Last Saturday’s game v Southampton was the total anticlimax. I was really looking forward to a proper Saints v Gunners battle and hoping that we would finally crack them. They have become a bit of a bogey team to us, especially in away fixtures. I don’t rate Alan Shearer as a commentator at all but have some sympathy for him regarding his statement that managers are not taking the FA Cup seriously anymore. Virtually every PL team made a high number of changes, which is a strong indication that the FA Cup does not really matter to them.
The Football Association did not help matters by scheduling PL games for tomorrow and Wednesday. Survival in the PL is crucial for a lot of clubs and winning the FA Cup appears to have become far less important nowadays. I reckon this is a real shame, and it will be hard to change things round for the FA.
We won 5-0 and there were some good individual performances by our Gunners, but it is impossible to take anything from it. The Saints were never in this game and wanted it to be over as soon as Welbeck scored his and Arsenal’s second. It was was so obvious that they would put nothing in our way that I lost interest pretty soon after we scored our third. At the end of the game I felt more melancholic than euphoric, hence no full match review.
Perez produced a very fine assist and two Ozil-worthy pre-assists; the Ox showed what he can do when given space and time and being played in a central position; Theo showed us all the value of taking a chance with the first touch (and that he has still got it); Welbeck showed us all what Plan C in attack would look like, and especially the first goal was a beautiful, Henryesque finish, and; Alexis got to come on late to claim two very well timed and placed assists, so he is also a happy bunny.
The defence can boast a clean sheet and Holding will be pleased with an assured, although hardly challenged, performance. Mustafi kept his Arsenal unbeaten record and led by example, and the full backs and keeper put in a decent shift (but nothing to write home about).
The only real beneficiaries of this encounter were M-N and Jeff: they actually played at their current level v the Saints and shone throughout the game.
But who knows how they all would have done IF the Saints had actually turned up to give us a game. They did not and it became a very easy-on-the-eye training session for our boys. Luckily, we will get to see the real stuff again against the Hornets tomorrow. They also made numerous changes and got kicked out of the FA Cup, so will be ready to sting us right in the Arsenal.