Eleven things we learned from Arsenal 2-1 Southampton


I have just read some very interesting articles today and apart from Alex`s I have left comments. I didn’t comment on Alex’s, as usual, well-written one because I am including some of the points raised by him in this attempt at analysing where we are after the week end.

Firstly his guess at what the composition of the team against Southampton would be and I have to congratulate him on a fairly accurate attempt. As it happened. Xhaka was not included but Perez and Mustafi were. Surprisingly, Perez did not occupy his time mostly in the penalty box as most pundits thought he would, but Walcott drifted in (as he does) and Perez delivered some sweet crosses from which Giroud nearly scored on one occasion when he went full stretch to connect with the ball which went just the wrong side of the post.


Mustafi seemed to have had full confidence from the outset because he went rampaging upfield where Bellerin usually lives and did unsettle their left flank somewhat. However he left gaps behind him which Southampton nearly exploited on more than one occasion. He did settle down and was much more solid in the second half. Unfortunately, Perez did not improve very much and he was subbed without really having made his mark on the game. What we did take out of the game is:

1. whatever, their circumstances are at the time, Southampton are always a dangerous team for us to play.

2. Santi was brilliant. All our constructive work stemmed from him.


3. Koscielny proved once again that as a warrior and a player, he has no equal in the Premiership.

4. Cech was commanding and very unfortunate to concede an OG.

5. Bellerin was his usual self, but a bit lacking in defence in favour of attacking up the wing.

6. Monreal was very solid throughout.

7. Coquelin looked as if he was playing for his place and had a very good game.

8. Walcott is a huge improvement on last year and although he did not score, he did get about and actually made some decent interventions by covering back.

9. Sanchez was always dangerous without being at his best.

10. Ozil, as usual oozed class but he had difficulty combining with Perez as did Sanchez and Walcott. Perez was trying too hard to cover every position in the forward line and he made runs outside the box which the rest could not follow or anticipate, so there was little cohesion in the forward line. When that happens, the benefit of Ozil`s game is largely lost.

11 Ox once again was all energy and effort with little reward but he put a shift in.

Giroud did make a bit of an improvement when he came on but really we need to see more of him playing with Perez to see if our efficiency is improved at scoring from our chances.


I was disappointed with the result which in fairness to Southampton, should have been a draw but I do think that Ian Wright was extremely harsh on Perez. We needed a goal scorer and we hear today that Arsene bought him as a centre forward and Wright criticised him for not staying within the penalty area. He said that he was bought as a centre forward. We already have wingers and we don`t need another one. From Perez`s perspective apparently, Wenger made enquiries about Perez before the window opened but, then he was linked with practically every top CF in Europe afterwards, before coming back to him right at the end. he knew that there was at least 4 other players who Wenger would have bought before him, but here he was playing at the Emirates for Arsenal, and I think he just tried far too hard to be everywhere at once. He will need time to settle down and particularly he needs to learn Ozil`s game.


Xhaka rested for PSG?

I have made my views known about Wenger, but he has bought three players. Xhaka, for me is a quality player and he will prove himself over this season. If I had watched Pogba in the games he has played and compared him to Xhaka, I think we got the better deal. Pogba was anonymous on Sunday. Mustafi looks as if he will improve our defence so the only criticism I would make is that they should all have been bought at the start of the window. We may not have dropped 5 points. I did have my misgivings at the selection of the team and particularly for not having Xhaka but I had not taken account of tomorrow’s game with PSG so I have to accept that some precautions were needed in this case.

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In summary, I know that there was fierce criticism again after the match and once more Wenger was the main target. I would ask all of those critics to accept that like it or not, nothing they do will bring about the dismissal of Wenger. That is a fact. the only thing is, I believe that if he finishes the season with a good team which he can safely hand over to a successor, he will go this year. He will go of his own volition. He will not back down. That is not in his character. There is nothing continuing with heavy abuse which will be constructive this season and it will only affect the performance of the players. There was no lack of effort on Sunday and for passages in the game, the supporters made lots of noise which inspired more effort from the players. I hope I see a lot more of that this year.

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4 Responses to Eleven things we learned from Arsenal 2-1 Southampton

  1. paul35mm September 12, 2016 at 4:30 pm #

    Squad rotation was definitely part of the team sheet against Southampton. Arsenal usually beat Southampton at home and while they had moments, Arsenal did dominate possession and had the better chances. Giroud’s missed header, Monreal’s open goal miss, Alexis’ rocket, and Bellerin sent a screamer past the far post. any one of those shots could have gone in.

    Coquelin did look like he was playing for his place and that’s exactly what he’s doing. Weith Xhaka, Elneny, and Coquelin, two of thosep layers will get significant time this season, one will find himself on the short end. With Xhaka being so expensive and looking really good in both offense and defense so far, it was will Le Coq or Elneny looking in from the edges of the squad. Le Coq made a good case for himself.

    The Perez criticism form Ian Wright and others is out of line. He wasn’t good but there were a few moments where he attempted quick passes and just was not on the same wave length as his teammates. not a shock, considering he had less than a week of training. Contrary to the pundit position, Perez did a lot of good things. He nearly got on the end of a cross by Walcott, only a big defensive play by the saints kept him out. If he scores there everyone is jumping up and down calling Perez a bargain. In football the differences are measured in inches. Arsene wenger gave Perez the start because he judged Arsenal were the better team and could afford to field a slightly weaker team.

    Mustafi looked good. A little reckless, perhaps, with his forward runs. He does have more pace than Arsenal fans are used to seeing from Koscielny’s partner. He’s quicker than the BFG, Chambers, and Holding, so maybe he can afford to play more forward. He does seem very good and very confident on the ball. Mertesacker received a lot of criticism for his lack of pace and slow turns, but kept out a lot of goals by being in the right place at the right time. Mustafi looks like he might need some work on his positional sense.

    Arsenal were lucky to win, but most games involve a little luck. Swansea got a little luck when Fer got away with a couple of kicks to Cahill’s ankles. Chelsea got a little when Costa’s goal was let stand despite kicking Walker in the face.

    • victor thompson September 13, 2016 at 2:42 pm #

      Thanks for your reply Paul. More or less the same as my opinion. I am glad that you agreed with me about Coquelin because some of the comments on other sites were pretty hard on him to the extent that I wondered if I had watched the same game. I am disappointed that Elneny may well be squeezed out despite never having had a bad game. I think he is in competition with Cazorla rather than Coquelin as he is a creative player whereas Coquelin is in competition with Zhaka as the holding player. I do wonder though if he might pick both of them tonight for the first half anyway, to tighten the defence. At the end of the day if we did get a draw, it would be a decent result.

  2. Bob Stones September 12, 2016 at 7:44 pm #

    De boy Mustafi is de German Chambers true dat

    • victor thompson September 13, 2016 at 2:45 pm #

      Thanks Bob, in my opinion he is nothing like Chambers. He is faster and more mobile and is a better tackler. He has loads of experience whereas poor old Chambers didn`t get much playing time in one position.

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