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Arsenal 2 Southampton 1: Not a whole lot of answers


The tube driver announced the next stop as “The Arsenal”. It was a small but welcome touch that briefly lifted my spirits until I entered the claustrophobic walkways of The Arsenal station.

But what of the game? You’ve probably gathered this won’t go down as a classic performance.

Understandably the manager picked a team with half an eye on the exertions of international week and another half an eye on PSG on Tuesday. Fair enough but in terms of working out what the first team is, I fear we’re none the wiser. Which matters I feel because right now it isn’t particularly clear to me what our game plan is.

Mustafi had a couple of decent forays but if I’m honest I struggled to form too clear an impression. Perez was fairly anonymous but it was pretty hard to work out whether the fault lay with him or a lack of supply. It all felt slightly higgledy piggledy at times.

For what it is worth, I do think it was a penalty, mainly because Giroud had got the wrong side of the defender and so from that point of view, the pull back mattered.

As for the penalty itself, I’m conscious the stats show Cazorla has scored eight and missed just one from the spot for Arsenal. And yet I find it impossible to have confidence in any player who doesn’t routinely put the ball into the corner (or at least roof) of the net. Granted, sending the keeper the wrong way takes skill. But down the middle or near the middle is always a worry for me.

17 Responses to “Arsenal 2 Southampton 1: Not a whole lot of answers”

  1. Malaysian gunner says:

    All fans are happy the ref gave apenalty and Carzola scored.What if the penalty was not given?
    In Chelsea’s game against Saints ,after Cahill was fouled ,Saints scored the 2nd goal.It shd have been disallowed.
    I am not a Blue fan and btw Costa was repeatedly fouled and no action taken against the culprits.The same thing can happen to the gunners.
    The ref in question shd be severely dealt with. Suspending him for the std no of matches aint going to work.
    The best course of action will be to deduct 50% of the match fee.Otherwise there could be similar incidents happening again.Football is now abusiness and the stakes are sky high.
    The FA shd serve notice incompetence will not be tolerated.

  2. slc gunner says:

    I think it was just about a penalty, but not by much. Interesting that we played on with Kos down, but it paid off. We might have been a little lucky when no foul was given against Monreal, but you can’t really say that it led directly to the goal. A lot happened in between.
    AS for 1st 11, I wouldn’t base anything on this game. Southampton have lost some players and I think PSG was in the mind when selecting the 1st 11. I would expect 3 or more changes for Tuesday: Sanchez, Giroud and Xhaka to start at a minimum. I would play Coquelin with Xhaka, and unless you play Santi on the right, I think he should be on the bench: despite his performance on Saturday
    Agree that the game did not shine any light on the potential of Mustafi and Perez. .

  3. Rampton says:

    What on earth are you on about?

  4. Rampton says:

    Just to clarify, my post was in reply to Malaysian Gunner.

  5. Rampton says:

    Gonna try posting that again
    What on earth are you on about?

  6. MDP says:

    Yep, I think the line up was affected by the Internationals and PSG. Alexis, Xhaka and Giroud would all have started under normal circumstances I would think.

    A game best forgotten were it not for the wonderful bicycle kick by Kos. Yeah, I did feel the penalty was a bit soft on first watching but I do agree with Playa. I’ve always said a defender has to be nuts to grab a players shirt in the box.

    The thing that concerns me from this match was the lack of goals, on a weekend when other teams managed to knock in 4. We know we lack the marquee striker but we have plenty of quality up front. The wings still worry me with The Ox (who I rate highly) feeling the pressure and Theo never going to be more than what we see now. I still question if Gnabry and Campbell would have been more effective but hey ho.

    Anyway 3 points, some valuable playing time for Mustafi and Perez, move on to PSG.

  7. Malaysian gunner says:

    What I am trying to say is there must be consistency in ref decisions.
    Football is no w a multi million business and the ref cannot afford to make wrong decisions.
    What happened in the Chelsea game could happen to Arsenal.
    I hope this clears the air.

  8. PD says:

    Never a pen for me. I can only imagine the outrage if that were given against us………but this & Leicester game will no doubt be wiped from history the next time a decision goes against us & the ‘refs all hate Arsenal’ excuse is thrown out again….(how scary would the league table be if we had only 4 points now… but for dodgy refereeing…)
    Agreed MDP re: lack of goals but we were hardly brilliant defensively either. If Shane Long could finish, we were beaten.
    Ultimately, it’s a total cliche…but a win is a win.

    Yeah Alexis, Xhaka, Giroud come in for PSG. I’d agree with slc : this is the sort of game where Santi has been exposed before. Harsh on him but I’d leave him out on Tuesday. Even if we lose to PSG, it’s hard to imagine us not getting out of what is a very poor group….it’s a big game more in terms of us laying down a marker than anything else.

  9. MDP says:

    Shirt pulling is shirt pulling in this case. Harsh and soft but stupid by the defender, a clear penalty by the letter of the law. If I was a Southampton fan I would feel aggrieved because refs don’t apply this rule consistently and they probably deserved a draw. The Leicester penalty shout was a different thing altogether though. It was all about contact in the box which there probably was from Bellerin and we got away with it. Neither game were anything to shout about. If the shoe was on the other foot, it’s hard to say but I’m happy to hold my hands up on the Leicester one. I remember Spurs getting a penalty against City last season with absolutely no contact and it changed the game in their favour. I was enraged at the time. That was more clear cut than this in my opinion.

    Good shout on leaving Cazorla out on Tuesday. A good opportunity to pair Xhaka with either Elneny or Coquelin and look for a bit more bite and strength in midfield. Happily take a draw from that one but we shouldn’t be frightened of PSG.

  10. Delve 348 says:

    Just to clear up the confusion for Malaysian Gooner, the ref was correct to award Swansea a goal against Chelsea because they are Chelsea and they suck, and if anything he should get a bonus, whilst the ref was right to award Arsenal a last minute penalty because it was a penalty. Hope that clears it up.

  11. Delve 348 says:

    …and persistent fouling of Diego Costa should go unpunished – except of course the two yellow cards to Costa for remonstrating with the officials and swearing at the players who go in on him studs up. Hope that settles any confusion.

  12. Elvis says:

    Definitely a penalty for me. Fonte impeded Giroud, the stretch on the shirt proved it was inhibiting his movement, and he also tangled with his legs, bringing him to the ground. Stonewall. This kind of foul is not punished enough but Fonte knew he was gaining an illegal advantage by pulling his opponent’s shirt. Fine in rubgy, not in football.

    If Cazorla sees the keeper start to move as he runs up to take the penalty, down the middle is the best place to go. No chance of dragging it wide which is always the risk when aiming for the bottom corner.

    Agree with Delve; Costa could justifiably be sent to the stands just for being as ugly as he is. Ungentlemanly conduct in itself…

  13. PD says:

    The thing is gents there is a large contingent of Gooners who throw their toys out of the pram over referees. Every controversial decision against us is 100% wrong, definitely decided the result of the game & is proof that there is a conspiracy against Arsenal. Controversial decisions in our favour on the other hand ? There is always a reason found (however implausible – you know the ‘from this angle’ argument) to show that the ref was right and then there’s the ‘we would have won anyway’ argument if all else fails.
    Referees are on the whole fairly poor (though clearly not helped by football’s reluctance to use technology) but there’s no bias.
    The point I’m trying to make is that we have to remember incidents like this the next time things don’t go our way…..

  14. Elvis says:

    PD – football supporters are emotional and inherently biased. How many shouts of “handball”" do you hear among the home supporters at the Emirates when the ball is kicked against Koscielny’s or Monreal’s arm in the box?

    We shout at the officials to give us 50-50 decisions, we complain noisily when they decide otherwise,we rail against injustices when we suffer them and we overlook shocking decisions when we benefit. Fans of all clubs do the same, it’s human nature.

    Some impartials might complain when Cahill gets practically assaulted – twice – before conceding a goal, and the ref ignores the fouls and gives the goal. I am not impartial though, and I find it hilarious enough to watch over and over again on YouTube.

  15. PD says:

    You lucky, lucky man Arsene. Shocking team selection. Terrible performance. Totally undeserved point.

  16. slc gunner says:

    Ospina for Cech was very surprising given what happened last year at the same stage. In fairness, he had one of his best games for Arsenal (although one of the saves was a result of his own kicking error).
    Mustafi and Koscielny have some work to do as a partnership. Mustafi needs to learn to play offside before he starts putting his hand up a la Tony Adams.
    Ox was terrible again – not sure what we can do with him. He cannot seem to do anything right. But he keeps getting picked – he did nothing at the weekend to deserve to keep his place even if Walcott was injured.
    On the bright side, I was impressed with Iwobi – Ox should really look at him for inspiration. Yes, he probably could have helped Monreal a little more, but his general play in possession was impressive.
    I don’t agree that it was a terrible performance (well the first 20 mins were worse than terrible) but agree that we were lucky that PSG did not take a couple of chances on the break. Put it this way: we have played a lot worse away from home in the champions league.

  17. MDP says:

    Yeah, has to be said that it was a shocking performance from the manager.

    First and foremost is Sanchez doesn’t work as a striker. Why it took so long to bring on Giroud, I just don’t know. Having said that Giroud had a terrible night on the discipline front. Secondly, I don’t know what Coquelin is being asked to do but he seems to be playing higher up the pitch. First half PSG dominated midfield, our defence were having a shocker and you just felt a disciplined defensive midfield performance was required. Thought Santi was doing okay but I would have preferred to see Xhaka from the start and Coquelin playing deeper or Elneny in there.

    It feels like we’re still in pre-season finding our feet with new signings bedding in. The defence was a shambles and all four defenders had their moments. Monreal hasn’t looked himself recently and I think the Koscielny and Mustafi partnership is going to take some bedding in.

    Not sure what to say about the Ox. We can all see his potential and I’m sure there’s a top class player in there but he looks lost at the moment. He’s visibly looking down and I don’t know where he goes from here.

    To finish… Man of the Match from an Arsenal perspective has to be Ospina. He kept us in the game and the draw is thanks to him. He made one mistake giving the ball away but made up for it. I heard a rumour that Cech was carrying a calf injury otherwise I’d pick him as number 1 without hesitation. It seemed like a scary and bold move before the match after last season. But, in general Ospina looks like an assured keeper and I feel safe in comparison to a keeper like Fabianski. All keepers make mistakes that are rarely forgotten but Ospina still has a lot to prove.

    If the manager continues to tinker like this, you feel it’s going to end in tears. We need to find a shape and a rhythm to our game urgently.

    A draw is a great result away at PSG. Move on.

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