Southampton – Arsenal: after thoughts.
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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