Arsenal 3-2 Southampton review – Premier League –
8th April 2018 (H)
We were lucky.
I’d readily admit that.
We didn’t really play well for extended periods. But then we managed to sneak the win all the same.
The starting line up was OK, though I don’t believe it was that weak.
Wenger clearly had an eye on the Europa League game in Russia very soon. So it was not absolute full-strength. For one, our golden guy from Germany was on the bench.
But with PEA, Mustafi, Cech, Bellerin, Xhaka, Elneny, and Welbz, it was far from a weak team.
But whilst the team wasn’t weak, our attitude was. Soton started strongly and had a few good chances until Long scored from a poor defensive error by Mustafi.
They could have made it two, as Long and Bertrand combined well. However, PEA proved that he won’t do it in England (as the Bundesliga is naturally crap*…..) by getting the equaliser.
Welbz, yes the guy who cannot finish his dinner (supposedly) got a deflected finish to put us 2-1 up at half-time.
The second half was dominated by Soton, but with occasional bright sparks from us. And Austin managed to capitalise on their dominance by netting.
Welbz got his brace soon after, and the game ended on a rough note with Elneny and one of their players getting sent off.
However, despite riding our luck in many places, we sneaked the win. If I were a Soton fan, I’d be upset, and rightly so. As a Gooner though, I’m glad we’ve continued our home form, albeit by showing the continual (continuous?) faults.
Well, we did show a lot of the same faults, as we do in EVERY game.
Poor defending. Poor organisation. Weak mentality, but very strong attacking play.
It’s a formula that is not serving us, but in an ironic way did today.
I think the principal difference between us and them is that we have better forwards. Austin and Long are seasoned PL pros, but they’re not PEA. They aren’t even Welbz, and not Lacazette. If this were City, United, or even Spurs (or any other team with top/world-class forwards), we’d have lost or at least conceded far more.
Our overall attitude here was poor, and telling of how we’ve played all season. It’s clear we hold mentality issues, but then we were not switched on. Soton needed the points, to sustain their PL place. And of course, they were prone to attack; it’s a no-brainer. However, we didn’t match them until PEA equalised.
Our approach play was more of the sideways shuffle of recent months, nay years, and we lacked the forward runners.
There were numerous empty seats again, and this is understandable given the current team state. I just know, nay believe, that with a different attitude instilled we could do great things.
In many ways, this mirrored the Stoke game. We won and possibly were more clinical overall, but largely showed lapses in organisation and defensive work that we were fortunate to overcome. I’m happy for the win, but this for me shows the self-evident need for change.
A major positive was seeing Nelson make his starting debut. However, I don’t’ think he offered much, but then he is young and can improve.
|CECH||7||THE GOALS WERE NOT HIS FAULT, BUT THEN HE DID MAKE SOME GOOD SAVES AND CLEARANCES|
|BELLERIN||5||DID OK WHEN NEEDED BUT DIDN’T GET FORWARD MUCH|
|MUSTAFI||4||POSITIONALLY WAS ATROCIOUS AND DESPERATELY NEEDS STRONG DIRECTION|
|CHAMBERS||6||DID ALRIGHT BUT MANAGED TO GET CAUGHT FOR PACE FROM LONG|
|KOLASINAC||5||HELD OFF THEIR WINGERS, BUT DIDN’T GET FORWARD ENOUGH|
|XHAKA||5||LONG-RANGE DISTRIBUTION WAS NOT AS GOOD AS IN RECENT GAMES|
|ELNENY||6||MANAGED TO COUNTER THEIR MIDFIELD WELL|
|NELSON||5||NOT THE WORST DEBUT, BUT DIDN’T OFFER MUCH. HE HAS TIME TO IMPROVE, AFTER ALL.|
|WELBECK||8||TODAY, AT LEAST, HE MANAGED TO MATCH HIS FINISHING WITH STRONG WORK-RATE|
|PEA||7||LOOKED TO LINK UP PLAY AND GET OUT WIDE, BUT GOT A TYPICAL POACHER’S GOAL|
|IWOBI||6||DID WELL IN THE LATTER PHASES, AS HE MANAGED TO CREATE CHANCES|
|WILSHERE||5||SHOWED SOME FIGHT AT THE END AS THE SOTON PLAYER/ELNENY GOT SENT OFF. DIDN’T INFLUENCE MUCH OTHER THAN THAT.|
|LACAZETTE||6||DIDN’T OFFER MUCH, BUT LARGELY KEPT FRESH FOR RUSSIA.|
|HOLDING||7||MANAGED TO CONTAIN BOTH AUSTIN AND LONG|
Man of the match
Dat guy missed a sitter, but scored a brace, and did well overall today. Surely a shoe-in for the England World Cup squad. Who else can get it, bar Kane? Vardy? He’s as worthy of a place as anybody else.