Arsenal: the nearest run thing you ever saw in your life


Good Afternoon Positive ladies and gentlemen,

Well the positive  news is clearly that we gained a point on an afternoon when, I admit, I had my doubts that we would exit St Mary’s with anything other than a damn good jeering.

As matters turned out a fine headed finish from the old French master above. The best ball flighted in that we had all afternoon. An intelligent header from Oli and the decisive moment. Hard evidence that we must never give up, and a harder lesson for the home side that  in a game of professional football concentrating for 89 minutes and 45 seconds just won’t do.

Of the game itself an appalling opening, no other word for it. For the second weekend running a highly experienced German central defender under only slight pressure scuffed a clearance and gave the ball to an opposition player 40 yards from goal. The aforementioned highly experienced German defender then scampered after the Saints player who had bypassed him and then slipped  over!  His defensive comrades were too far away to the right, Kosc, and too far away to the left, Nacho, to offer any real challenge of barrier. The wing backs in the back five arrangement ? I have no idea where they were. Defensive cover or a hasty foot in from my man Granit ? No – not today.

Straightforward one-two, tidy finish, Austin – just three minutes on the clock.

There then followed another 5 minutes of three other similar almost disasters, with the lino intervening twice and Cech pulling off a good save to stop a second bulge in our netsack.

As I believe Mandy said earlier to be caught cold and punished once is slightly embarrassing, to be caught twice in a row, is FUCKING inexcusable.

Let us move swiftly on.

After we managed to wake up individually and collectively we dominated possession but, other than a tidy shot by Ramsey on 43 minutes we did not achieve much. There was loads of good approach work but no decisive ball to open the Saints’ defence. Unlike De Gea last Saturday Foster was under-employed. We just never seemed to have enough players in the box.

I was expecting a little more vim in the second half but, sadly, the pattern repeated itself with Saints firmly entrenched, with an occasional worrying breakaway, and AFC passing it back wards and forwards, forwards and backwards et cetera.  We have players of huge attacking ability, Mesut, Sanchez, Aaron, Lacca  but they seem reluctant to take an opponent on.


Serious question as I may have missed it. Other than Sanchez’s free kick which Foster punched way did we have a shot on target in the second half ?

This week hurling Giroud, Jack and Danny into the contest just got us enough momentum to cause the home side to crack eventually, but it was close, damn close.

Enjoy your Sunday.




42 comments on “Arsenal: the nearest run thing you ever saw in your life

  1. Think you just about summed it up.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Strange game Steve – the same players who tore into Manyoo, created chance after chance, seemed blunt against a team who were probably not as good.

    We are not struggling with injuries, there wee no “inexperienced” payers out there today, players have had plenty of rest because of the A team/B team arrangement in the League Cup and Europe.


    Liked by 3 people

  3. Yeah strange just how dull we were. Backwards, sidewards and giving it back to the back three seem to be the order of the day.
    On the goal itself two players lost out in the initial throw when klos should really have dropped off and even after Per’s slip no one was picking up the runner and although difficult having a go at Peter he maybe could of come of his line quicker.
    Our wing backs are still not hugging the line when we go forward and as a result ball played to them are played behind them inviting a pass back rather than something they can run on to.
    When they did get forward the delivery was awful.
    Xhaka is still playing the ball backward rather than letting the ball rolling across his body and play forwards to our talented front three and the ever running Aaron.
    Actually I thought Aaron was our best player on the day making his injury even more annoying.
    I said before sometimes players can play there way out of the club with poor performances and I don’t think today’s game was about failure in tactics but just poor performance.
    Again decision making was poor today from Cech at the back not playing the ball first time therefore allowing the saints to close down our defenders or Laca on the break playing the ball to Hector rather than Mezut.
    This game wasn’t a disaster but when you know that just by changing a few things we can play so much better it’s frustrating…who’d be a manager eh.

    Liked by 6 people

  4. Nicely put AN, quite an odd performance really.
    By whatever means, more coaching, different coaching, switching players in the squad, more emphasis at the back, or porridge for breakfast, we really need to sort out some of the defending, others can , why cant we?

    Liked by 3 people

  5. We played better last week and lost – football eh ?

    Liked by 2 people

  6. We will soon face a resurgent West Ham who will undoubtedly use Andy Carroll in a certain way if he is fit, I trust they will be prepared.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Although for two weeks running there have been defensive mistakes and we obviously need to put that right, today was abit more like Watford and Stoke where if we were more mobile and quick the goals would have come. We can’t possibly be happy with chances created today.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Is there a case for one or two fringeish players to come in next game – a couple of the regulars who have performed manfully for some time look a little tired, perhaps temporarily in a less than usual inspired state, and maybe could do with a strategic rest? I am not naming names of those perhaps needing a little temporary time out, but some non regulars have put in some very positive performances lately and in the spirit of healthy competition, deserve a go with rotations needed. Note I didnt use the D word there, nor am I saying there has been any lack of effort from anyone, mainly as I dont believe there has.
    Guess Jack will get his chance to shine if the excellent Rambo is crocked

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Couldn’t even listen to Hillier or Clarkie this time, thank you so much for the quick review! I’d rather read the thoughts and reflections of people here then elsewhere.

    Not having watched the football match *sobs* but it’s usually more difficult to tear up opponent away then at home? As a very vague generalisation.

    Pitches may be heated and covered (am I getting confused with the cricket?) in new stadia but are the ground conditions still a factor upon play?
    Fortunately the club have flukily managed to recruit the best target man around (for a while now), which is not a bad option or dare I say it: Plan B to have. The biggest giveaway regarding the Experts continuously disingenuous or conceited gibberish is that I haven’t read one make the natural consideration or even critique that Giroud should start on the smaller narrower pitches (or narrowed for the visit of the Arsenal) such as Stoke or West Brum Away or when conditions might not favour a quick one/two touch passing game.
    They can’t make or share that consideration (not critique) as it would go against their former and constant groaning at this player.

    Whenever a team plays with three at the back I always imagine that you want one that can step forward into midfield if the game/or pattern of a match calls for a switch to four.

    But World Class players of that ilk, they are very very rare.
    I’m still hoping that the good old Arsenal can snag Martinez from Munchen at some point! I like to think that the Vulture has the scent (you all know that he does!).
    If the club can still pick up gems like Lacazette that can outshine all the other new striking baubles in the league (that were twice the cost!) I’m not giving up hope on that fantasy signing just yet! No sir!

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Wenger on Southampton draw, selling Giroud, Ramsey’s injury, Sanchez’s form & Arsenal’s defence – Transcript

    Find out what the Arsenal boss had to say to the media after the 1-1 draw at Southampton


    ByCharles WattsArsenal correspondent

    15:18, 10 DEC 2017

    On the draw/performance

    I’m not happy with just a point but when you can’t win it, don’t lose it. We kept going and were relentless after a difficult start when we were caught cold.

    A windy, rainy afternoon against a team that played well on the counter attack. It was important now to concede a second goal. In the end Olivier helped us rescue a point. Considering the quality of the team we faced, it’s not so bad.

    What did you say at half-time?

    I felt in the first half we rushed our game in the final 15 minutes and started to lose balls in the middle of the park and counter attacks we wouldn’t have resisted.

    I said keep calm, to play the way we want to play. To defend quicker when you lose the ball and to put them much more under pressure.

    In the second half it was one way traffic but it was very difficult to create clear cut chances.
    Charlie Austin makes it 1-0

    On the defence

    I felt that the Manchester United game played a big part in the head of our defenders. It was in their head and they were a bit apprehensive.

    That’s why sometimes it’s not too good to talk about a problem because you create a bigger one.

    Were you tempted to go with a back four?

    Yes. We played a big part of the game with a four, but away from home recently we have done well – we have won games.

    BATE Borisov and Southampton are not of the same calibre, you have to consider that.
    Read More

    Arsenal player ratings: Sanchez pathetic, Xhaka dreadful & Koscielny woeful as Gunners struggle

    One team was on holiday who had won the championship two weeks ago. Today, we played a team that was highly determined, defended every single ball.

    On time-wasting and the referee

    I must say I’m frustrated. In the second half there was a lot of time wasting, especially on the final ball on the counter attack.

    It’s very frustrating to give the advantage to the guy who made the foul.

    Not only were we called back with three against one, but when we played it quick he called the ball back without any reason and that was a huge advantage to Southampton.
    SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 10: Olivier Giroud of Arsenal celebrates scoring his side’s first goal during the Premier League match between Southampton and Arsenal at St Mary’s Stadium on December 9, 2017 in Southampton, England. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

    On whether he can keep hold of Giroud in January

    Why should we lose an important player?

    Is it up to you, or him?

    It’s up to us. He will start games. It’s always the same. When you have many good players, some of them can’t play. The question you get is why is the guy who is good not playing?

    But if you put him on, you have another guy who is good who is not playing. It’s as simple as that.

    Wenger on Sanchez’s form

    I think in these second half today, yes I was happy with his performance
    Read More

    ‘Becoming a joke’, ‘he needs to go as soon as possible’ – Arsenal fans react to Alexis Sanchez vs. Southampton

    In the first half I felt he played a little bit too deep, we need him higher up the pitch, especially when you dominate it’s important he plays in the final third, but he is tempted sometimes to drop a bit deep into midfield.

    Then it’s difficult because you start 35 yards away from goal.

    On Ramsey

    He couldn’t play at the end, he had a slight hamstring problem.


  11. delighted that Wenger pointed out how the ref fucked us over by calling us back when on the breakaway and how he aided southampton’s time wasting. I like how wenger this season is explaining in detail how Refs are fucking us over.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. utd 1-2 city

    jose is a coward, but you are unlikely to hear the uk football writers or pundits say it, never thought I see the day that man utd at home would set up to play like a minnow

    Liked by 1 person

  13. At least Lukaku brightened up my afternoon

    Liked by 3 people

  14. My advice on the ‘time wasting’ thing is let’s not go 1 or 2 goals down and instead take a lead in the game – then we can do the time wasting thing. Opponents really hate it.

    Which tbf we do when we are ahead.

    It’s not the time wasting though – it’s the “I haven’t woken up to the fact that the football match has started” problem that should worry Arsene more.

    In my opinion obviously

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Poor Aaron. I’m heartbroken for him. I hope playing on didn’t make it worse.

    I’m going to stop waking up for early games. Nothing good ever comes of my watching football in bed.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. It probably does Andrew, but he’s not going to share that publicly

    Liked by 2 people

  17. There is no excuses for the ‘First’ Eleven, since the begining of the season they have been on Seven Days Rest.
    No fatigue
    No overplaying
    No lack of preparation
    No lack of talent
    No lack of desire
    Just a lack of focus- Which breeds individual errors.

    Liked by 3 people

  18. Osei-Tutu scores and Bielik returns as Arsenal U23s beat Manchester City

    by jeorge bird

    Premier League 2

    Manchester City 0 Arsenal 1 (Osei-Tutu 48)

    Arsenal U23s overcame their Manchester City counterparts with a hard-fought away victory today that was secured courtesy of a second half goal from Jordi Osei-Tutu.

    Osei-Tutu, who signed a contract extension this week, found the net early in the second half.

    Coach Steve Gatting welcomed back Krystian Bielik and Jeff Reine-Adelaide from injuries, while Deyan Iliev also came into the side.

    Marcus McGuane was back from injury to make the bench, where he was joined by Yassin Fortune, who has been on the periphery of proceedings this season.



    Osei Tutu-Dasilva-Willock-Dragomir

    Nelson-Reine Adelaide


    Subs: Fortune (for Reine-Adelaide, 68). Not used: Keto, T. Bola, Gilmour, McGuane.

    Arsenal were impressive in the first half and had an opportunity to take the lead through Joe Willock, who saw his effort saved.

    Manchester City provided a threat of their own but Arsenal took the lead in the 48th minute when Osei-Tutu scored his first goal at this level having been teed up by Josh Dasilva.

    Arsenal introduced Fortune into the fray as he made a rare appearance, replacing Jeff Reine-Adelaide, and the young Gunners held on to secure an impressive victory.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Arsenal’s next 6 fixtures:
    West Ham A
    Newcastle H
    West Ham H
    Liverpool H
    C Palace A
    West Brom A


  20. Arsenal were not sexy today.
    1-1 flattered us.
    Other results limited the damage.
    But we didn’t lose, in a stadium where we often do.

    Liked by 2 people

  21. I wanted everyone above us to drop points…

    man city didn’t get the memo but since it is Man U and more importantly Jose that got beat at home it is great all round

    almost looking like the case of Leicester and then Chelsea, 1st settled and fight for the other spaces continues

    well me i never give up till it is mathematically over so we are still in the race as far as am concerned

    Liked by 2 people

  22. yesterday I was listening to a quick round up of the BPL results on an Irish Radio station and the presenter said

    “Spurs with their win over Stoke today go above their neighbors Arsenal in the table. Arsenal are now level on pts with Burnley after the clarets beat Watford.”

    So even with us not playing, we get mentioned in a negative way twice.

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Cohen Bramall yesterday played his first game for Birmingham since August


  24. Wish the Sanchez possession debate would take due account of the fact that in a huge number of our games we are faced with the scenario of today: with the opposition all back in their lines, and our players constantly facing the choice of safe, very safe, harder or very difficult passes.

    It makes no sense to me to be critical and frustrated by the safe option- ‘backwards, sideways, no penetration, listless’,etc- and then not cut someone with the ability and the willingness to play the harder passes ,which are generally the only way a breakthrough can arrive, quite a lot of slack.

    After that, it still leaves room to be annoyed with Sanchez, or to think he played badly or awfully even. Maybe even to go so far as saying we might be better off without him.

    But without keeping in mind the inherent difficulties of breaking through massed ranks, an evaluation will surely be way off.

    Similarly important, is weighing up the abilities of our other players- who else frequently delivers good crosses, who else is good at beating one let alone more markers with skill?- regulars or otherwise, to break through packed well-drilled defensive set-ups.

    If he goes, and our pattern of play/philosophy- ‘if you sit, we’ll push large numbers forward’- stays similar, we will surely need to bring in a hell of a player, with great skills and a willingness to risk difficult things, or, overall, unlikely we’ll be better off.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. For me the crossing definitely has to improve. We get into good positions and with a fantastic player like Giroud in the centre but hardly ever put in a decent cross.

    Yesterday with it being so tight at the back and difficult for us to get through the aerial option was a great one but we hardly tried it.

    2 decent crosses. I scored by Giroud and the other nearly turned in by Ramsey. We should have done that more I felt. Especially in games like yesterday’s.

    Liked by 2 people

  26. Its December, its Christmas and its Pantomime season. Some carrying on at Saint Mary’s yesterday but we got a point so thanks for small blessings

    Liked by 2 people

  27. I expected us to lose (because we always seem to, or that’s what it feels like, down there), so for me it was definitely a point won rather than two lost. And as far as I can tell nobody got caught having a crafty fag in the showers, so that’s a bonus too.

    Liked by 3 people

  28. Rich, I don’t think it’s necessarily the difficult passes Sanchez gets stick for it’s more the when he goes round in circles like a dog chasing his own tail when an easy pass is on.
    It’s mainly when he gets tackled that he loses the ball and this waste more time than the opposition.
    Sanchez and Dead rarely tried to take the full back so we could at least get corners yesterday.
    After all we are the team who has scored the most goals from headers.

    Liked by 3 people

  29. WOW!
    Juventus-Tottenham Hotspur
    Manchester City-Basel
    Sevilla-Manchester United
    Real Madrid-Paris Saint-Germain
    Roma-Shakhtar Donetsk
    Bayern Munich-Besiktas.



  30. then here is arsenal

    means the younger players can still participate?

    then again there are older players that need gametime

    Borussia Dortmund v Atalanta

    Nice v Lokomotiv Moscow

    FC Copenhagen v Atletico Madrid

    Spartak Moscow v Athletic Bilbao

    AEK Athens v Dynamo Kiev

    Celtic v Zenit St Petersburg

    Napoli v RB Leipzig

    Red Star Belgrade v CSKA Moscow

    Lyon v Villarreal

    Real Sociedad v Red Bull Salzburg

    Partizan Belgrade v Viktoria Plzen

    Steaua Bucharest v Lazio

    Ludogorets v AC Milan

    Astana v Sporting Lisbon

    FK Ostersunds v Arsenal

    Marseille v Braga


  31. Lucky for us that most rivals, bar the Lillies dropped points too this week end.
    Team performance yesterday was off key, which seems to be common enough for these stupid Sunday noon kick-off times.

    Liked by 1 person

  32. I’m heading into Dublin town tonight to watch the 89 screening.
    The producer Any Lawrence and special guest Lee Dixon can’t make it, claiming to be snow bound in London. Soft southern pansies.
    I’ll let you know what it’s like. Shotta’s favourite Andy Mangan is MC.
    I won’t ruin the ending.

    Liked by 3 people

  33. Östersunds FK is in the arse end of the Swedish backwoods, the closest know point if geography is Trondheim in Norway. Their stadium capacity is 8.5k, average temp in February is -8c and their domestic season re-starts in March. English manager.
    Oh and did I mention the plastic pitch?
    We’re doomed!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Maybe it’s a case of a score draw out there and do the damage at home, alot of bigger teams don’t often win away from home in the early stages of the Europa but do the business at home. Sometimes you have to approach the games by just how best to get through with limited damage.

    Liked by 1 person

  35. Wenger: “Time wasting is a problem in England and referees have not found the solution yet. The answer is the authority of the referees and to put it in the head of the players to respect the game and play. It’s become a real problem in the last two seasons.”

    Liked by 2 people

  36. Louis Van Gaal: “I would rather watch City play than United. What United produce now is defensive football. I always played attacking football. The proof is that the opposition were always parking the bus. They don’t do that now because Mourinho plays so defensive.”

    Liked by 3 people

  37. I’d rather watch Burnley play than the Mancs – I could never go so far as to say Spurs – but Jose has created a team perfect to his image. Dishonest, reluctant to play football and entirely forgettable. Like every club he has managed the united fans won’t be sad to see him gone.

    Liked by 7 people

  38. Andy
    Utd fans are thick as bricks. The hounded Van Gaal out of the club for playing better than the the evil one.

    Liked by 4 people

  39. I can report that the 89 film has the official Double Canister seal of approval.

    Liked by 3 people

  40. Wenger says Ramsey out short term, Mustafi still out, might be back for weekend, some rotation likely, but will depend on how the starters from Southampton game recover.


  41. New post up


  42. Ian, fair enough. I get the frustration with him.

    It would be pretty easy for me to get onboard with it given how bad a watcher I am when we are behind in a game. i.e every time a move breaks down, I tend to feel a stab of pain, and therefore if a player is losing it more than the rest and ,on occasion, when he clearly should have used the ball differently, well, that’s a lot of stabs.

    Not a great watcher when drawing either! In that case I tend to be in a state of tension which, again, sees many a groan when moves break down.

    My defence of him therefore involves trying to overcome a lot of my emotions, and reactions during a game. I’ve long known to treat them with suspicion as they are not very reasonable, and even seem to me the basis, if untreated, of good old WOBdom and the like.

    My main ally (in trying to put those emotions and reactions into proper order) is no doubt my belief that playing against deep defences is a fundamentally difficult and frustrating experience. Made worse if on the back of a bad result.

    Whereas good players have an excellent chance of success with any counter of 3 vs 3, or similar, the chance of each individual move of 8 vs 8, 10 vs 10 etc is extremely low. Which brings up the issue of easy passes vs risk taking.

    Also helps that he is a guy with spectacular skills, capable at any moment of producing something wonderful (and useful). I’m one result focused individual, but I do love to see moments of unusual brilliance in there.

    Anyway, chances are there’s only half a season more from him, then we’ll move onto something else. The near weekly challenge of breaking through those massed ranks will remain, with all the frustration it brings. Theo and Danny are not the guys we’ll need to become any better at meeting that challenge.

    Liked by 1 person

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