fan base. COYG

32 comments on “Arsenal: The Belles of St Mary’s

  1. Morning Labo, Saints I feel are not quite the resilient beast they have been in recent seasons although their League position is not much different. Austin up front for them so an old style airborne assault on the cards. An icy day here so we may see some snow during the game and both sides will be trying to cope with the conditions.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Going into this one virtually expectation and guess free. Feel we’ve such a quality eleven and squad these days but the prem is the prem.

    Utd game brought on the absurd notion in me that somehow 90 minutes isn’t enough, that the randomness, luck and mistake elements of the game mean 90 isn’t enough to give a fair chance of settling who is the better team or something, especially in light of extra talent not involved etc.

    True in a way, but more absurd because that’s just football and how it has to be, and also…well, it’s the sort of thing a season with its many games is handily available to sort out.

    But anyway the nature of living a season one game at a time, with the (long) wait between games, and the incredible intense desire to win each one…that’s what it went and did to me last week and much of that feeling lingers.

    No expectations then, just hope, and the reminder mid week of the fact the big buzzes come precisely from the tension and jeopardy of not knowing what will happen and the threat of defeat.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Nice one LG, the snow has been consistently falling for a while here but according to the forcast it should turn to rain by 2 o’clock and on the coast it might not snow anyway.
    I dont know why but I always think we play better in tthe sunshine and so today grit and determination as well as silky skills will be in order.
    After watching last weeks game you get the feeling we are going to spank someone soon and although that might not be today I think we are playing well enough to take of the saints as long as the officials dont get in the way.
    I think Arsene will stick to the back three and bring in Per and so our full backs will need to cover round behind him on occassion. Going forward its just to difficult to know where the goals will come from as there are so many options as long as we are not wasteful. I waiting for a warm winter performance COYG.


  4. Morning guys…

    On paper Arsenal are favourites but as said, outside elements like the weather, randomness, luck, that moment when you flinch all play its part, and of course who can forget Jon Moss having an absolute shocker two years back.

    The team that cope best with that will get the result, but Just like Rich I’m not gonna stick my neck out. I’ll just remain hopeful crossing the kids’ fingers too.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Raining and 6 degrees in Southampton at the moment – still a foul day – the side which makes the fewest errors today and is decisive in clearing their lines will win.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. And as expected;

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Attacking bench, no Chambers or Holding.


  8. Tough One expected @ the Saints.
    No CB on the bench means we need BFG for 95 mins…risky but AW knows.
    Primarily a midfield war…Romeu, Tadic & Redmond the main adversaries.
    Xhaka cannot afford any lack of concentration.
    Might be a game for LeCoq &/or AMN to unsheathe their tool(s)
    A-O-L must keep the pressure on for a good 73 mins
    Danny & OG to kill it later.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. The team that makes no mistakes will win



  10. Absolute shambles
    Charlie Austin looking better than Diego Maradona in his prime so far.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. To do it in one game could be unfortunate, twice in a row is downright careless.
    Shambolic, we sometimes struggle against journeymen strikers
    Wenger needs to get a grip on our defending by whatever means


  12. I know our manager has his principals and values, but Surely, it is not beyond Wenger to create a flair attacking team, who can actually defend, after all, others, and he himself have done it before? Defending and attacking don’t have to be mutually exclusive
    We meet much much better second half, or people will be made very happy that I don’t want made very happy
    Very frustrating so far

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Anywhere else on the pitch that is a foul for a late challenge and a booking.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Missed most of first 30.

    Got that familiar look of us having to pick our way through mostly set defence while breaks against us with 2-4 generally look threatening.

    So many teams devote nearly all their energies into that being their main approach to games now and to date this year our away formula isn’t quite right.

    Lost out again on a pen claim. It’s the norm for defenders to be allowed strange liberties once attackers have shot in box but that was a particularly egregious example of it. Elsewhere on pitch not getting a free kick would be ridiculous, so, really, that was too

    Liked by 1 person

  15. The first 10 minutes was a fucking nightmare Rich – you missed nothing

    Liked by 1 person

  16. The 73 minutes since have been bloody grim watching too


  17. Ffs lads 10 minutes


  18. Handsome is as handsome does.

    What I absolutely love is knowing fans from every other side will be going “Ffs, of course bloody Giroud equalised in the last two minutes.”

    Liked by 2 people

  19. “Plan B snatches point”

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Probably not a classic performance

    Liked by 1 person

  21. ‘A thoroughly entertaining game comes to an end at St Mary’s, and Arsenal have Olivier Giroud to thank for his later equaliser. For so long it appeared Charlie Austin’s third-minute strike would be enough, but alas, the Gunners come away with a point’

    From Sky Sports commentary, unbiased my hairy arse BUT ALAS indeed. Wankers

    Liked by 2 people

  22. Personally the only thing Alexis did well over the course of 94mins was the assist to OG for the equaliser. He was a 3/10 for me today. Frustrating.

    Southampton adopted the Man Utd strategy and could have won it if they had deadlier finishing.
    Our build-up play has become too predictable, too slow and with 2 small attackers (Alexis & Laca), tall defenders have it easy with the 2 banks of defence set.
    Eye of the needle passing means one-two many touches, too much side passing.

    I’d play Coq instead of Xhaka and let Mesut & Ramsey (or Jack or Iwobi) run things without the extra touch.
    Use the “overlap & switcheroo” pace of Kolasinac & Monreal more effectively.

    AW went all out necessarily in my view.
    Welbeck barely got anything going.
    Time to tinker with the starting line-up?

    At least we did not lose…and are back above the Totts.
    On to the next…London Stadium.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Oh and Bellerin was well ganged up on today.
    He wasn’t impressive today either.
    Needs to improve


  24. The best thing I can say, we didn’t lose, and well played those who came on and made a difference.
    Memo to Mr Wenger, moving forward, lets sort out the Charlie Carolli defending, before it derails’ the season and hits team morale. Defending like that at the start of games can make our other considerable qualities pointless. There is nothing virtuous in playing attacking football and defending like the last couple of games, its just self defeating

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Concern is that Ramsey who has come into form nicley,after been really well looked after by Mr Wenger has injured his hamstring.
    That is a problem for short and medium term.
    Long term?


  26. Anicoll

    It’s not guaranteed to be extremely tough for team if we concede first, but it is very likely, especially away where it is so much harder to pin a team back and build up great momentum (away, the home fans will put enormous pressure on ref over every last decision against us, which probably plays a part in the number of cheap free kicks to relieve pressure; plus there’s the infuriating issue of time wasting)

    Add that to the fact the majority of premier league teams are at heart defend and counter teams now, meaning they do tons of work on it and are generally good at it, and the importance of staying relatively tight and putting emphasis on defence early on is surely abundantly clear.

    I’d be dumbfounded if this isn’t drilled into the team, yet our approach too often doesn’t seem to reflect it.

    Is it philosophy, personnel (i.e. not quite having the right players to set up correctly), or individual mistakes from players who should know better? Just maybe a little of all three?

    Anyway, in 60 I saw it felt like we were less than sum of our parts, them more than theirs. So much of that can be attributed to the score and the nature of attack vs defend and counter, but again that serves to emphasize the extra importance of not conceding first today.

    It’s a near guarantee that while behind ,away, against defend-and-counter teams it is likely to be a hard watch, with much frustration, as we’ll always be tasked with picking our way through so many bodies, while the opposition always have the space on the break our own players could cause utter mayhem with. It bloody wrecks me.

    Again…the chronic need to reflect that in our play by being defensively secure and showing some caution about what bad news it will be to concede first.

    It’s not easy, at all, but we can’t hope to win leagues unless our attack becomes significantly more deadly, or we find some more defensive security. Latter seems most likely way, considering we already have a wealth of talent in attack and would more often than not kill any team who opted for open football against us.

    Extra defensive strength also the only way to cope with the bitty, staccato nature of away games, with their time wasting, cheap free kicks and struggle for concerted momentum

    Liked by 2 people

  27. Tough game for Bellerin. Looked like he was very heavily targeted for pressing.

    Thought Jack very decent when on. Ozil best of starters- worked hard, showed quality and did little wrong. Another great header and vital goal for Ollie’s collection

    Liked by 1 person

  28. MarkyB

    Well picked up to hear that. Don’t give those bums * a second of time longer than necessary so missed it. Poor and extremely revealing thing for them to say.

    *Though I actually found Benali a much less painful listen, and much fairer, than regulars. His only big flaw was to argue it wasn’t a pen even though when challenged he couldn’t formulate any sensible reason for it. Though even then he had the grace to look sheepish when pressed at half time

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Bit of good news is that pretty much our best u23’s took on pretty much City’s best away today and we prevailed 1-0.

    Lot of players i like involved for us, including comeback for Bielek.

    Don’t think Akpom involved, which further adds to the near certainty (99. something) that he is one great hope who won’t make it here.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Rich, my quote was from the sky sports score centre online commentary on the match page but would not be surprised if they said words to that effect as well

    Liked by 1 person

  31. new post up


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