Good morning all.
Tonight we face the team that dumped us out of our FA Cup just 4 days ago and on the same stage. A real case of getting back on the bike. We only lost by a rather unfortunate own goal and we will be starting a better and fresher team, while due to injuries and suspensions, they will be fielding the same weakened team. Our current darlings, Tierney, Saka, Partey and Smith-Row will be back, and we have definitely seen we are better when they play, so a reversal of the result could easily be on the cards.
The general consensus among fans and the media ,is that Southampton are having a good season while Arsenal are having a nightmare, but a look at the table sees us 11th and them just 2 points above us (all be it with a game in hand) at 10th place. Its a real mid-table clash, if ever there was one.
The team in many ways mainly picks itself. For me at least Leno, Bellerin, Holding, Tierney, Xhaka, Partey, Smith-Row, Saka and Lacazette are nailed on first choice. That just leaves two places up for grabs. Gabriel looked off the pace on Saturday, so Luiz could come back in with the continuing unavailability of Mari. Aubameyang seems to be missing so who plays in his place? I say “in his place” rather than “in his position” because his absence might see a rejig of Saka over to the left with Pepe, or the much maligned Willian, playing from the right. Clearly the less disruptive change would be a straight swap with Martinelli on the left for our captain. All I will say is that if Arteta goes for Willian, he will be lucky there are no Arsenal fans there to give him their opinions on his selection as most seem to have decided the aging Brazilian is the devils child.
We have seen enough recently for be optimistic of a better result and much better performance tonight, so here’s hoping.
I believe that top 4 is well beyond us now, top 6 too I fear, so for me the performances are more important than the results. We wont get relegated, so I would rather see an idea of how we might play going forward, than somehow manage to get points against the run of play. But that’s just me.
Enjoy your day and the game.
And stay safe.