Bergkampesque Live-Blog: Unchanged Arsenal Line-up to Take us to the Top?

Here are your teams:

Arsenal  Cech; Bellerin, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Monreal; Flamini, Ramsey; Walcott, Özil, Campbell; Giroud.

Subs: Ospina; Chambers, Gabriel, Gibbs; Adelaide, Chamberlain; Iwobi.

Southampton  Stekelenburg; Martina, Fonte, van Dijk, Bertrand; Wanyama, Clasie; Ward-Prowse, S.Davis, Mane; Long.

Subs: Gazzaniga, Yoshida, Tadic, Ramirez, Juanmi, Caulker, Romeu

Our group, unchanged for the 4th straight match, try to reach the top of the table at Southampton.  The Saints have keeper Stekelenburg back but Pelle doesn’t make the squad.

It’s a great book-end to the calendar year as it was this one which began it–in horrific fashion.  A terrible performance that day and a 2-nil loss punctuated by keeper errors is how 2015 began.  Szczesny smoking in the shower afterwards didn’t help matters either…

Now it’s Petr Cech between the posts and a slightly different group due to injuries and the inevitable changes which take place over a years time.

Southampton has been in very poor recent form: 4 league losses and a draw in their last 5 plus a 6-1 drubbing at home to Liverpool in the Carling Cup.  The Saints will be very keen to stop the rot, so we can take nothing for granted and must be at our professional best to confirm the fine victory 5 days ago vs Manchester City.

Please join us in the comments.


by 17highburyterrace


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85 Responses to Bergkampesque Live-Blog: Unchanged Arsenal Line-up to Take us to the Top?

  1. 17highburyterrace says:

    Anybody around to watch?… I’ve got a houseful of guests just back in from sledding to watch the match…

    My wife’s in the Koscielny kit and looking very, very good… 😀

  2. TotalArsenal says:

    Well done Seventeenho

    Have to watch this one in the pub so cannot join you.

    Catch you later ⚽️😃

  3. Ab says:

    Hi there HT. I will be a radio ‘spectator’ again tonight, so will be logging in for the more insightful comments on this site. Fingers crossed. I’m not expecting an easy game at all, but there is ever hope that we start brightly and get a couple of goals – we can kill teams on the counter if we have our noses in front and can play with some discipline.

  4. 17highburyterrace says:

    Enjoy it, TA…

  5. 17highburyterrace says:

    OK AB, I’ll try my best… Agreed about trying for a good start, ideally without over-committing too many bodies forward…

  6. 17highburyterrace says:

    We have kickoff… 46 hours until we play Bournemouth… Big couple of days here…

  7. 17highburyterrace says:

    First corner to Arsenal… Giroud heads over with no power…

  8. 17highburyterrace says:

    So’ton are keeping the ball but we seem keen to press from the front…

    Now we’ve got it and work it with good pace. Giroud wins a free kick from 35 yards. Sent in nicely by Ozil but nobody gets on it and it bounces out.

  9. 17highburyterrace says:

    7th minute: Giroud almost heads onto Ozil but ends up with their keeper… Other end, Shane Long well offside…

  10. 17highburyterrace says:

    8th: We seem to be winning the long balls thus far…but nothing really working along the ground.

    9th: Kos plays well out of our end and Campbell keeps it. Building from the back this time, Ozil loses it on the turn. Mane’s backheel fails, but So’ton keep it…

    Neither team, in truth, able to do much with the ball and Giroud bungles one into touch…

  11. 17highburyterrace says:

    13th minute: So’ton looking better in attack and tries one from outside the box and a big angle. Blocked at the point and the rebound is eventually cleared….

    14th: Campbell gets into their box and we swing it around all the way to Nacho. Out for a corner.

  12. 17highburyterrace says:

    Theo’s corner is poor but we still have it until Ramsey’s touch is heavy. Betrand gets a cross in and we fail to clear. Mertesacker clears the return high ball and now we have it…

  13. 17highburyterrace says:

    Better there and a Giroud header falls for Nacho but his shot lacks power and is straight to keeper.

  14. Ab says:

    Feels like more threat from us overall. But the saints are not laying down by any means. We don’t seem to be making the connections in the final 3rd yet. A matter of time?

  15. Ab says:


  16. 17highburyterrace says:

    19th minute. So’ton seem able to advance the ball down wide channels…

    Uh oh. Wonder strike from Martina with the outside of his right foot…

    1-nil So’ton

  17. 17highburyterrace says:

    He was in lots of space and Mertesacker’s clearance was a little short and soft… Saints look up to try and push for a 2nd, while we’re having trouble with basic possession play.

  18. 17highburyterrace says:

    23rd: Slightly better with a bit of possession and pushing the ball forward but still very slow with the pace of the passing…

  19. 17highburyterrace says:

    Campbell and Giroud try a 1-2 but it’s broken up without too much trouble. Kos bundles over Long on the clearance…

    Campbell tries to put Ollie in but it runs away…

  20. 17highburyterrace says:

    The BFG gives it straight to So’ton, but Ward-Prowse dribbles it wide….

  21. Ab says:

    Sounds like we are not fully alert here. Someone out there needs to be applying a rocket. Cant complain about the goal necessarily – not a lot anyone can do about a strike like that (from the descriptions on the radio anyhow!).

  22. 17highburyterrace says:

    27th: So’ton holding the ball well and starting to take kicks and throws more slowly. Ward Prowse well over with a shot from distance.

  23. 17highburyterrace says:

    It was a wonder shot, AB, bent in with the outside of the foot into the far corner. Cech got reasonable close but it was just inside the post.

    Ooooh…bad back-pass and Long almost pounces. Davis mis-hits the rebound…

    We’re definitely on the back foot here….

  24. 17highburyterrace says:

    Half an hour done and we’re looking 2nd best, struggling with basics…

  25. Ab says:

    Not heard much from Ozil thus far. Ramsey was prominent earlier on, but less so now.Saints midfield sound like they are asserting themselves pretty well

  26. 17highburyterrace says:

    Wanyama pushes Ozil over, no call…

    Ozil tried to push it central for Ramsey but So’ton come away with it…

    Lots of bouncy balls and Bells evenutally crosses over everybody… Ozil and So’ton players jawing at each other. The ref might need to use his whistle…

  27. 17highburyterrace says:

    BFG wrestled down by Long…Call is given but Long puts it in the net… Still 1-nil. We need to improve here before half-time.

  28. 17highburyterrace says:

    Bellerin wins a corner…

  29. 17highburyterrace says:

    Straight to keeper… 😦

  30. 17highburyterrace says:

    38th minute: Trying to establish some bit of possession but Theo’s diagonal drive (from our right side now) leads only to a weak shot to their keeper…

  31. 17highburyterrace says:

    Better there… Ramsey wins a corner… Theo hits side netting only, however…

  32. Ab says:

    Ozil and Ramsey combination there to get us in. Sounds like Walcott missed a clear chance there?

  33. 17highburyterrace says:

    Theo’s space was very limited and the angle was tough… Ball didn’t set up for a better shot…

    We’re pressing the ball a bit better and we were keeping it in there half until a Ramsey heavy touch.

    Back with us in the 42nd min…but all the way back to Cech…

  34. 17highburyterrace says:

    Better work there from Rambo and Ozil… Nacho’s cross was cleared by Stekelenburg. Other end, Long 1v1 with Cech loops his shot well over…

  35. Ab says:

    free kick just before half time…

  36. 17highburyterrace says:

    The first half is winding down and So’ton seem deserving of their lead. Ref finally makes a call but only after Wanyama had blocked off Ozil as he danced around him…

  37. 17highburyterrace says:

    HT… We will need to improve a lot to get something here…

  38. Ab says:

    What do we think? What are the options here for the second half? More of the same and we will lose. Limited options on the bench, so likely to be something more tactical in our current set up?

  39. 17highburyterrace says:

    AB, I don’t see a lot off the bench as a solution… We need to get on top and quickly here…

    2nd half on…

  40. 17highburyterrace says:

    No changes at half-time…

    Cech has to come a long way to put a ball into touch…

  41. proudgooner says:


  42. 17highburyterrace says:

    So’ton get a decent surge into our box through Mane…the cross bounces across goal until Cech chases it down.

    48th: Ramsey ball towards Ozil intercepted…

  43. proudgooner says:

    I was at the city game and it was the best match I have been too.
    We played great and the place was rocking
    We must win this or at least take a point
    I would think about bringing on Iwobi or OX for Campbell and Gabbi for the BFG

  44. 17highburyterrace says:

    Campbell loses it into touch. We’re just not keeping it well. Kos gives up a FK as Mane is moving well with it…looked like a yellow but not given.

  45. Ab says:

    Jeez. Nearly 2 down. Cech ok??

  46. 17highburyterrace says:

    Van Dijk puts it in our net. Flagged offside… Cech down after taking Van Dijk’s shoulder to his back…

    Still down but Ospina sitting rather than warming up…

  47. proudgooner says:

    AB & 17

  48. 17highburyterrace says:

    Cech now up and punts it long and now Giroud takes a hard forearm to the head. He’s up too…

    Ref is letting things get a little wild…

  49. Ab says:

    Hi there PG. This is a tough old game – who is going to pick the team up today? Time for Rambo to show his real leadership qualities I think.

  50. Ab says:

    Our forwards seem to be largely out of it.

  51. 17highburyterrace says:

    Hey PG…

    Long ball finds Long and we have plenty of trouble getting it clear. Ends with a Ward-Prowse dive trying to win a pen in the corner of our box…

  52. 17highburyterrace says:

    2-nil Shane Long. Carved open on the break. He tripped Kos after laying it off to Mane in order to be wide open for the return pass.

    Big trouble here.

  53. Ab says:

    Prof could they are calling here on the radio to enable the second goal. Either way I fear too late for us. Frustrating, but not surprising. A jolt that we clearly needed. Come on boys, get a point still.

  54. Ab says:

    prof foul that was

  55. 17highburyterrace says:

    Better play in their half but still no final telling ball… Theo and Giroud almost work a 1-2 but Van Dijk clears it…

  56. 17highburyterrace says:

    Arsenal playing better but we just can connect down in their area.

    Ramsey shot from distance deflected to keeper…

    Saints still working the ball well in our end… Cech ends up with it…

  57. 17highburyterrace says:

    63rd minute: Campbell fouls Bertrand after Giroud tries to flick on to him…

    Ox getting ready to come on for Campbell…

  58. Ab says:

    Do you see any sign of hope/promise here HT? The audio offers nothing really. Can I see the Ox turning it around – not really.

  59. 17highburyterrace says:

    65th: Better with a lot of possession down their right side. No box penetration and we give it away… Ball into touch with an injured So’ton player down. Romeu will replace Clasie…

  60. 17highburyterrace says:

    Sorry AB, We really haven’t threatened at all and look put off by the pitch and the lack of help from the ref. I think we’ll have to get the points back in the home matches…

    Corner given to So’ton on another ball over the top to Long…

  61. 17highburyterrace says:

    3-nil… Jose Fonte heads it home….

  62. 17highburyterrace says:

    I think it was a wrong call for the corner but Fonte was the only one moving at the corner and the delivery was fantastic from Bertrand…

  63. Ab says:

    Dear oh dear> I do get frustrated by these games. We just don’t seem to learn. Soft losses after big wins are a feature of our team – if we can’t win it, at least play with some discipline and get a point. But this is simply poor I fear. What a shame

  64. Ab says:

    bloody hell, sounds like if there’s going to be another goal its going to be at our end.

  65. 17highburyterrace says:

    I dunno AB… The group is so short due to injury, IMO it’s been amazing to take full points until now.

    The lack of a referee presence tonight was maybe a step too far… Shane Long might have gotten a 2nd yellow for his trip on Kos rather than their 2nd goal…

    Wow. Cech forced into a diving save.

  66. 17highburyterrace says:

    There we get a call… Nacho pulled back on the left.

    Alex Iwobi set to come on for Theo.

    FK cleared…

  67. 17highburyterrace says:

    Kos very far foward gives it away and So’ton break. Comes to nothing…

    Iwobi on…

    We need to get out of here, lick our wounds and be ready for Monday evening.

    Wow… Ozil almosts gets one in on a cross from Iwobi (I think)… No luck however on the final touch and it spins away…

  68. 17highburyterrace says:

    Ugh, still 10 mins to go…

    Mane off, Juanmi on…

  69. 17highburyterrace says:

    Ox crosses one but easily cleared…

    So’ton break (again) but Cech clears…

    We’ll need to regroup, somehow… Bournemouth played Crystal Palace to a nil-nil earlier today.

    Giroud can’t get any power on a header…

  70. 17highburyterrace says:

    This is painful and we still have 4 mins plus injury time…

    Seems to me that we went to the well one too many times and found it dry, dry, dry…

    Iwobi weaves and dribbles and crosses to a defender….

  71. 17highburyterrace says:

    4th goal only saved by the post…Long went past the BFG who looked a bit, er, slow, on the turn…

  72. Ab says:

    and that really caps it! we have been muppets

  73. 17highburyterrace says:

    A little playing time for Iwobi, Ox and Chambers is maybe a positive. Ozil and Giroud playing the full match, however, doesn’t…

    Long gets #4….

  74. Ab says:

    what a waste of goal difference – that could come back an d cost us at the end of the season

  75. 17highburyterrace says:

    So’ton are rampant and we are thoroughly beaten… Tadic turns and turns but can only boot it over…

    Final whistle, thankfully…

  76. Ab says:

    Dear lord that was an ordeal. Not sure what to say right now, other than we all have days like that – just thankfully not very often

  77. 17highburyterrace says:

    We have to look at this as “only 3 points” even if that won’t appease anybody for the moment.

    We had no resilience to adversity tonight and were very poor in our basic play. Somehow we’ve gotta rebound in these home matches…

  78. Ab says:

    That’s the consolation in here for me HT. We know we are better than that and that we can rebound well – we will be seriously up for it on 28th. But what a waste of points and GD tonight all the same. How long will it be before we learn the lesson and take such games professionally?

  79. Ab says:

    I’m not worried about Leicester or our position in this regard. But the gap between us and City and `Manure – and even the spuds for god’s sake, that really matters. We could have made a real gap between us and the pack tonight. But we blew it sadly. The press comments from here won’t amount to much, but the response on Monday should be compelling – if this team is serious about trying to compete for the title.

  80. Ab says:

    Where are TA’s 8 positives coming tonight I wonder? No injuries might be 1….

  81. 17highburyterrace says:

    I need to get outside and away from this mess… Yeah, TA will have to dig deep tonight… 😀 😦

    We need something fresh in the team and the lack thereof really showed tonight. Where it comes from, I have no idea… Hopefully AW does…

    Thanks for the company, however…

  82. Ab says:

    Cheers HT. And thanks for the live blog – it must take quite an effort when you’re all wrapped up in the game. Its much appreciated!

    I should know, but thought I’d ask, what’s the deal with you and skiing – is that what you do work wise, or is it just a passion for you and something folk do where you live? Just curious as an amateur skier myself

  83. FMJ14 says:

    I only got to see the second half but it seemed like we were not turned on as much as Southampton from the off. I saw how that will to win grew stronger than ours as the game went on. The strength of Southampton typified by Wanyama is something we still lack. Those two qualities weighed hugely against us. The boys had to push through a very tough to break down side, increasingly confident they could keep us quiet with Ozil closely watched.

    On top of this they scored first meaning they can counter attack against a back line that collectively knows it has to compensate for BFGs absolutely ridiculous lack of pace. All of them most notably Koscielny looked more nervous than they should do, because of BFG.

    Add to this the crowd and the officials as the 12 and 13th man and we get hammered.

    Somehow at Arsenal we have this in the collective psyche that we know there is a performance like this lurkng around the corner. Obviously it is easier said than done but we need to prepare against it for when that day comes again.. Ironing out obvious weaknesses such as the lack of physicality in central midfield and pace at centre half would help, but we should also be prepared to wake up and be ready to sit deeper from the off and counter attack in games like this even at nil nil. Over confidence that we will win this game again played its part.

  84. njk84sg says:

    Bad game, and we are facing Bournemouth in less than 48 hours.

    Bournemouth is a team equally capable of doing damage to us, and we must score first.


  85. TotalArsenal says:

    Great in game comments and reflections.

    New Post 🙂

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