Lack of Attitude? My Arsenal! Southampton afterthoughts

Southampton – Arsenal: after thoughts.

Thanking 'Voetbal International' for picture.
Thanking ‘Voetbal International’ for picture.

In summary:

For a large part of the first half Arsenal were  outplayed. The Saints had great movement and were more energetic, stronger and passed the ball round really well; and we did not have an answer to it – at least not until the end of the first half, when we were gradually getting back into the game. During the second half, we turned it round fantastically well, initially; only to be surprised by our own success and drop our concentration, leading to us conceding so quickly the equaliser, which cost us most probably two points as a result – and the Flame’s red and yellow mist did not help either.

Gaining a point from that game is still not a bad outcome, but we were given a lifeline to get all three and did not take it, which is disappointing. On the balance of the night – and that is all we have to take into account – a draw was a fair result. Now it is all about OGAATing on and the ‘bouncebackability’ of both the players AND the supporters: bring on Crystal Palace!

I saw the game on a tiny screen with interruptions, so cannot do justice to a full match review. From what I could see, it appeared that the FlamTeta wall was too easily breached and did not offer the expected, and much needed, solidity; neither was it able to support our ‘attacking four’ sufficiently. We were hemmed in by the Saints – just like we often hem in our opponents – and they deserve great credit for it: we were out-total-footballed in the first half. Chapeau, Respect and all that!

It would be good to hear your views why this was the case: lack of fitness, lack of communication, or simply superb Saints tactics?

I also thought Southampton threatened our full backs continuously last night and, despite good efforts by Gnabry and Santi to support them, they were made to look exposed a lot.

The first goal was all-round bad defending by the team, and that is all I want to say about it. Our equaliser was an act of power by Sagna and precision finishing by OG. Our second goal was well taken by Santi. Their equaliser was the biggest disappointment of the night. Sagna could have done better, but nobody picking up the run of the very impressive Lallana was the real issue here. If you score two goals away, you should come home with all three points…. no?

Flamini and Arteta should never have allowed this situation to developed, as they should have closed up shop straight after us taking the lead. But euphoria often makes the head go dizzy and that is probably why a team is at its weakest just after taking the lead. So this can happen in a game. What probably cost us dearly, though, was Flamini’s sending off. He should have known better.

Not for a single moment, did I blame the attitude of the players last night; but I was still not surprised to see many fellow Gooners – on BK and other places – doing just that.

To blame the players for a lack of motivation and not turning up for the game is a gross injustice and, quite simply, a lack of understanding of the game and our team in particular.

The first team Arsene put out yesterday are all fighters, hard workers and responsibility takers: each and every one of them.

Supporters continuously act like they are managers on blogs, and I am no exception; although, half of the time we are not aware of this. ‘Blog managers’ can be divided into Theory X and Theory Y managers, as per Douglas McGregor’s famous ‘Theory X and Theory Y’. Theory X blog managers distrust their players and think they are basically lazy and can only be motivated by money. They also love to blame someone – players, manager and Board members – for any failure. As per Wikipedia’s description of the Theory X manager:

The Theory X manager tends to believe that everything must end in blaming someone. He or she thinks all prospective employees are only out for themselves. Usually these managers feel the sole purpose of the employee’s interest in the job is money. They will blame the person first in most situations, without questioning whether it may be the system, policy, or lack of training that deserves the blame.’

‘Theory Y blog managers’ tend to believe that players want to do well and give their all for the club, and are not purely motivated by earning a lot of money and their status. As per Wiki:

A Theory Y manager believes that, given the right conditions, most people will want to do well at work. They believe that the satisfaction of doing a good job is a strong motivation.

Over the years, working in various businesses and following Arsenal passionately simultaneously, I have learned that employees AND footballers can be roughly divided into two groups: those with a passionate commitment and those with a calculated commitment. The first group is more driven by intrinsic motivation to do a good job first and for all (and are sucked dry by most companies as they are usually the main drivers for their success), and the latter one is mainly motivated by money and status – sometimes described as mercenaries (they are usually tolerated by companies/clubs because of either their excellent derrière moistening abilities and/or they possess a technical/rare skill set).

In my opinion, Arsenal now have a team – carefully picked by Arsene over the last few years – with only passionately committed players in the core team. Of the eleven starters last night, Szczesny, Sagna, Koz, BFG, Flamini, Nacho, Arteta, Cazorla, Giroud, Ozil…. are all players with a passionate commitment, rather than a calculative one. Whether Gnabry has this as well is too early to say, but first signs are promising.

There are no mercenaries left in our core team: they all work hard and give their all; and they did so again last night. Rather than blame the attitude of a few players, or even the whole team, for us dropping valuable points, I strongly recommend we focus on the technical, tactical and quality aspects of last night’s performance and avoid knee-jerking. That is what Bergkampesque is all about.

Written by: TotalArsenal.

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128 thoughts on “Lack of Attitude? My Arsenal! Southampton afterthoughts

  • Sometimes you just have to cencede that the other team on the day were better than you, this is football and far from dropping 2 points it was 100% a good point gained!

  • Great and balanced writeup TA! Could not agree more. Certainly a disappointing result – I feel it is one of those days when we were just off as a team while S’ton were on fire. Oh well…pick up and move on to better performances. the one aspect I had to wonder is Gnabry’s impact factor. Don’t get me wrong. He is a brilliant player and on his way to great achievements. But, given his age and experience, I have to wonder if he would be able to hold his own against the strong sides like City and Chelsea. Shaw seemed to have direct access to Sagna a little too often I felt. The bright side is that if we can rescue a point when playing badly and the other team on fire, I suppose it cannot get worse, right? 😉

  • I stumbled on this blog last week and have been refreshing all morning to read your take on the match against Southampton and must say I am not disappointed,it is what I hoped for and much more.
    Keep up the good work!

  • TA, I very much agree with your assessment of our performance – and theirs. They have been excellent at putting pressure, and a rusty FlamTeta combo had trouble finding solutions.

    In particular, the gap between our midfield and attack meant loose support for our foremost players, and also provided Saints too much room to build up speed when we lost the ball – and the FlamTeta pivot is not the best at dealing with pacy midfielders and attackers rushing forward. So many times where they caught half a meter behind, half a second late – this problem probably compounded by them not being fully match fit. Rodriguez and Shaw had a great game too, it’s not too often you see Sagna under such pressure.

    On the plus side, Szczesny made some good saves (some say he could have done better on the first goal, but the cross and header were excellent – although the latter was tainted by a foul), and PEr and Kos were solid – score could have been much worse in the 1st half. Özil played really well and gave a lot when we started clicking. Santi and OG keep scoring…

    Also, I know Pod came in late, but I was a bit disappointed by his attitude, for the 8-10 minutes he was on the pitch, I would expect him to press constantly, and give it all he’s got, even if he has to go in the red zone, but I caught him walking about a couple of times, as if he had played 90′. Maybe it’s me, but it’s not the first time I see this.

    Anyway, just some random thoughts. Laters

  • Keith, agreed. We have not lost an away game to the non-top teams all season, where our direct competitors have. We just cannot win them all and on the night Southampton were really good (especially in first half).

  • Arsenal_VCC

    Good point about Gnabry. It is to be expected that he will not have a good game every time and yesterday we missed Theo to a large extent. Shaw was impressive but so was the whole attacking power of the Saints.

  • Nky, thanks and welcome to BK. 🙂

    Feel free to comment more regularly. We might come across as a tight community but very few people on this blog know each other personally; and the more the merrier.

  • Alcide, excellent observations and agreed on Pod. I guess Lucas is a bit disappointed with his peripheral role or maybe he is desperate to stay fit as a move is imminent… Maybe Arsene is missing the passionate commitment…?

    You might know that I have been very keen on getting a new DM as soon as possible. Flamini and Arteta have great value in the team but should be more regarded as back up than core, especially going forward. On the other hand, it looked like we missed Jack’s ability to get us out of tight spaces and/or Ramsey running ability… Rosicky being out as well was a third blow. And looking at Ox against Coventry, I did not think he is ready for the deeper midfield positions… What do you think?

  • “draw as a fair result” Deluded, your class our 2 mistakes got you 2 goals, your keeper stopped 3 or 4. You were outplayed, outfought, outrun, by a team on the way up with belief in it’s system. If you had this result at, United, City, Liverpool Spurs, would you be saying the same thing, or would it be “we were lucky to get one point?”

    We play week in week out like this, over the next couple of seasons a few more good signings, a few more lads from the academy, and we’ll be shoulder to shoulder with you.

    But always a pleasure to host Arsenal a great team, with a great bunch of supporters.

  • I don’t think you can just simply put people into categories and leave it at that. Way to go, you just lost a blogger and a reader of this site. Oh well, what’s one Canadian blogger, who “doesn’t support Arsenal” to you, anyway??? How you can defend a first half performance like that is beyond me and my “supporting capabilities”. I read this site every day, even when my Mother died. I’m not going to look at it again. And don’t worry 17, I wouldn’t THINK of posting again. This has really gotten me upset. I was the lone dissenting voice, and you choose to either ignore or marginalize someone who didn’t have the same view as you??? I mean I’m generally NOT a positive person, and but when it comes to Arsenal, I usually am. Not right now. I don’t think you can say that I don’t defend the players when they need it. I usually do. What they did in that first half is indefensible. Plain and simple. And what you have written and insinuated about me is insulting and indefensible. Calling me a mercenary??? Fuck, I don’t even have a fucking job right now. So where do you get off insinuating I am a mercenary??? Also, I don’t think the players were being mercenaries, I think they just figured they didn’t have to show up and they could still win. I never insulted you PERSONALLY when you put forth your views. I don’t care what you do, you can send me an e-mail telling me you are sorry, you can post whatever response you like. You won’t get very far with me.

  • Milo, just read your opening comment again in last night’s post and tell me whether that was acceptable. I left it on because you are a regular here and normally are able to put things in perspective. You are free to return here but only if you are constructive. Btw I was not referring to you at all when I spoke about mercenaries – not sure how you got there.

    Take some time out from the blog and when you are feeling calmer, consider coming back. All the best. 🙂

  • Look, if you don’t like the swearing, then just say so. I come from a poor family, under a lot of duress, so yeah I swear. I have some education, but I’ve never been one to spare the language when I get upset. That is the only thing I see that MIGHT be unacceptable about the post you are referring to. Take out the swearing and you still have my TRUE opinion and feelings on the matter in question. It’s your problem if you don’t like it.

  • ToTL, This is really good stuff. I got pretty incensed by the commentary in the last thread (when I returned to catch up with it) and posted something I probably shouldn’t have. In fact, combined with having to care for an aging/failing family member, I’ve lost some sleep about it. I’ll address that below, in a separate comment…

    I think you’ve hit the nail squarely on the head. It was not our best match, for sure, and, it appears, after the sending off for dangerous play, we may have some squad depth issues too. Nonetheless,I get truly rankled by people questioning attitude and commitment. INVARIABLY these complaints come with disappointing results. People do not tend to mind when we play in a technical or “effortless” style IF the results are to our liking. Last night’s two-footed lunge by Flamini notwithstanding, Arsenal under AW are NOT a team who win through violence or extreme physicality. Something for which (personally) I am very glad. Our focus tends to be on technique and organization and (I feel) our team has shown these attributes in outstanding fashion all season. With the worries about our recent record against the top clubs these matches against the ones below us come with extra pressure. By and large (IMO) the team has shown great focus against these teams. Southampton played very well, but, I thought, we responded in kind, even if we never truly got on top in the match nor came away with full points.

    My very first comment during the match was about Gnabry slipping on the pitch. I think this may have contributed to a below par effort in pressing the ball from the front, allowing Southampton to win the majority of possession. (The final stat was 53-47…) It takes a concerted team effort to do this sort of thing and Gnabry (beyond problems with the pitch) had his hands full with Luke Shaw. (Given that Leighton Baines has re-upped with Everton, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see Shaw at ManU, sooner rather than later…) Ozil, Giroud and Cazorla don’t do this sort of pressing (thankless chasing, really…) very naturally and, I think, we really missed our young British guys–Ramsey and/or Wilshere–who do. When they’re in the squad, nominally paired in the “double pivot” with either Arteta or Flamini they are often seen right up front harrying the opponent. Last night neither was available, nor was the other natural presser of the ball, Tomas Rosicky. Of course, once they got the first goal we “needed” the ball and Southampton’s ability to keep it from us was all the more frustrating.

    We came out with a far more direct approach in the 2nd period and the results were immediate. Conceding immediately after taking the lead was a killer but I still thought we had a very good chance to take full points until the sending off. Credit, however to Southampton, they played a strong match and made chances with THEIR efforts at pressuring us, particularly on defensive clearances, but also on very quick counter attacks.

    My worry is going forward. It’s encouraging that we got goals from Santi and Ollie last night but we must compensate for the contributions of Walcott and Ramsey (if he’s really out for a long period). Arteta, as happens to older players, will find fitness hard to come by and may have been pressed into playing before he should have. Surely we’ll be relying on him being OK during Flamini’s suspension. Hopefully the absences of Rosicky and Wilshere were precautionary rather than absolutely necessary. It would be nice to get some good news between now and the next match about players (old–and new–as the transfer window closes…) who might be able to contribute as the season intensifies. One moment we appear deep, the next we seem awfully stretched.

  • Ernest,

    No need to use words like deluded. 😕

    I agree you outplayed us, but only in the first half. You only scored once and let us of the hook. Second half we started strongly and took our chances a lot better than you did until then. Fair enough, you got back into the game quickly but surely you can see that was more our mistake than you playing brilliantly. After that it could have gone either way, and surely you agree the Flamini sending off was what gave you back your dominance. Szczesny made some good saves but they were all stoppable, yet, you needed the woodwork to keep Ozil from scoring (albeit through a deflection). A draw is a fair result overall, but we should never have let you get back into the game.

    Genuine question, what makes you think you can compete with the big boys long term?

  • Hi 17, sorry to hear about your troubles. 😦

    All good points and squad depth is an issue, at least at the moment. Let’s see what happens next.

    Scoring twice away and hitting the woodwork is enough for me. I feel we failed to close up the team and play with more discipline after we got ahead. This would have given us the opportunity to score on the break as well.

  • TA,

    Any of Jack, Rambo, or TR7 in a box-to-box role would have indeed contributed to filling that gap between midfield and attack. I can see Ox growing into that role, but let’s give him time rather than poisoned opportunities in a tricky and critical role. I’ve always been sold on a strong DM (would love him pacy and tall (Presence!), yet technical (a fit Diaby… I saw a youtube clip of him lately, boy am/was I a fan *sigh*), but I was patiently waiting for the summer to have an opportunity on a young “top of the class” lad to replace aging Flamini/Arteta. Not sure there’s anyone available this window that would not sacrifice a future “midfield superiority” DM?

  • This game was a continuation of the previous encounter with the same team. Southampton used the same strategy they employed in the second half of the previous game .they used 4-3-3 formula and attacked Arsenal, because they don’t have anything to lose. And it works. I was very disappointed at Arsenal and the Coach for not recognizing their opponent strategy and try to change. Sorry to see Arsenal tie, there is also a lesson to be learned.

  • Milo,

    I shouldn’t have posted what I did last night, but likewise I think you might’ve held off too. Writing, which you do quite well, is sometimes its own therapy. If you put it out into the world, you need to accept that you might get reactions. If you put out strong stuff, some of those reactions might be equally strong…

    That said, there’s no excuse for me to highlight the medication you mentioned. I was not medicating myself last night (drinking alcohol…) which may have made me more empathic. It also might’ve made me even angrier… Hard to say…

    Regarding the whole “venting frustration” element (mentioned by James Bond and Xavier, but clearly what, I believe you were doing…) I realize that this is something for which people use football and having a go at the opponents, the ref, and even your own players and club is seen as perfectly acceptable. That’s fine and if that’s what you want to do, then do it. Again, if you do it on an internet forum, putting your comments above a box which says “write a response” or “leave a reply” you should expect those very things. Total’s post is a whole lot better and more measured than my own…

    I never called you a mercenary, so that’s a self-created label. It does sound, however, that you prefer the attributes of teams that get by on commitment and visible effort. Even if you’ve “supported” a team through thick and thin, you can still choose to stop supporting them and pick another whose play (or narrative) you find preferable. Nobody is forcing you to support Arsenal and if they disgust you or fail to provide the respite from real life you desire, it would seem reasonable to stop.

    Nonetheless, I shouldn’t have gone so far to suggest that you shouldn’t post. Sorry. Like I say, you’re an able writer and a passionate guy. If you want to put your feelings out there it (ultimately) enhances the blog. Stirring up the pot, even if it made me quite angry, is something I (in retrospect…) wouldn’t want to censure. Again, I’m sorry I suggested otherwise…

  • Good points, Alcide. A fit Diaby is everybody’s dream and he would have been super effective in yesterday’s game. Let’s wait and see what Arsene does in the next few days. 🙂

  • Nice read, and I agree with some of the write up .Some of the comments on twitter were from people with a rather limited vocabulary and short sightedness.

    My personal concern about Arsenal since just before Christmas is that we are only turning up to one half of each match we play. We should have been at Southampton like they were at us from the off. It’s cant be down to traffic or tiredness as there have been one game a week for a few weeks and a lesser team put out in the FA Cup.

    Maybe time Arsene gave them a rocket up the backside from the off, finishing the games off in the 1st half then slowing the pace down in the 2nd and hitting on the break. Arsene should have not paired up Flame & Mikel as we had no one in the hole behind Oliver, so no way to break out. Knowing we were lacking options, why not surprise Southampton and put on another striker!

    Southampton are a well drilled side who put you under pressure, but player for player, if we were as well drilled we would win that game 9 times out of ten.

    New players the answer? I’m not sold in to that. Attitude change for 90 minutes not 45, we would be in with an outside chance of our first title in years.

    I’m behind the team, but sometimes a bad word is a good thing. Monreal having a stinker and why was Gibbs on the bench?

    Good luck Arsene, we will need it.

  • Sayed, good point. What makes you think Arsene did not recognise the Saints’ strength? Putting in Flam and Arteta was surely meant to stop them…

  • In the US, whether it is basketball or American football, there is always a coach who is assigned to study films of the next opponent and define on a strategy for counter attack and defense. Before you dismiss this thought, some teams in Basketball play every other day. Improving or modifying your approach to the game is becoming. I am to the point of predicting what the team will do with every play, or pass. Last night the defense was exposed most of the time, and the majority of the players were out of position. I have switch my alliance to Arsenal since Ozil move. But I am not disappointed so far. I will see what they will do when they play the big boys.

  • Thanks and welcome, Mike. 🙂

    It might appear we only turn up for one half, and yes at times we seem to be saving energy/trying to avoid injuries. I think we want to control games in a calm way, through our passing and running of the ball. Sometimes, our tempo is too low but I genuinely think Arsene sends them out to calmly control the game. Yesterday, it did not work out but this was also due to a very good Southampton team on the day, and, in my view, not down to only having attitude for 45 minutes.

    Agreed Monreal had a stinker.

  • Sayed, studying the opponent and producing bespoke team tactics is not a bad idea, but generally not the way Arsene appears to prepare for matches. The FlamTeta DM pivot was, in my opinion, Arsene’s tactical adjustment. A shame both were rusty though…

  • Man oh man, I’d like to put the histrionics of the BIG reactions behind us and talk some football. Again, sorry (to all) for bringing the level down…

    Since we don’t get the straight story with injuries and fitness levels and we live from one AW comment to the next, it’s hard to say what’s going on. Arteta didn’t look his best last night and some would argue that his best isn’t good enough to begin with… When I see him play I see a guy who can be very, very effective in providing easy outlets and (mostly) safe passes to keep possession with the occasional killer, chance-making big pass, usually with his strong right foot. He needs to be fit, however and (generally) he needs a bit of protection from the ref. In the style of most Spanish players, he knows how to shield the ball with his body and take contact. If that contact isn’t rewarded with a whistle, his effectiveness drops off badly…

    That to me, is the big problem with trying to buy a holding mid–Who are we talking about?. We can use the terms “beast” or “destroyer” but what do we mean? I think we’re talking about someone who does (basically) what Arteta does but also can take advantage of situations where the ref has swallowed his whistle. In other words, a player who on offense, can “ride” tackles, keep the ball and push it forward and, when the other team has the ball, can present a physical presence to break up their play. Indeed Diaby was a master at the standing stab-tackle and boy could he turn and run with the ball. Unfortunately, as a physical presence, he has failed. No matter how tall and long-legged and solid a footballer, one cannot be a presence, if one cannot take the pitch… Where do we find such a player (in the next 48 hours…) who can do all these things?

    Alcide is right. JW, AR and TR can do a bunch of things if not all of them. Flamini, when he returns, can too. I’ve never been impressed by either Frimpong nor Coquelin but both remain Arsenal players so their names will be mentioned. Some have also mooted (at different times) Vermaelen, Gibbs and Sagna in that spot (to which I’ve always responded: Koscielny)… It seems a critical moment in this area of the pitch. We’ve got one match (Palace at home) where we can likely handle whatever the opposition throws our way. After that it gets a whole lot more difficult…

    I guess we’ll have to see what the manager says…

  • Was not Monreal fouled on the first So’ton goal? Lee Mason, of course, would never call it, but still… I don’t picture a lot of (modern) FBs not being climbed by a guy like Fonte. Maybe one with more experience in English football would’ve thrown a well placed elbow… Sir Chez in two minds and beaten at the near post seemed the real issue. Credit to Shaw, however for getting in quality crosses (at will) all night..

    Also, that other chance, which should’ve been a goal for Gallagher, seemed as much the fault of Arteta giving Nacho the ball in too tight a space…True, however, he didn’t do well when one v one with the keeper (a couple of times) even if the angles were difficult… On the plus side, his overhit cross did lead to our first goal…

  • ToTL, lack of pressing up top and a ref who doesn’t blow (except the two wrong calls, the 2nd leading to their first goal…), I think was the issue… The only guy who instinctively responds to that situation is Flamini, but, of course, he went over the line with the two-footer… The British guys (Rambo, Jack) who grew up with whistle-swallowers tend to force the issue (get a call, one way or the other and bend the ref to their desire…) in a way the continental guys just don’t.

    But now I’m moaning about the ref… (along with our options at the rear of MF…)

    (Are there any emergency, last minute DM purchases you can imagine?…)

  • I guess Nigel de Jong could be available but might be on high wages. You are worried about his aggressiveness but he could be the answer for a while imo. I guess there are others who have ‘a price’ like Bender or even Wanyama. Should be take Capoue of the Spuds now….

    I dont watch enough international football at the moment to think about other options. I just want somebody with physical presence and great tackling ability, who protects and organises and bosses an area, whilst also a decent passer of the ball and has experience ideally. That is why I like De Jong.

  • a very balanced post and a much needed one @ TA – very well written and it shows that you put in a lot of heart and effort into it – was thoroughly enjoyable, cheers.

    all said and done then we can safely say that yesterday wasn’t our finest first 45 minutes of the season and we couldn’t play like that again even if we wanted too in the future ( I hope ) – saying that the reaction was top class in the 2nd half …. oh I gotta do my 3 positives and 3 negatives, don’t I ? 🙂

    3 Negatives first :

    1 : First half team performance , as a unit we just didn’t turn up or weren’t as switched on as we normally are away from home – however , The use of substitutions – we were looking for a winner even with 10 men, so bringing on Poldi in the 90th minutute or there abouts for Giroud left me scratching my head – if you are going to bring him on, bring him on the 85th minute at the expense of a full back not a striker who can defend better than most average defenders out there – I feel we could have hit them on the counter had Poldi and Giroud been on together for 10 minutes at least.

    3: Sczny – he made a number of decent saves but the first goal he let in, I thought he should have done better – even though Nacho was fouled and so on, I expect Sczny to make such saves – instead of pushing his hands out at the ball his hands was dropping back to the inside of the goal at his near post – could have / should have done better !

    5: Nacho – he needs to bulk up, is out muscled far too easily and his lack of pace is exposed when he is in no man’s land trying to rush back – he didn’t get enough of a shift or help from Santiago and our usual reliable duo or Arteta and Flamini ………he had a clear one on one and shot on goal , yet he fluffed his lines and into the crowd he shoots it – summed up his day….any other day, he would have hit the target !

    3 Positives :

    1: Ozil – so that’s what we paid £42 million for , ehhh – his 2nd half performance was top notch and had he scored that solo goal – oh boy, that would have been something special – where have you been hiding that sudden burst of pace before , I wonder

    3: The team Spirit and character – we have that in abundance and it showed in the 2nd half – we usually show that anyway in the 2nd half, don’t we ? we have been a 2nd half team for the best part of 18 months –

    5: we got a valuable point – 1 more than Man city got when they played Saints ?

    special mention to Flamini – there are times when you wonder if he has a brain ? that was totally uncalled for and there was no need for such a tackle – this lad simply switches off when it comes to picking up bookings – he’s red card may end up costing the team much more than just 4 games missed, I fear.

    It was a bad and brainless tackle and I don’t want my Manager defending it – fair enough that Fabio got away with something similar last week but you don’t wanna see something like that coming the way of our players then why should we be the ones going in like that ? I’m sure AW will try to calm Flamini down and have a good solid chat with him.

  • Ernest Zambucco (@Zambucco) :

    you say we are deluded ? and then you go on writing ” that in the next couple of seasons after a bit of this and a bit of that , which means grooming/producing decent players for top clubs like Arsenal and selling your best players year in year out ” you’ll be shoulder to shoulder with us ?

    did you just mention deluded in your post ?

    while we are at it – you couldn’t win against our 10 men when you had a whole 16 minutes to do so and when we had all our 3 attacking substitutions on and it’s not like we parked the bus either.

    I don’t mind Saints fans but give credit where it’s due – you had no answer to our resilience and steel in the 2nd half.

    Admir 🙂

    thank you for sharing that in the last post, that was very inspiring and motivational , cheers


    no, you were not the lone voice as I was with you and you raised very valid points, however, please don’t be like that – you’re a top notch poster and from your writings it doesn’t appear that you are less educated, less knowledgeable or anything of that sort – we are all equals here and our backgrounds and so on have nothing to do with it – no, you are not a negative person, actually I find your views on Arsenal very positive, in fact – you were one of the very few to stick by Ramsey and back him up , when he was getting dogs abuse and so on from most bloggers and so on – it proves that you are not a negative person , it just shows that you know what you are talking about and you have opinions.

    we all have opinions, and different views – but that doesn’t mean your opinion is more wrong than mine or more right than anyone else’s

    I know 17HT and TA have said what they have done, they are also top notch posters and things get lost in translation in the online world and may come across as very aggressive and so on – but I also know that it’s not usually in 17HT’s nature or personality to be like that and I have already seen that he has apologized and accepted he was wrong – you see 2 wrong’s don’t make a right.

    in short, you matter to us and I wouldn’t like to lose a very fine canadian blogger since I look forward to your comments and do enjoy them as well – so please, cool down and calm down and once you are ready, come right back on (be it today or later) – no worries but I won’t let you abandon us this easily 🙂

    sorry to hear about the aging and ailing family member and the care – I know how it feels to be without proper sleep …I haven’t slept for more than 48 hours – that’s why you had me butting in at 3ish in the morning – but hey, I hear you have splendid espresso’s to help you through it all ! me on the other hand, not much of a coffee or tea person – more of a BK reader to help me through 🙂

  • last para above was for @ 17HT

    I keep saying this and will say it again, it’s only a matter of time before chelsea and man city end up dropping points (and it may start from tonight ) – we are still in a very strong position and right in it to win it !

    off now, will try to be back later 🙂

  • Ils ont mal joué nous manquons de liant entre les lignes joué avec 2 DM et complètement stupide.
    A Arsenal nous avons plein de milieux de terrain, mais pas de très bon box to box même Ramsey et je ne parle même pas de Wilshere qui lui ne viens même plus défendre et se contente juste d’attaquer profitant de son poste de petit chou-chou d’Arsene. Diaby nous manque, Song nous manque mais comme dans notre équipe nous n’avons pas de joueurs avec leur qualités nous devons faire appel a la jeunesse enfin je l’espère sinon la fin de saison seras une vrai catastrophe avec une chèvre comme Arteta et un bourriquot comme Giroud …….
    Désoler pour le Français mais ça me saoul de toujours traduire en anglais 🙂

  • Hey 007, Your lengthy posts suggest that all is at least stable with the missus…I hope… Yeah, I’ve got the coffee going this morning, but I’ve reached my limit there… Sorry, no comparison on the issues with my “family member,” who is going through a bit of a second childhood–and us refusing to let her wear diapers… 😯 Still, thanks for the shout out… Speaking of dogs, isn’t it about time to hear from Gerry (not to mention the fur brothers)?…

    As frustrating as yesterday’s match was, the lack of information from the club about the squad (injuries and transfers) is equally maddening. Do you have anything special on Ramsey’s to suggest it’s just a niggle? I saw us trying to rest JW and Rosicky last night but not in addition to Rambo. The problem seemed that neither Serge nor the Ox really had the stamina to do that pressing thing AND stop Luke Shaw. At least Ozil took advantage of the kid being too far forward for our second goal. My TW “plan” was to be over the moon landing a dribbling winger/forward for the future, but on the back of Arteta’s “performance” and Flamini’s suspension I’m shifting towards Total’s idea that this is the more pressing area of concern. I think I might watch the tape again, but I believe Gibbs was more or less playing as a DM after he came on. Is that the internal solution?… Cabaye off to PSG is one less candidate… Also, what’s the latest on Sagna and da ting?

    Regarding Milo–I actually really appreciate you telling me I was too harsh. You ARE correct and I need to do better. I like to think of myself as a “sensitive guy” but I’ve probably been around on this internet thing a bit too long and my own butt (which got bruised more than a couple of times) has gotten overly toughened … IMO, the key is that both “support” and “critique” should be rational rather than blind, which allows it to actually be (at least somewhat…) nuanced and therefore interesting and informative. Still, I’m regretful for using personal admittances to hammer home my ideas… 😳

  • Thanks JB, especially for your three negatives and positives. Will get back later. 🙂

    You are in fine form, by the way, for somebody who has not slept much.

  • It was a tough match under bad field conditions and demanded full concentration from start to finish. Southampton are going to take points off the other top 4 teams before the season is out and are a team to be respected. Had we had Walcott, Ramsey and Wilshere, it could have ended in us gaining all 3 points possibly, but a tie away at Southampton is not a bad result, under the circumstances. The Anti-Arsenal boo boys calling for Wenger’s head once again, need to shut up and let the man get on with his job, as your article so wisely points out.

  • Evening all. I had a blinding headache, tooth ache, ear ache, and I didn’t sleep to well.

    I checked my bank balance to see I am worse of than I thought, so that £4 would have been handy – Thanks Burglar!

    Then I remembered the match …

    I cured the first item with a mouth wash and a brisk walk, dodging the showers.

    I let my feminine side take care of the second … by spending a bit more money.

    Third one, I skipped all your comments, you miserable bastardos!

    I haven’t even read the match review, seen the game, but I did have a relaxing afternoon keeping up with Eurobot on transfers. No transfers, but the comments are quite funny.

    So how are we all, while we are still TOTL for the next 45 minutes at least? is it safe to read a comment or two? Are we talking it is a blessing in disguise that Ramsey is injured, again, so we will see somebody in during this window? Obviously not good for Aaron, but we have to think of the bigger picture, eh?

    Not if we are offering £25m for a player that will cost the release clause if others get involved, like £37m?

    Hey, ho, tell me when it is safe to come out of my darkened room …

  • Hey Milo, nothing wrong with swearing. I swear by it !. As for being poor !. I was brought up in a bathless house with a outside toilet, of which I used to rather shit myself than go out side in the dark for a crap !. I used to have two options for cleaning….sit in a puddle for a bath or wait for it to rain for a shower !….a hot shower would be my 4 sadistic brothers pissing out of the bedroom window !.
    Thanks Totes !. You know me, I only watch the wins !. hahaha
    It`s weird really, I just knew we were not going to win, but I`m disappointed with the draw !.
    Here`s a table ( from chas ) to show we should not have expected to out pass Soton as they along with Swansea do it better than us !.

    Also, apparently Wenger asked Mason to delay the game by 15 minutes so we could warm up after turning up late !. So that could have had some bearing as to why we started slow !.
    I see Mansour City have posted a £51.6m loss, exceeding the £37m threshold !.
    Intriguingly, City made £47m from the sale of ” intellectual property ” to ” related ” and ” third ” parties – without that income the losses would have been more !. What a con !. No chance of FFP working, unless UEFA grow some and that’s unlikely with the corruption ( ie Qatar WC…FIFA back handers etc` ) high up in footballs governing bodies !.

  • PS Milo !
    As I have previously said, I`m the least qualified Bastard on here. So you can join me in the corner !. hahaha

    Sorry to hear you have ” caring probs ” !. Hope it all sort`s it`s self out, so you can get back to some decent kipping time !.

  • Might have been a blessing in disguise TCM ? 🙂

    I’m off to watch the totts mc game. Should I laugh at Totts getting thrashed or cheer them on to a win?

  • Cornwall, when i get the chance i shall take a butchers at Citys accounts and enthrall you all with a thoroughly crap analysis.

    Nice one TA

    I have no problems with yesterdays performance. Southampton worked really hard in the first half, pressing very high up the pitch and subsequently disrupted our rythem. That Lamala guy also played very well, picking the pockets between our defence and two holding midfielders.

    I still maintain however that on another day we would have won. It was poor letting them equalise and Flamini mad a bad mistake that lunge

    The truth is we have had other halfs similar to Southampton, though admittedly not as bad, and come away with the points.

    This Arsenal team dosnt have to dominate games anymore. It can win games by maintaining shape and then utilising its quality to score goals.

  • So, back from the final trail run before they’re covered up with snow–fingers crossed and I was contemplating the management article quotes. While (whilst?) the Xs and Ys make plenty of sense for real world managers I think the problem with would-be football managers–i.e., those who choose to blog about it, is that they want their cake AND their calories. In other words they want to throw out their ideas yet never want to consider the consequences, always safe in the knowledge that they’re not actually in charge… IMO it’s a culture of both true powerlessness combined with the need for instant gratification (or, with the internet, encouragement of instant expression…) Everybody an entrepreneur/expert is the culture here… People really putting themselves in the shoes of management wouldn’t stump for half a billion pounds (in fees + salaries) every window, for example…Subbing someone after 10 minutes for not fouling is something I’ve NEVER seen a manager do…

    Whoa…Kun Aguero slams the post 4 mins in…Spurs still level, but for how long? Couldn’t they take that camera down from outer space?…Zabaleta, I think has less hair than I do and I fear for Christian Eriksen’s…

    WBA up by 2 goals at Villa Park after 10 mins…

  • Don’t be silly Stretch, it will be wasted on a dunce like me !.
    There are always loop holes… do you think I got the idea for……The Love Shack !….and with you being in one of the worlds oldest loophole professions, you could bamboozle me with bollox !. hahaha

  • Villa pull one back in the 13th minute…Wild stuff…a bit like our match in the 2nd half… There it is, El Kun for nil-1…

  • Go Hugo go…Spurs still only a goal down after 20 and Ade even won them a corner that City almost bungled…

  • On Milo, the lads great

    i was a bit narked after that game, but after coming on here and reading Milos tremendous rant, i literaly pissed myself. hahaha, it was fantastic, though bolloxs, fantastic hahahaha

    My old Granma was like that. She would get annoyed at something silly like me not feeding the Goats because i was to busy stretching, and then go into one.

    i would be blamed for every thing, rangeing from the price of live Chickens to Climate change. She would end the rant by chasing me round the yard armed with a thin, but very hard stick. So if any one sees Milo approaching armed with a pole, leg it. hahaha

  • Builders uncovered Neolithic Caves whilst working at N17. There were cave drawings in black and white of what looked to be………a title trophy !. A bit like VCC`s cock, they are carbon dating it to see how old it is !. hahaha

  • Those big Brazilians (Sandro and Paulinho) seemed decent too. Bentaleb favored (favoured?) over Capoue…Speaking of which, all these links to Matuidi are circumstantial as opposed to real, I would guess, after the Cabaye to PSG transfer…

    Where’s my sauce?!?…

  • Yaya Toure on an Orange now after fouling Danny Rose 😯 (Ref reached for the card but then remembered it would be a sending off…Oooooh FK from Eriksen flagged off as Dawson nets it! Set pieces seem the way forward…

  • No way PSG would let Matuidi go this window – money is no matter at this stage. And only a big, big club with a big, big wallet would even afford him in the summer – PSG will make indecent proposals to keep him – there’s not many players that age, with that quality in the position he’s playing.

  • Yeah, I remember him TA. Ime sure the swine scored the winner against us once. That was in the good old days when City were a bit crap. Watching them tonight has given me the shakes,especialy Aguero. Hes almost as good as Giroud.

  • Does that mean hes out of our game? I am confident we can beat City. If they try and have a pop at us at the Grove, we will catch them out

  • Oh mate, you dont know the half of it. the amount of times ive woken up in a cold sweat shouting “no no no no, not the minge thigh squeeze” This is especaily embaressing when awoken after a nap on the train. hahaha

  • hahahaha ive just seen Vics Redundancy comment. Look on the bright side Vicks, it gives your cock the chance to learn new things like gardening, bowling etc, hahaha

  • TOTL, that’s why I used to like it when Arsenal played with Blue n white hooped socks. 😉

  • hahaha Totes….I reckon VCC paints his knob in Blue and White Hoops and dangles it out his flies in the Family Enclosure at Loftus Road………oops, sorry son…mind my rattle !. hahaha

  • As per usual we cant rely on the spuds to beat one of our competitors when it matters, so come on Shitty, bury the bastards, so we only have Manshafter Std and Liverscum to worry about for 3rd or 4th !.

  • Had to take a call but that looked like a rather poor decision… Marriner to have a hotel named after him in Abu Dhaby, perhaps? Game over…So do I watch the snoozer (Chavs-Hammers) or the wild one (Villa-WBA 4-3 now…) 🙄

    I think I’ve been dreaming about the former Mrs Mancini… 😯 At the very least I’ve been waking up with sore neck muscles… Nothing worse than a growing forehead atop a bulging neck, I fear…

  • Nice goal for Steve the Jobber…deflected I guess but still…

    Hammers well aware that it’s diving time at the bridge…

  • Definitely Jovetic’s goal…looked like he was placing it nicely…

    Jose looking animated as ET begins… My wife has a thing for big Sam Allardyce, or at least she believes the hair is real and thinks he’s got a nice smile when he takes a break from the cud chewing…

    Finishes nil-nil despite Eto’o uber cheekiness at the end and Lampard saved in Extra-Extra-Extra time…

    Not to make light of a not-so-great situation but does somebody owe us an apology?

  • Great result at Chavs. Now the have got to beat Citeh and come out and play. A draw there and we are TOTL if we beat the VCC hooped Cockers… a Shitty win and we put five points between us and Chavs…. A Chavs win and we are two points clear of both. So OGAAT!

  • hahaha West Ham ( being an East Ender, I have a soft spot for them ! ) had one shot !. Chavs had 39 shots and 72% possession !. Mind you…the Chavs were about as productive as West Ham in 2 CL Semis and a Final and won the CL !. Not only did they buy their trophies but also bought all the lucky heather, 4 leafed clovers and rabbits foots in the world that season !.

  • Bet Mourino will moan about negative tactics now Cornwall. That geezer is such a hypocrite

  • Well, I am only here to apologize to total because I said Chelsea wouldn’t drop points. I owe him that. The rest I stand by. We shouldn’t go on the premise that it is ok to drop points because everyone else will. What kind of a mentality is that??? I mean what if they all jumped off bridges??? Do we jump too??? I’m sure you’ve heard that shit before, surely. I mean, there comes a time when you have to take matters in to your own hands. We can control how we prepare and play matches.

  • True, Stretch !……..expect to see a reversal in stats when they play on Monday night away to Mansour City !…….he will hail himself a special tactician if he manages to do what West Ham have done tonight !.

  • Depends on the landing gear, Milo 🙂

    We are all disappointed at dropping two points yesterday, but given the circumstances it was not so bad after all. Key is to get up and fight again and that we will do on Saturday.

  • Totes is your Klompendildo on the turps ?. First you think we`re playing QPR and now it`s on a Saturday !……….Just had a look and QPR are playing on a Saturday !………we are playing Crystal Palace on a Sunday !…….so you can join Vics and go to both !. Now wake up man ! hahaha

  • Good evening Sour and Swollen Scrotum Soldiers!! 😆
    thanks Totes for calming review and for the hit cup of Milo!! 😆
    Will watch the game tomorrow but let’s hope that was just the wake up call the boys needed!! Don’t worry Milo .. We all get angry and I felt that way after the Chelsea game but that was more on Wenger’s tactics than team performance. Look like this time Wenger had tactics right or forced on him due to Jacks and Rambos injuries. But sounds like Ozil really stood up!
    Let’s rub our bristols so there as shiny as Cockies Usmanov Buddhas!!!
    It’s going to get crazy in the Tranny window!! 😀
    Cockie is ramping up the window in style!!! If you notice a blue haze from Cornwall it’s Cockies end of window special blue bake methcookies!!!
    It’s going to be wild!!! 😆

    Ps. I love it when you talk about your x’s thigh injections Stretch … What a woman and surely an upgrade on the goats?? Haha !! 😆

  • I will finish with this…I would rather have seen us lose with a full-blooded performance than come away with the feeling that we didn’t even give ourselves a chance to win whether that be through lack of effort, preparation, talent, whatever. There are things I can accept and then things I cannot. You didn’t see or hear me moaning when we lost to City, or even Villa. I was pissed after the United match, and even more disappointed with this result. It’s when I see a lack of effort to prepare, and execute, in my opinion…That is when I get angry, and I’m still steamed about this. If we win the league, or come a close second, all will be forgotten. IF we finish in the usual third or fourth place, then I WILL be vindicated in my assessment, in my eyes at least. I would really like to be proven wrong.

  • Have to get my Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz`s, up early !.
    Milo……what have I told you about writing and not using expletives !. I am a Cockney and only understand language when they are every other word !. hahaha
    You have great passion, try to focus and channel it in The Arsenal way !. Right, I`m tired, so fcuk you, I`m off to bed !. hahaha

  • Cockies effort to bring Draxler in this window … And if all else fails at least half a dozen new Trannys will appear in his workshop!! 😆

  • hahaha cheers Fozzie. Your Maximums Stretchicus cracked me up, especialy when reading it I was in the middle of a full blown stretch. hahaha

  • Good night Cockerrocker!!! Save those beauty meth making talents for the next two days!!!! Hahaha !!

  • Your welcome Stretch!! Haha !! So tell me … How many times did the goat or your grandma find you in compromising positions while stretching?? Haha !!! Perhaps it’s like some kinky Greek tag team thing? Haha!!! Maybe grandma and the goat tossed coins to see who got to shaft you first??!! 😆

    Oh hell Strech … Fozzlock Holmes and MarleKaze Watson have finally put all the pieces together!!! Grandma + Goats + Female Thigh Injection = Men in Black neurolyzer smile !! I know I sure would be smiling!! Hahaha!! 😆

  • Milo, a man of your word…I might be talking to nobody here since you also said you’d never come back, but is expecting the team to be superhuman not a touch unrealistic? Every team has bad days; if you expect perfection all the time you’re on a hiding to nothing (except the Premier League portion of the Invincibles). And what can we really do about the team and whether or not we accept their efforts? Beyond wearing unwashed undies all season and praying to a God who may or may not support Arsenal (I think He does, but that might be blasphemous), and who has to keep all the other football fans happy too (like when I actually prayed for us to win the Cup in 93 when were 2-0 down to Leeds and we promptly forced a replay and then – much later – Andy Linighan scored at the end of extra-time in the replay of the Final) we are pretty much powerless. I know you were posting and ranting because you love the club and it feels like there is no release from the rage and pure frustration that envelops you, but don’t give up! And if ultimately FFP and prudent financial management don’t win us anything, at least we’ve got a moneybags Russian up our sleeve too…and one who can bring David Dein back at that!

  • Right good night bastardos … I have just heard Mrs Ps voice from the bedroom which means my odds just shortened on pork scratchings tonight!!! 😆

  • hahaha, They dont call those Goats “Mountainous” for nothing Fozzie. Yeah, my teeth were shining all right, fully clenched whilst mounted hahaha

    Night all

  • By the way … I think Westhams bus was so massive at the moment it might have actually been a tight fit inside Giroud’s nose!!! Haha!! 😆
    Now that doesn’t happen very often!! 😆

  • not sure what you wrote Macko, but who am I to disagree with it, fully agreed with what you’ve written in french 🙂


    no worries, I know it wasn’t you last night as usually you are absolutely first class with your comments and very balanced – it takes a great man to realize that they have made a mistake, then admit it and apologize , you will always have my respect for that as we often have disagreements, most of us, if not all of us at some point but the important thing to remember here is that we all bleed arsenal and it sorta hurts or disappoints when we don’t do as well as we anticipate or expect. (yep, so far so good, hopefully no more hiccups now and the bloody thing just heals nicely without playing up )……. you also asked about Ramsey ? well, as far as I know, it’s a repeat of what Theo had…expected back thursday then a minor glitch put him back for 2 more weeks before he returned (yep, you know how I feel about our medical team , I don’t rate them very highly – in fact, I will go as far as to say that sometimes Aw’s strength is his weakness and loyalty in all departments is costing us big time – we have a new doctor or scientist from WHU to assist , I say no more – ).

    I see that Milo has made a return and well done for doing so, I hope we can continue to have many more footy discussions with you Milo 🙂

    I did say that chelsea and man city may drop points, chelsea did but man city got favous again

    as usual , goal disallowed wrongly – penalty and red given

    goal wrongly disallowed against new castle

    goal or 2 goals disallowed against US – wrongly ?

    but hey, am well chuffed that Jose.M got a taste of his own medicine and had the cheek to point out at their style of play – something he has been doing himself from the last donkey no. of years – the gall of it ehhhh

    I hope you get well soon, Gerry – we have missed you even if you haven’t missed any of us 😉

  • yep, De Jong be a perfecto signing but there’s another guy who I rate highly and we could get him on the cheap cheap – £3.5 million cheap ? plays for the hammers and goes by the name of Mo . Diame

    he could deliver the goods for us and do a job, alright – isn’t cup tied either for CL ?

  • oh yes @ FB – now Chelsea need to take the same bus and park it at the Etihad next monday 👿 not that he needs a lesson or chat with fat sam as he’s 2 levels above any other manager when it comes to parking not the bus but the whole train, ha

    with Aguero no more, I can see City out of the top 2 by the end of February ( The visionary has spoken).

    which reminds me, where is JGC-Damus these days ? been a while since he last predicted a score line.

  • Yeah, 007, live and learn, live and learn… I shouldn’t have posted what I did… i too am glad to see Milo back, reading and posting… To bury this topic I will say that I’ve been in situations where people have questioned my effort, (when really they just wanted a better result…) and I find nothing more galling. Calling people women’s parts seems along those same lines but maybe also indicates a level of intimidation… 😉 IMO, only the individual knows if they’re giving it their all (or if they’re truly intimidated…) and sometimes, I believe, making a “show” of effort (or bravado) can actually be counterproductive…On that note, despite the 5-1 route by 12 Man City over 10 man Spurs, I saw some silly-ass dives by the English Szczesney (Joe Hart) when the wise keeper knows to keep his feet in case a ball comes back off the bar… They are a scary team but less so without El Kun and I think we’re better balanced fore and aft… I guess Mr. Hart is trying to keep his spot as the English #1 for Brazil and nobody appreciates a “hollywood” like y’all… more winky…

    In truth, it’s a cultural thing and you guys (and most Americans…) love to see that effort even if it’s in vain. In Spain, in my experience, they mock the pressing of the English teams (on the keepers and back line) even if the Barca tika-taka is based upon it…and they salute a well feigned injury or foul. (School kids even practice and count the number of body-rolls-in-agony along the ground…) But hey, to each they’re own, eh?…

    Anyhow, this Draxler business sounds promising, but my hunch is that he and Poldolski will fight for playing time and really he’s one for the future. Of course, spending money will give the club (and the fan base) a lift and we seem to need the extra bodies. Somebody once told me that Ryo Miyachi was going to be the dominant Japanese player of his generation. If that’s so AND Draxler is the the German Ryo (AND we get the deal done…) I can spare a little patience… Anyhow, if you’re talking to your sauce (I’m talking with mine this evening, a dram of Scottish gin…) do tell…

    Picking the team (and bench) for Crystal Palace–another tough nut to crack–Tony Pulis is a PTB specialist–won’t be simple. (Is Ox ready for a central DMish start?…) Hopefully some good fitness news comes along with the announcement of the signing(s) 😆 Speaking of, I see some headlines about Grenier to Toon (to replace Cabaye, no doubt) but now I’m just trying to lure Gerry back… 😀

    Kisses to the missus, and glad you seem back on track…

  • Agreed with JB, we all bleed Arsenal and letting off some steam is fine. But this is not a free for all ranting and raving site and you will have to accept to get challenged back on content and attitude if you do. 🙂

  • Good morning all. It will even be good morning to 17HT, when you read this over your Expresso?
    Don’t worry, I don’t need ‘luring back’.

    I was i no condition to watch the match yesterday morning, and as such, I did not want to comment. As I was rapidly scrolling past all the first round of comments I saw Totes one on ‘there being a lot of despair around’, so I scrolled on. Other than the title, and the author, read nothing else of this one, although some were difficult not to notice …

    Despite have made a full strength coffee instead of my usual cappuccino, I slept very well last night and watched the game earlier this morning.

    So being an armchair football manager, more in the ‘Y’ camp, I agree with TA. Saints did play our game better than we did/do.

    However, they were helped! It sometimes feels, just when you think you have got things under control, you play the wrong team at the wrong time. Circumstances, such as:
    Wilshere out with a knock to his ankle, a real one, as he was not on the bench?
    Ramsey looked to be all set, but a set back kept him off the bench too.
    Rosicky, even with a mask, it is not surprising they are taking no chances with him, with the matches still to come? Not on the bench either.

    Net result, we had our three principle drivers in the middle of the park out, and also our best DM’s playing together. Only a few dissenting voices against this beforehand, so I hope not too many of you were being hypocritical with the outcome? There was little choice, other than to put Ox back there, but that meant we would have both young players on, neither of whom could last the full 90 at the moment. That was half the problem from a tactical point of view. The other half comes with the Ozil/Cazorla, err, if I say ‘pairing’ it would be a misuse of the word, whereas I believe it is a misuse of deployment. Let me explain …. again, that is, given that my positional play was based on heat mapping of the two before the game. Mind, I also included Ramsey in the team, which was denied by his injury.

    So, the problem of Saints dominance for much of the first half was partly down to the tactic of Cazorla on the left wing to try and keep them from attacking down that side, and be a support to Monreal. Much the same on the other side with Gnabry supporting Sagna. This if fine as a tactic, but where it falls down, and it did fall down, is because, despite of all the talk of Ozil being the No 10 ‘in the hole’ as his best position, simply does not hold true in practice. He moves from wing to wing. Net result? We had no creative midfielder in the middle of the park. Neither Flamini or Arteta stepped over the halfway line in the first half. Yes, I know they were too busy defending. But part of that was Saints had two central midfielders who had no one to mark. That it why they overwhelmed us, because they had spare players to close down quickly? They were also helped by our players slightly waiting for balls to arrive, or with so few targets to pass to, their passes were easily anticipated and cut out.

    Now with a lot of hindsight here, the one remedy would have been to have Gibb’s playing the role he did when he came on? That way you could have still had an attacking threat on the left, but also quick defensive cover, at Arteta’s expense. Cazorla moves the middle, and Ozil, notionally to the left. If you do not believe me, look again at the last 10 minutes of the first half and see where Cazorla was? Look again at the second half for both goals? Note also how much time Ozil played in the middle?

    If they had been fit, any one of the 3 players missing would have made the difference. I just hope that will be taken on board, and not just blame the Flamteta pairing?

    I am sorry if this has been said before in any comments, but there were too many to look at and get a post in. I may get around to reading later, but it is bin bag day and I missed them last time …

  • New Post New Post 🙂

    Jozefos2013, a brand new writer, has written a truly beautiful review of DB10 book ‘Stillness and Speed’. Enjoy! 🙂

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