Arsenal: Sunk by the Saints



Good afternoon Positives,

A disappointing way for our 22 game run to end. On a horrible,  wet afternoon on the South coast, we were knocked about and put out of our stride by the home side who set out to do exactly that. Nevertheless for long periods of the second half the game was in our grasp. The points were ours for the taking. Then Bernd, who moments before had pulled off a ‘worldie’ from a bullet Yoshida header, forgot where he was, flapped a hand out into space, and Austin buried the  header.

It was as long ago as the 18th August since you and I last supped at the well of footballing misery. To go down to a late home winner, against the run of play, and the result of a goalkeeping error is just about the 1-2-3 of footballing misfortune. But there you go, the run had to end one day.

Of the game itself ? We made a number of errors that were punished and our usual ability to drag ourselves back into the game deserted us in the final ten minutes. As I say it was a contest we wee shading until calamity struck so the Saints can take some  pleasure in their fighting performance and three badly needed points.

For us we saw Kosc and Nacho return after injury. The Spaniard looked fine. The club captain looked like a man playing his first game for eight months. We had no real alternatives to putting Kosc in. He did his best.

Guendouzi and Torreira I think put in their usual hard work. Two goals for Mkhi, the first a cleverly directed header, will have cheered up the Armenian after a couple of frustrating starts. Laca and PEA put us up two gears after half time and while both had additional chances to kill off the home side I thought both did well.

For Emery the game will have been a useful experience. Our coach will have a chance, over the next few days,  to look at what went wrong and what went right. With no unbeaten record to confuse matters he can sort though  his options.

Totties up next, and before that perhaps a little ritual humiliation on Merseyside for the Special One.



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97 comments on “Arsenal: Sunk by the Saints

  1. The additional 8 sub appearances suggest Ramsey was available to start at least 15 PL games this season.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. One of the irritations in recent times has been the inability to build on success and create momentum. Two weeks ago we barnstormed our way past Spurs with a second half performance that raised the roof. Since then a draw against there for the taking United, a lacklustre home win against Huddersfield and then yesterday’s limp effort. Similarly Welbecks late winner against Leicester could and perhaps should have seen the side go on to beat them to the title – but that fell away almost as soon as it was a possibility. Injuries? Refs? Managerial incompetence? Lack of dressing room leaders? Or perhaps something else?


  3. It’s just super-frustrating and inexplicable to me. I wonder too about Josh Kroenke. I hear (but only from general rumour) that he was or is keen to be more involved. If so, then who has his ear? Who helps him form the opinions about the game that he must have? Does he listen to Talk Sport, Sky, BT.? Has he heard from them that Ozil is lazy, Ramsey lacks positional discipline? Is that where these decisions come from?


  4. And as I was a long way from the game yesterday (on Netball duty in Coventry, and the nearest I got to football was sausage and chips in a cafe bedecked with Sky Blue memorabilia) was it really the case that we were very much on the wrong side of the ref and had a stone-wall penalty turned down?


  5. There may be a fitness problem with AR which means that it is not wise to start him.

    I dare say that, had Lichtensteiner not been injured he would have come on.


  6. Very interesting comments here. One common element of the three matches in which we have struggled since hitting those 2nd-half heights against Spurs? The impunity w/ with the opposition kicked the absolute shit out of us.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. We also tore the Totties a new one for the opening 20 minutes Tim and against the Mancs and Liverpool the opening of both games we have done reasonably well in, on to the front foot from the start.

    If we lower the quality of the opposition though we drop off.

    Most odd.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Agree, injuries are an issue,,and have been for some time.
    But it is clear that teams are given licence to kick us in the first half of games, witness led Trafford, and the performance by that ref officiating us at Southampton , most of those fouls weren’t even clever or disguised. These,tactics will cause injuries, and have persisted for a long time.
    Southampton players will have muscle memory that they can kick us on their ground with impunity, they have done that the last few years in league games, in the way that Spurs know a penalty hunt against us will inevitably be successful.
    Indeed, all clubs will now know they can kick us for a while when they are at home, even remember the likes of Suttn sung such tactics.
    The question is, why do the club put up with it, seemingly not questioning it, or allowing a little more guile from our own.Wenger was at times outspoken about the quality of refereeing, was punished, yet those above him at the club did nothing. I just hope our ” football people”, including a guy whose mates include dubious types such as Gianni Infantino- on the current board are less passive than their predecessors for the sake of our players safety. By the most liberal rules of the game, Soton should have had at least three yellows by half time
    Why the club have put up with this is a mystery to me .

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Foreverheady

    Unless something has slipped my mind- possible- only potential pen I can think of came 2nd half when it appeared Monreal may have got in front of a player who was about to clear.

    Monreal got a whack for his troubles, but they only showed the one replay, from completely the wrong angle (back of both players), so I’ve no clue what actually happened.

    Also saw a player grab Lacazette’s shirt in box, and hold him in place, early in a build up, as he was preparing to get in place should cross arrive. Not picked up for another look but 99% sure it happened and was, technically, a very clear foul in box. Didn’t have room to annoy me as fell so squarely into ‘not in a million years’ territory.

    Can confirm there were a lot of small and medium fouls, typically when ball had been released, though. Suspicious minds would point to advantage rule being used prominently to favour the fouling team. One late hit, undoubtedly seen and, I think, motioned for as advantage rule applying, looked nasty but no replay of it and even a grainy homemade video Arseblog tweeted got removed.

    (Presumably the policy is everything must go, but i wouldn’t mind knowing if clips where right call made and ref praised for it have more chance of staying online)

    To me, as ever, implausible that a ref can’t spot what’s unfolding nor understand that a team is gaining a distinct advantage through foul play. It’s not as obviously annoying as one big awful call, but in a way it’s less excusable and points to a deeper misunderstanding of what the role should entail.

    Standard stuff.


  10. We need to be a bit more Old Testament – eye for an eye, raking studs down calf for raking studs down calf.
    Less turning the other cheek.

    I’d prefer our players sent off rather than carried off, and it is about 3 seasons since we had a player dismissed for a real foul.


  11. Mandy

    I’m not sure how we would get to know of it if senior figures ever complained behind the scenes.

    Surely only way we would is if manager or some other figure did it via the press.

    Think there’ve been a couple of titbits in books I’ve read- presumably the ref autobiographies- mentioning things like that.

    Annoyingly, can’t recall them…but there was something about Poll offering to come in and talk to our staff after we had expressed unhappiness over some call, and our reply being something blunt like ‘no thanks. Just do your job’. Believe Poll may have presented it as evidence of his upstanding nature and our bad attitude.

    Something else about Pat Rice hating referees and always complaining (that was in a bit about how managers give in team sheet, or normally send assistant to do it)

    Maybe more relevant to what you have in mind was some episode where club made FA/pgmol aware they had been told..ah, I’m struggling for memory here…think it was about a ref hating Ashley Cole and planning to send him off.

    Anyway, point is there could easily be communications behind scenes but we’d never hear of them unless someone decides they want us to hear.


  12. Ha, never knew you could search an ibook for a term/ name. Managed to find the bit about Cole in a flash in Halsey’s book

    “When I did get a major event like Liverpool v Arsenal, something strange happened. I got a call from Keith a few days before the game to report a curious conversation between Philip Don and an Arsenal club official who had phoned in to complain ”
    “Arsenal had been reliably informed that I had something against Ashley Cole and was going to send him off at Anfield, the club told Philip.
    Now Ashley down the years would become a spiky character for referees on the field but I told Keith it was ridiculous and asked where Arsenal had heard it from. All they were saying, he relayed to me, was that it had come via a refereeing source. In the end, I was kept on the match. I never did know who had phoned Arsenal and goodness knows what their motive was.”


  13. anicoll

    I’m down for that, have been for years. We have number of players- including most if not all academy lads- who I can’t imagine doing it though.


  14. Lucas and the Soc aren’t frightened to give it back. Although Im sure the Pullets will bait Lucas if he plays in the CC.
    It will be interesting to see who comes in during Jan and later in the summer. I wonder if UE will start to make more of a blend, out and out ball players and some harder blokes to even things out as he does the transfer business?


  15. Arsenal play Bate away on Feb 14th kick off 5.55pm

    the second leg is on Feb 21st, kick off again is at 5.55pm


  16. looks like Saka will be involved in CC game on Wednesday, nice to see Amaechi back in squad after injury

    Arsenal Academy@ArsenalAcademy
    3m3 minutes ago

    🚨 TEAM NEWS 🚨

    Here’s how #AFCU23 line up against @Rovers this evening…

    Starting XI: Iliev, Olayinka, Sheaf, Medley, Bola, Omole, Gilmour (c), Zelalem, Coyle, Bramall, John-Jules

    Bench: Hein, Olowu, Thompson, Smith, Amaechi


  17. What happened to Diaby when he picked up Barton with one hand after the clogger had made a hack worthy of a red card?

    Was Phil Dowd’s response was inspired by the Talmud and not the Testament?

    This barrel has been scraped so hard it does resemble parchment more then timber, so who knows, perhaps the scratches have been mistaken for revelation?

    Liked by 2 people

  18. He should have snapped Barton’s head off Fins – gone full Zidane on the nasty little scouse streak of shite. You only get a 3 game ban anyway.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Moss for Wednesday. Marriner on VAR


  20. Zidane was only sent off due to some kind of arbitary proto-pgmo VARs useage in that WC final, over ten years ago, more then a decade.


  21. A 60’s Special Edition of the Yorkie Show that will have you Rocking all day and all of the night



  22. awful start for our U23’s

    Arsenal Academy
    ‏ @ArsenalAcademy
    21s22 seconds ago

    Goal for @Rovers. Lyons breaks free down the left wing and fires into the bottom right corner

    🔴 0-1 🔵 (1)



  23. Apparently players unhappy with challenges going in on them in u23 game in darkest Blackburn.

    Scene of youth cup mugging a few years back when Nelson was on receiving end of two footer early on, had some push and shove with player and saw red while they got yellow.

    Suppose I’d take that over an injury up there.

    Time to speak out Freddy if it’s seriously off. The recent Derby game was largely determined by similar events. Unpunished thuggery leading to us losing temper and seeing reds.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Lol Fins – I thought he was sent off for putting Matterazi flat on his back in front of 600 TV viewers.

    Musing on the Barton/Diaby it showed how far we had gone from the golden age of Giles Grimandi. I recall the curly Frenchman clattering Gary McAllister and the referee duly giving a fouls against us. Quick as a whip though up jumps Giles, accidentally stamping on the Scotsman’s hand as he lay still winded on the Highbury turf. McAllister, in considerable pain no doubt, leaps to his feet and tries to get hold of Grimandi around the throat.

    Ref produces immediate red card, further adding to the explosive Jock’s grievance as he was hustled off pitch by gang of Liverpool team mates.

    And we won.


  25. Loooo,yes it was hilarious as the only tv viewer who counted was the official on the sideline using the pitchside monitor. The journey towards support that all officials in all modern sports deserve in football, and especially the PL, has been a laugh a minute since then (a dozen years, you can do the maths…).


  26. Arsenal Academy
    ‏ @ArsenalAcademy
    2m2 minutes ago

    Half-time: #AFCU23 0-1 @Rovers

    Lyons’ early strike remains the difference at the break 😩

    Big second half needed 💪


  27. Grimandi.

    Was he in the Invincibles squad? Close enough!

    It’s the historical record and not a matter of subjective opinion that not even the Invincbles could win a game of football upon a titled pitch.

    No need to thank me for the reminder, you are warmly welcome!


  28. Arsenal Academy
    ‏ @ArsenalAcademy
    3m3 minutes ago

    Goal for @Rovers. Lyons fires the ball into the top right corner from distance.

    🔴 0-2 🔵 (47)



  29. Arsenal Academy
    ‏ @ArsenalAcademy
    5m5 minutes ago

    Goal for @Rovers. Nuttall coverts from the penalty spot.

    🔴 0-3 🔵 (71)



  30. Arsenal Academy
    ‏ @ArsenalAcademy
    1m1 minute ago

    Goal for @Rovers. Nuttall fires home from close range.

    🔴 0-4 🔵 (90)



  31. Sheesh results have been bad for u23’s in recent months. Prob about 6th time now we’ve conceded 4+ if Checkatrade included.

    Expect only a few points off relegation zone now. Really want to avoid that happening


  32. Arsenal Academy
    ‏ @ArsenalAcademy
    3m3 minutes ago

    Full-time: Arsenal 0-4 @Rovers

    A frustrating night for #AFCU23 in the #PL2 😣

    Liked by 1 person

  33. #LjunbergOut


  34. anicol.

    Not quite. Always hard to judge how u23 coach is doing year to year given changing squad strength and player availability.

    A downer though, and relegation is something we could really do with avoiding. There’s a bit less football played in the level below.

    The recent Derby game was a really tough watch. It looked a near useless exercise for player development, and more like a call to the near necessity of having enough physical players on hand to allow those with a decent shot of high level football to get something worthwhile from it.

    Liked by 1 person

  35. Last season’s run to the league cup final stretched an already undermanned squad what with Giroud off and Gabriel/BFG and Coquelin’s replacements not due in till the summer.

    With the injuries piling up and the league a priority, I’m hoping the new gaffer rests his big guns, let’s Ramsey recover properly and looks to start him in a league game – it’s a fair guess that Ramseys’s return from injury meant the new gaffer was hoping to unleash Özil and Rambo from the bench before the clogging ate up his substitutions.


  36. I think we all need to remember Unai is first team coach and no longer the manager. While he may have involment on position and difference between last two choices all other player incomings will have nothing to do with him we are in a different era.

    Liked by 1 person

  37. Did somebody say they wouldn’t mind a bit more eye-for-an-eye stuff?


    A little six month January deal, maybe?

    Just kidding, he’s a step or ten too far (but maybe ideal for Jose), though in his prime he was, aside from all the bullshit, a heck of a defender (superb throughout Portugal’s European Championship win)


  38. Unai_Is_A_Gooner
    ‏ @Unai_Knows_Best
    Dec 16

    Average yellow card against AFC: 26 mins.

    Average yellow card for all the other top 6 sides: 54 mins

    Average yellow card for teams playing against AFC: 67 mins

    Average yellow card for AFC vs any team: 26 mins

    Doesn’t take a genius to know what the PGMOL are doing @HACKETTREF

    Liked by 1 person

  39. Jose’s been given the boot.

    AW-a small smile for one second?


  40. . . . . . . . . speciaIist in failure.. . . . . . .

    Liked by 1 person

  41. oi oi. Bit of luck that’s the last of him in the prem.

    Don’t see PSG being in a rush to get him either.

    Real Madrid again….surely not.

    Inter, at some point, maybe.

    But not here and maybe not anywhere where he has league’s biggest budget, and that will do, nicely.

    Liked by 1 person

  42. Ed

    Bloody hell those are strange stats. That is simply not how our games go in reality

    Liked by 1 person

  43. Stoke have put a bid in for Jose.


  44. Sounds like Jose has now got his wish and payoff. But Jose or not, cannot help but feel Pogba is a bit of a disgrace, though I guess we don’t know what was behind some of his behaviour.
    Sorry for the late reply, but interesting stuff Rich, you are right, we don’t know what goes on behind the scenes, but if there is anything, it doesn’t seem especially effective if Eduardos 08.43 post is anything to go by, this is exactly the sort of thing Raul and co should be slamming on FA and PGMOL desks. And I really hope they are not giving Scudamore that cash!
    As for Old Testament style vengeance, all for it, why not recruit Victor Moses, Joshua King, Kenny Samson, Charlie Adam to join Stanley Enos, just a shame we let Harry Cain slip through the net and become snared by Daniel Levi


  45. I have no idea why this guy is so popular. https://twitter.com/arseblagger/status/1074963360083521537


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