Southampton-Arsenal, FA Cup 4th Round: How Badly Do We Want This?

Arsenal, still alive with chances to win in three competitions, face red-hot Southampton in the 4th round of the FA Cup at St. Mary’s park.  The Saints, having just booked a trip to Wembley by winning both legs of a League Cup semifinal over Liverpool, may be less rested, but should still provide formidable competition for the Gunners.

Although Arsenal are undefeated in six matches in all competitions they have been getting off to slow starts.  Of the 14 goals scored in those matches only 2 have come in the first half.  Southampton promise to be just as tough to break down; Liverpool seemed to run out of ideas on Wednesday at Anfield despite the Saints being without the center back pairing of Virgil Van Dijk (injured) and Jose Fonte (transferred to West Ham).  Instead, Maya Yoshida and Jack Stephens played just ahead of Fraser Forster, a goalkeeper who has been notoriously stingy when playing against the Gunners.  Oriol Romeu and Steven Davis were also key in controlling Liverpool’s attack from their deep midfield positions.  Dusan Tadic had a big first half chance and Nathan Redmond looked the best attacker on the night even if it was the veteran Republic of Ireland forward Shane Long who scored the lone goal late on to seal a place in the final.

Manager Claude Puel may, of course, choose to rotate his squad a bit given the short turnaround from Wednesday’s match.  So too might Arsene Wenger who will have to watch this one from the stands as he begins a four match touchline ban due to his foul language and physical contact with the 4th official in the crazy final moments of our 2-1 win last Sunday vs Burnley.

Three weeks ago, in our 3rd round cup match at Preston North End, Wenger chose to give full rests to stalwarts Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil and Laurent Koscielny.  Will he choose to rest these guys again, keeping an eye on the next league match vs Watford on Tuesday night and the big showdown with league leaders Chelsea next Saturday?  Frankly, I’m not sure he can afford to play without them, but my hunch is he might try and get away with doing just that.  If he does hold them back, however, it could provide opportunities for the likes of Lucas Perez, Alex Oxlaide-Chamberlain and Danny Welbeck.  Theo Walcott is also back from injury and available for selection.

Changes might also come at the back.  Hector Bellerin is fit again and Per Mertesacker and Kieran Gibbs are both back in training.  David Ospina will surely reprise his cup-keeper role.

The only area where Arsenal are really short is in midfield.  With Granit Xhaka suspended for four matches due to his red card vs Burnly, Santi Cazorla out injured and Mohamed Elneny’s Egyptian team through to the knock out stages of the African Cup of Nations, the rear of our midfield will almost certainly be manned by Francis Coquelin and Aaron Ramsey.  Wenger mentioned that Jeff Reine-Adelaide, Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Alex Iwobi could also play there if necessary.  In his pre-match press conference Wenger suggested that one or two younger players might feature but that, overall, it would be a first team squad.  Wenger must be remembering that a much changed team in the quarter final round of the EPL Cup was thoroughly outplayed by Southampton and defeated 2-nil on our home pitch.

With all that to consider, I must say that I don’t feel at all confident in putting out a perspective line-up, but here goes.  (And, on top of that, the football formation graphic doesn’t seem to be working for me today:)

Ospina

Bellerin–Gabriel–Mustafi–Monreal

Coquelin–Ramsey

Oxlaide-Chamberlain–Iwobi–Welbeck

Lucas

Substitutes: Martinez, Holding, Gibbs, Maitland-Niles, Reine-Adelaide, Walcott, Giroud

Playing a team such as the one above and giving full rests to the likes of Alexis, Ozil and Koscielny is one thing at Preston North End but another at a club like Southampton.  If he does go for such a line-up it might suggest that Wenger wants to prioritize the league and wouldn’t mind being done with the FA Cup. To my mind, losing this one would set a bad precedent ahead of very important league matches and the two legs of our Champions League round of 16 battle with Bayern Munich.  Arsenal have been teetering as it is, relying on last gasp heroics seemingly in match after match after match.  What we need is a convincing performance, ideally with some first half goals, and a win.  Losing, or even playing to a draw, which would set up a mid-week replay on 7 or 8 February, would only add to our burdens and undermine what seems like an already very fragile confidence.

Who would you like to see play and who do you think Wenger will choose?

Personally, I’d much prefer to see a stronger line-up with many of the regulars we use in league play. Yes, we have ostensibly more important matches on the near horizon, but I think Wenger should respect the cup and play his strongest team.  It also might help the manager and his assistants in getting used to the touchline ban if we go with the tighter squad. Rotation and getting a bigger group ready for first team action is necessary, but nothing can replace the confidence of a good performance and result.

Go on then…

by 17highburyterrace

 

 

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89 Responses to Southampton-Arsenal, FA Cup 4th Round: How Badly Do We Want This?

  1. Bob Fisher says:

    Well written 17ht

    It is indeed a very tough one to call and I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see a somewhat similar field take the field. Fitness permitting I would expect Kos and Gibbs to start ahead of Gabriel and Montreal.. that said I believe that that team would lose. Players like the Ox need quality players around him to make him perform. At the moment he doesn’t seem to me to have the self confidence needed. iWobi great prospect that he is, will often fade out of a game for periods.

    Southampton have been one of our bogey sides over recent years and I suspect they may be well charged up for this on the back of their last great result.

    Oziil. needs match time, Alexis will go crazy if he is left out and Giroude will point out his recent scoring record. iMHO he will start with all three
    Ospina

    Bellerin
    Kosovo
    Mustafi
    Gibbs

    Le Coq
    Rambo

    Iwobi
    Alexis

    Giroud.

  2. Pony Eye says:

    HT, marvelous preview. It has all the cogent details which frankly makes trying to second guess Wenger an impossible act. I can bet he (Wenger) has revised his line up over a dozen times already and still revisiting it. Only time for submission would save him from the torture.

    I would take a simple route, of course not with my throttle pressed down. Cech, Koscienly, Monreal and Sanchez are our only players who’ve done more than 1800 minutes in the epl. Less Cech, they were also much involved in the CL games. They have to be rested by at least not being starters. Beyond them, our strongest XI has to be chosen.

    My guess:

    ————–Ospina————–
    Bel——Gab—-Musti——Gibbs
    ———–Coq—–Rambo——–
    Theo———-Ozil———–Iwobi
    —————Giroud—————

    Bench: Martinez, Holding, Nacho, Niles, Ox, Perez, Welbz.

    7 in common with HT’s for the starting eleven. I wonder if there’s any two line ups that would tally.

  3. Gerry says:

    Well done HT, I think you have captured AW’s dilemma in a nutshell.

    I agree with you that I would like to see a stronger line up, but not surprised if he goes along with the line up you propose. I also think a fast start will help settle things. Not necessarily blistering all out attack, just that quick passing that we had a while back.

    However, as I have said before, despite the Saints looking very strong recently, I think they will be vulnerable this weekend. Psychologically and physically. So regards resting players, I think it will be less than you have in that line up, despite your very good record of being, if not perfect, very close to it. 😀
    So I think he will play Alexis, and at CF (nominally). Without their regular CB’s, he might even stick with Giroud? It really depends on how his plans for the Chelsea game are stacking up, and using the Watford game to make changes? That would be a mistake imo, but I don’t pick the team.
    If he goes with Alexis, the left side will be key. In attack it will have to be someone he can interact with, and in defence, drop back so Alexis does not have to. Welbeck seems the logical choice?
    Iwobi, Ox or Theo on the right might depend on how sharp the latter is.
    If he plays Alexis, he plays Ozil. Which means Iwobi on the bench? He may save the daring thought of pairing him in midfield for another time?
    Back 5 as you have it, unless Gabby drops out in favour of Kos?

    My thoughts. Busy with racing for the next two days, so you can talk amongst yourselves
    Cheers,
    Gerry

  4. TotalArsenal says:

    Cheers SeventeenHo, a well written preview as always. But no, that will not be the line up. We may see a start for Maitland or Adelaide with mayby Iwobi or Ramsey rested, but other than that it will be our usual stars. It’s on TV and its Arsene’s cup, so we will be going for this. I think Retsub has it about right (including Ozil).

  5. Ogban says:

    We need to field our strongest team. The FA Cup is our most realistic chance of silverware tbh

  6. Pony Eye says:

    It’s all down to balancing so many factors. 3 games in 8 days is one of them. Southampton has 7 players out injured including their 2 CDers. They’ve played 2 games more than us this month, one of them only 3 days ago. Choosing this game to rest 1 or 2 key players seems to me a well calculated gamble. There are moments to gamble for higher stakes. If it fails take it on the chin.

  7. Waldo says:

    Hoping Arsenal play a full strength team versus the Saints and use the Watford match on 1 Feb to rotate the squad before the Chelsea clash on 4 Feb. That being the case I’d like to see a line up of
    GK: Cech
    RB: Debuchy
    CB: Mustafi
    CB: Koscielny
    LB: Monreal
    CDM: Coquelin
    CDM: Ramsey
    RW: Perez
    CAM: Ozil
    LW: Walcott
    CF: Sanchez

    Hoping to see Arsenal sit deep and play on the counter to take advantage of the speed and movement of Perez, Sanchez and Walcott and the visionary passing of Ozil. Defensively Ramsey in particular will need to show positional discipline in this one.

  8. allezkev says:

    Strongest team available for me, get the job done, move on…

    Klopp has made 9 changes from the team that lost to Southampton, Liverpool are currently losing 0-1 at Anfield to Wolverhampton Wanderers…

  9. allezkev says:

    Liverpool 0-2 Wolverhampton Wanderers

  10. 17highburyterrace says:

    Liverpool have pulled one back but it’s very late…

  11. 17highburyterrace says:

    Well, that was fairly entertaining…’Pool, playing at Anfield again,go out of two cups in 4 days and leave themselves with nothing but the league. Next up (on my telly at least) are Chavs hosting Brentwood. They probably won’t mind a 2nd competition and trying to play for the domestic double. What will Arsenal do?… Cheers for the few but fine comments on the post…

    Reading around the broader Goonersphere there seems to be quite a lot of sentiment echoing my own–that we should play a very strong team, but that Wenger might opt not to. The more pessimistic types don’t feel we have much of a chance in the league nor CL so this is our best hope for silverware. The wide-eyed optimists among us think we can play a strong but maybe subtly changed team tonight, then again on Tuesday while keeping our winning run alive and that that should help us approaching the big one at Stamford Bridge. In other words, winning begets more winning and that we’ve got enough depth in the squad to compete on multiple fronts as the season moves along. Looking ahead to the Chavs match real optimists might even believe that we have a slight advantage as Chelsea (maybe) are less prepared for 3 matches in a week given their complete lack of European football this season…

    In the end it’s up to Wenger and I’m sure, PE, that he’s got a plan in mind based on the fixture schedule and what he’s seen in training. I hope he goes for it today–with a line-up akin to what Bob Fisher (retsub) suggests–but clearly I’ve also got some doubts… Reserving the likes of Ozil and Alexis (and maybe Kos and Bells) on the bench could maybe be seen as trying to have a bit of cake while eating it too…

    One thing I failed to mention is that we’ll have a two week break in late February due to the rescheduling of our league match with So’ton due to their appearance in League Cup final. It means that there will be some extra fixture congestion on the other side of the break but maybe that could be some extra incentive for us to get used to some stretches (like the current one…) where our best players have to play every few days. There are probably good statistics out there about resting vs not resting and whether or not “fresh” teams have an big advantage (or not). Like Gerry suggests, we should be hopeful today that So’ton are a bit jaded from their midweek efforts giving us a bit of an edge. It seemed that way for ‘Pool in the early match…

    Who knows? And does any of it really matter? Winning, with or without going deeper into the squad, is probably all that really matters. Arsenal–and AW in particular–are probably beyond any silver linings that punters might suggest come from going out of these domestic cups… As such, let’s do it, I say…

    Thanks again…

  12. Goonereris says:

    It’s going to be a changed side that will not be short of experienced players, and one that will seek to have stability in defence and midfield. The changes will be mainly upfront. Kos and Monreal should be rested for Gabriel and Gibbs, while Bellerin should play as he does need a game.

    As to the rescheduling of our postponed game with Southampton, there is a window of opportunity to bring it back to be played before the league cup final since we have that two weeks break. It will affect the saints more but the games must go on, right. Hope the FA will see things my way.

  13. 17highburyterrace says:

    Willian scores from a FK to give Chavs an early lead… Not bad for a guy who can’t get into the first 11 for the league matches…

    Hey ‘eris… I don’t think I’ve ever seen the make-up matches played before the final… That doesn’t mean it’s not possible… My memory also isn’t what it used to be… 😀

    Pedro makes it 2-nil… Not much of a match here, I fear…

  14. allezkev says:

    Spurs 0-2 Wycombe Wanderers

  15. Goonereris says:

    I think Chelsea have been having a lot easy. Even the FA cup draw has given them a side against which they can afford to rest key players and be fresh for the next PL fixture vs Liverpool.

    Wonder what’s happening with the spuds at White Hart lane. But, hope they give us reason to laugh in the end. Always helps 😉

  16. 17highburyterrace says:

    Cheers for the link, A-Kev… And the Spurs score… 😀

  17. retsub1 says:

    wow just seen the team, which proves i haven’t a clue and 17HT is not Wenger in disguise.

    Doesn’t look like a winning team to me, but hell what do I know

  18. Goonereris says:

    Team list is out. The midfield is a surprise, with Ox, Maitland-Niles and Jeff. No attempt to suggest we wish to win the midfield battle. Well, let’s see what Southampton put out.

  19. retsub1 says:

    Ospina, Bellerin, Mustaphi, Holding, Gibb, the Ox, Maitland Niles, the Jeff, Lucas . Wellbeck, walcott.

    in fairness the Saints look a little thin as well

  20. 17highburyterrace says:

    Teams are in:

    Southampton starting XI: Lewis, Martina, Gardos, Stephens, McQueen, Reed, Clasie, Hojbjerg, Sims, Isgrove, Long. Substitutes: Taylor, Yoshida, Bertrand, Davis, Romeu, Redmond, Tadic

    Arsenal starting XI: Ospina; Bellerin, Mustafi, Holding, Gibbs; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Maitland-Niles; Walcott, Reine-Adelaide, Lucas; Welbeck. Substitutes: Martinez, Jenkinson, Mertesacker, Gabriel, Monreal, Iwobi, Sanchez

    I got 6 out of nine but it’s an even weaker team than I thought it might be… No Kos nor Ozil nor Giroud at all and Alexis only on the bench. The So’ton team, however, has a lot of names I don’t know…

    Perhaps neither manager really wants to win this one… 😦

  21. 17highburyterrace says:

    Chelsea now ahead 4-nil but Wycombe are back on top 3-2 at Spurs who had leveled it earlier…

  22. 17highburyterrace says:

    Spurs look to have leveled but will need another to avoid a replay…

  23. TotalArsenal says:

    Wow, did not see that coming at all…. Our midfield will suffer against bullies Hojberg and Clasie, assuming it is Ox and Niles in the DM pivot… On the other hand, Lucas, Walcott and Wellbeck up-front is a nice breath of fresh air………. COYGs 🙂

  24. 17highburyterrace says:

    Bonus coverage! Spurs pushing hard to avoid the replay and Janssen is denied by a fine save…

    And they do it with the final kick…On (what might be) an own goal…. Geezus…

  25. Goonereris says:

    Spurs win 4-3. That was some come back there.

  26. TotalArsenal says:

    conceding three against a League Two teams is the really remarkable stat today

  27. Goonereris says:

    17, Ox can do a job there, if he remains disciplined. At least, he has been used there before, in the past so, I imagine it is the opposition that should be surprised. I just feel Jeff is a bit too light weight for such opposition. Classie and Hojberg are regulars and can be dominant in the middle, if they get the freedom.

  28. allezkev says:

    Not sure about that midfield…

    Who is the defensive-midfielder?

    That’s a big big call by Wenger…

    Brave or foolish, we’ll see in a couple of hours.

    I can’t say that I’m too confident, let’s hope that Wenger is proved correct.
    Big responsibility on the shoulders of Bould…

    Shame about Wycombe, thought they deserved a replay 17tino…

  29. 17highburyterrace says:

    Spurs depth at the back doesn’t seem very good… I doubt they’ll go far with the Spurdays games (Europa League)… The win, however, may help bring in some added confidence for some of the attacking subs, esp, Son who snuck in a couple of goals…

    Hopefully our match does likewise for us…

  30. TotalArsenal says:

    It looks like we are not going to try and defend at all, just attack, attack, attack!!!! And why not?

  31. TotalArsenal says:

    Nice to see BFG on the bench!!!!

  32. 17highburyterrace says:

    So, a high scoring match? Who is our #10 today? The Jeff? The Ox?… Will the forwards need to do it on their own?…

    With Wenger up in the stands and not much in the way of DM experience it’s probably a big day for Mustafi and his five languages… He will also need to marshal that old and not very fair-minded guy, Shane Long… Note, I didn’t call him a cheater or a diver, just, er, crafty…

  33. 17highburyterrace says:

    Lots of pre-match on my US feed about the Alexis-Ozil contract situation… Arsene-L might bend but they will not break (give in to wage demands), blah, blah, blah…

  34. allezkev says:

    I guess that our def/mid is Maitland-Niles?

  35. 17highburyterrace says:

    With us playing such a weak team (no Ramsey nor Coq in the squad as well…) I’m gonna need another coffee… Hope and caffeine, yeah, that’s the ticket… 😀

  36. allezkev says:

    On the positive side, it’s great to see an attack of Perez, Welbeck and Walcott…

    Also Mustafi is our lucky charm, whilst Holding is too quality…

    Lots of pace from our full-backs…

  37. allezkev says:

    Coffee!!!

    Get on the Jack Daniels… 😉

  38. TotalArsenal says:

    The attack is great, Kev, but to beat the Saints you have to win the midfleld battle… But WTFDIK 🙂

  39. TotalArsenal says:

    Enjoy the game ffgs

  40. Goonereris says:

    Gibbs is captain. Expect some early jitters as the team tries to re-adjust to the 10 changes and come-backing players settling in.

    We should win it in the end, depending on how much we want it.

  41. 17highburyterrace says:

    This is what you get when you google “espresso porn”…

  42. 17highburyterrace says:

    We have kickoff!…

    We’ve certainly got a lot of pace out there and we look to be trying to press the ball with a bit of aggression. When the Jeff turns sideways he almost disappears…Not quite old enough to keep any muscle on his bones…

    Good chance there for him but he needed a touch to control with the ball just behind him…

  43. 17highburyterrace says:

    Good chance there with the Jeff putting Lucas in on the wing…Couldn’t decide between a shot and a cross…

    This could be a VERY open game…with a lot of players getting tired as it moves on. Getting the first goal seems important…

    More good work from the Jeff but Ox mishits the longish shot…

  44. 17highburyterrace says:

    Welbeck!!!! Beautiful through-ball from Lucas and DW chips the keeper…Inch perfect off the underside of the bar…

  45. 17highburyterrace says:

    With the first goal in, we look fairly dominant… Ox is playing deep alongside Maitland-Niles who has hit some good balls forward including the one Lucas pushed on to DW for the goal…

    Thank you very much, may I have another…as they say…

  46. allezkev says:

    Listening to the radio, BBC5L, seems that Maitland-Niles is spraying it about.
    Very encouraging….

    Oh Danny boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling… 😁

  47. 17highburyterrace says:

    And there it is–Welbeck again!!!

    Big ball over the top from the Ox… It looked like DW maybe scuffed both his touches but it all worked out as the ball dribbled past the keeper and over the line…

    2-nil… and our 10 changes look better than So’ton’s….

  48. 17highburyterrace says:

    Ospina goes walkabout but his blushes are spared….

    “But come ye back when summer’s in the meadow.
    Or when the valley’s hushed and white with snow.
    I’ll be here in sunshine or in shadow
    Oh Danny Boy, oh Danny Boy, I love you so.”

    Ospina does better there on a well placed shot by Long…

  49. 17highburyterrace says:

    Wow…great FK from the Ox, but Mustafi is a split second late with the point-blank header…

  50. allezkev says:

    You’ll be on the Guinness next 17tino 🙂

    Ha, give Theo a Guinness

  51. 17highburyterrace says:

    Theo!!! 3-nil…

    More lovely work from Lucas and DW… The final pass looked a bit short but Theo nipped in to poke it home…

    This seems a nice pay-back for the EPL cup match at our place…

  52. 17highburyterrace says:

    You get slightly, er, different images when you google “Guinness porn” but here’s one of them that isn’t too different from the espresso stuff…

  53. 17highburyterrace says:

    Ospina takes a shoulder to the head with injury-drama to follow… Should extend the half by a couple of minutes…

    So’ton defenders trying to play it out of the back are having real trouble with our pacy attackers all committed to defending (when need be).. Unfortunately (for them) their teenage keeper isn’t much of a kicker either…

  54. 17highburyterrace says:

    Oooh, a decent chance for So’ton at the end with Martina getting the better of Gibbs…

    Nonetheless, at halftime here the So’ton kids (plus divey Long) look well beaten…AW’s faith in the depth of his squad seems a gamble that will pay off…

    🙂

  55. TotalArsenal says:

    Well played the boys in first half. Good movement and passing and too much class up front. The expected battle in midfield is a non item. We rule everywhere. Easy. Well done Arsene for picking such a hungry team.

  56. TotalArsenal says:

    Saints, it’s fair to say, are very poor. Let’s see what they do in second half in front of their own crowd..

  57. Goonereris says:

    Must say I am pleasantly surprised we have not had too much trouble in midfield, as feared. Mainland-Niles is doing so well you are tempted to demand he gets more game time. Well played, young man but still a whole 2nd half to go. Ox has acquitted himself well too. Happy for Welbeck; I have said it that with players like him fit, we stand a chance to give Chelsea a good run for the league title. More of the same, lads.

  58. retsub1 says:

    Hmm. Told you this was a winning team (not). Well played lads, good to see the Ox spraying it around. Hope Perez can get in the goal scoring action. He hasn’t done much wrong since he arrived, but with Wellbeck back he has probably slipped further down the pecking order. Great assist though.

    Great performance, but not the strongest competition.

  59. TotalArsenal says:

    Walcott has the goal but Perez has been way better all round

  60. allezkev says:

    I hope we don’t ease up and try to stroll through the 2nd half…

  61. 17highburyterrace says:

    Indeed, Ox, AMN and JRA, given time on the ball all look very comfortable…Moreover, with the forwards all committed to helping out with the defending we continue to appear dominant…

    More goals might come if our right-side regulars–Theo and Bells–can shake off a bit of the rust…

  62. 17highburyterrace says:

    The Jeff is down hurt… but finally gets up and soldiers on… AW looks to be at least as good with the headset as he is with the zipper…

  63. Goonereris says:

    Agree there, 17.

    Also think it is time to take off Welbeck before he suffers some setback. It will be nice to get the clean sheet and see a cameo by Per Metersacker.

  64. allezkev says:

    I bet that Arsene is a dangerous man if let loose in the kitchen…

    Here comes Alexis 😊

  65. Goonereris says:

    Hehehe! Agree with your penultimate post, 17, re “more goals might come…”

  66. 17highburyterrace says:

    Did we get another? (I had to take a call…)

    Theo, eh… And Alexis gets to join in (for DW)…Iwobi on for JRA?…

    Bit of a one-sided affair today though the So’ton kids still look to be trying…

  67. Goonereris says:

    I don’t buy this “young Southampton side” talk (said with a smirk on my face). You can only beat what is in front of you anyway; plus we did have youngsters of our own on. It is simply a case of better squad depth and quality today.

    I’ll take that all day long. Expect a right battle in the rescheduled league game then.

  68. 17highburyterrace says:

    Wow… Theo gets the hattrick but whattaball from Lucas up to Alexis who then holds it up sooo coolly until Theo arrives to slot it home…

    5-nil

  69. 17highburyterrace says:

    Lucas fails on the 1 v 1 with the keeper. Great ball over the top from the Ox with the outside of his right boot… Should’ve been six…

  70. 17highburyterrace says:

    Job done…Perhaps AW and Puel had an accord entre hommes or however you would say gentleman’s agreement in French… Our changed squad certainly seemed the better of the two…

    On to Watford on Tuesday night…

  71. retsub1 says:

    Well that was enjoyable and no dramas, sending offs etc. Can’t expect that sort of opposition every week. Must be like Celtic have it in Scotland.

    A lot of great displays, but I thought the Ox was terrific

  72. njk84sg says:

    6 out of 11 correct for the post 17ht, you can do better than that, but it is quite shocking to see Wenger deploy a untested DM pairing which will cost us some damage if it didn’t work out.

    Our goals came from long balls and counters, which wasn’t what I expected, but Welbeck was the person that broke their defense and a keeper that could do better.

    Theo is the right person at the right position, helping out with defense but really didn’t see much of the ball. He still needs work with Bells, as nothing much came from that side.

    The left winger, sometimes Welbeck, sometimes Ox, sometimes Lucas, and Gibbs had a so-so game, and most of So’ton attacks were from that position.

    We also lost possession quite a bit, more than the other games, but their finishing was terrible and we are fantastic in countering and scoring.

    On to the next game,
    JK

  73. 17highburyterrace says:

    Geez, JK… Sorry I let you down… I promise I’ll do better for Tuesday’s match…

    Sounds like the team did as well… Next time 15-nil…

  74. allezkev says:

    17tino, how did Holding play, no real mentions of him on the radio or anywhere else for that matter…

  75. Pony Eye says:

    The high point of the evening for me was the Ox. Central midfield is his home. He was fabulous. For the first time you could see him enjoying himself. Everybody got him wrong because of his pace putting him in the wide areas. I hope Wenger saw what I saw. But for the goals he wa my MOTM.

    Welbz was super. Meet Perez when the field is stretched and the movements are quick. We need to tap into our quality depth more. It’s an area where we are at an advantage over most of our rivals. Today we played for 90 minutes. COYG!

  76. TotalArsenal says:

    Well done the boys for playing at a high tempo and taking the game seriously. The opposition were woeful for ninety minutes, and maybe understandably so. It is hard to pull any conclusions from this match given the weakness of the Saints but I thought they all worked hard individually and as a team and we were very sharp upfront. The Ox had a good game, which, perhaps controversially, is why he should go out on loan. Against weak teams he tends to shine but against normal PL opposition he does not. So if he were to play within a lower PL team he could get more game time and play more central, which suited him well tonight. At Arsenal he will not get this chance anytime soon. Really good for Wellbeck to score the two important first goals and well done Theo for the hattrick. Perez was once again Ljunbergesque – love him. Back five were good with a few iffy moments by Ospina. Mustafi was fab. Holding was good, Gibbs and Bellerin were allright. M-N and Jeff were very impressive and together my MOTM. Two for the future. Bring on the Hornets. Have a good weekend BKers. 🙂

  77. 17highburyterrace says:

    Back from a sunny ski outing…

    I see what you’re saying about the Ox, TA, but with Wilshere gone already (plus Santi out long term, Elneny and Xhaka for a bit…) your dream will not happen in this window… a benign draw for the next round and he can do it all again…Today he was good with the FKs and corners and really only had that indecisive/switched off look on a couple of occasions…

    When they play their best 11 So’ton are a very good team. Their academy is good too, just with guys who are too young to play at this level. If this game was a dozen years ago, Theo would’ve played for them, 6 years ago, the Ox… In truth, it’s amazing how well they do when year upon year they lose their best players.

    Kev, I didn’t notice Holding much, maybe because Long was very isolated up front and Mustafi (and Ospina) seemed to be on hand on the rare occasions when balls were played up to him. Long seemed to come mostly from our right side, too. They had a bit of joy on the left through Martina and Hojbjerg (Gibbs lost a couple of battles…) but we seemed to defend well in numbers and play the ball very calmly out of the back. Maitland-Niles, the Ox and Welbeck always there and ready to help out… To me, Holding seems a real prospect but Mustafi is the bigger presence…though he probably should have scored on that one FK from the Ox…

    That would be nit-picking, however. My takeaway is that it’s just very nice to have a match that was such a stroll… It feels like it’s been awhile…

  78. henrychan says:

    Hi all.. Nice post and comment..
    Another happy weekend.. Hehehe..
    And JK.. Happy Chinese New Year 2017..

    As I said before.. This will be our game.. Because Soton will ‘let it go’ this Cup.. For the will completly focus on EPL and PL..
    But still the team were out of the box.. Hehehe..
    And TA.. I think this one is 4-1-2-3 team..
    MN as our DM and Ox-JRA as our AM..

    I wish Spurs Draw.. To keep them more busy work ahead.. Hehehe..
    Liverpool were very focus on Chelsea game.. And forget to not underestimated FA Cup.. A full of surprising competition.. Hahaha..
    But it is good.. It is mean we can rely on them to cut Chelsea’s points before against us.. And I think they will..

    With MN and JRA keep improving.. I dont think Wenger will buy some new players soon..

  79. njk84sg says:

    Guys, it felt like there was no one person that really stood out like Alexis when he starts other games.

    AMN is worth watching, as well as the Jeff. Most of the plays come from AMN in the central area, and Gibbo didn’t feature much in attack as he got attacked instead.

    The only person closest to standing out and make the team move is Welbeck. Though he was tired understandably at the end, his movements with Lucas made me feel that if Lucas is on the wings it will be better.

    We should have kept the ball better, and we should have been seeing a 10-0 game rather than 5-0. Maybe I was asking for a lot as they didn’t seem to gell, but you never know the type of damage we could have done to the opposition if we were sharper.

    JK

  80. njk84sg says:

    Happy Chinese New Year to you Ko Henry.
    How is the celebration in Indonesia?

  81. njk84sg says:

    Ox is promising but he needs to shake away the fear of tougher teams that tackles and gives you less space.. he is not comfortable with tight spaces and angles, as is with Theo.

  82. henrychan says:

    Hi JK.. Sin Nien Guai Le.. Wan Se Ru Yi..
    This year is a little quiet here in Jakarta.. Maybe because of the election of the Governor’s soon.. So Chinese etnical ceremony is cooling down also.. hehehe.. I bet you know about The Ahok Fenomena..
    I don’t know in other palace like Medan, Bangka, Singkawang and others..

    JK.. Ox can play as DM.. last season Wenger put him there several times.. and lastnight seem a great game for him.. I loved the way Welbeck and Walcott scores.. pity on Perez.. he should score at least one.. hehehe..

    I think this season our bench are much stronger than before.. We won’t see Wenger playing such team in FA Cup before.. So we will see so much fun ahead.. hehehehe

  83. njk84sg says:

    Um.. 17ht and TA, no one doing the review and the upcoming match preview against Watford?

    Watford is definitely a much tougher team, and they will give their 100% against us. We have been doing quite well, except for a little heart stopping moments in defense, but what we will be facing is something like our last league match. If we make a small mistake it will be bad.

    I am now feeling “touch wood”, but we have to be sharper. Keep AMN and play him with Rambo?

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