Showing posts with label Southampton. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Southampton. Show all posts

12 January 2023

Are Man City too bored to bother with silverware anymore?

Okay, so it was "only" the League Cup, a trivial trophy that most big clubs with the same respect and consideration that they reserve for a weeks-old sandwich found at the back of the fridge, but there's still something to consider in Man City's surprise loss to Southampton in last night's quarterfinal. Yes, Southampton were certainly up for it, as they're in the basement and penciled in for relegation already. However, for as eager as they might have been, they are, well, in the basement and penciled in for relegation already. As if the scoreline wasn't damning enough, consider this: Man City had more foul throws than shots on target. Has this squad gotten so tired of winning that they can't be bothered anymore?

26 October 2022

Bringing Broja down in the box? Penalty. Jesus? Nope.

To borrow from the inimitable Rodney Dangerfield, I went to a wrestling match but a football match broke out. More to the point, I witnessed our own Gabriel Jesus, uh, "volunteer" to participate in some Greco-Roman wrestling with various Southampton players (who give the lie to the moniker "Saint"), including not but two throat-grabs and two takedowns in the box. To be clear, it was Jesus on the receiving end of these completely legitimate, totally above the board, and not at all against the rules of the game, as evinced ex post facto by the fact that referee Robert Jones saw nothing in any of it to be worth a penalty or even a yellow card. We know that this would stand up in a court of law due to the inherent consistency, infallibility, and competence of Prem referees, the FA, and the PGMOL, among other esteemed and cherished institutions. We have some day find reason enough to revise this system of beliefs, but it is not this day.

23 October 2022

Southampton 1-1 Arsenal: Vote for Player Ratings & MOTM.

Meh. I called Southampton a banana peel in my match preview, and I wasn't far off. Despite us seizing an early lead courtesy of Granit Xhaka's goal in the tenth minute (his fourth of the season, matching his best season total since joining), we failed to kill the match off and let Southampton find an equaliser. I'll spare referee Robert Jones the excoriation his performance deserves, but you're going to come away empty-handed more often than not when you're asking for competency from the ref. We really should have scored a second or at least kept that clean sheet, but we at least stay atop the table for another week. Well, without further ado, then, let's get to the poll to rate the lads. Click here to cast your votes; a post-match summary graphic will be posted tomorrow.

22 October 2022

Arsenal v. Southampton: Banana Peels and Bogey Teams

I do believe that's Cedric popping up to celebrate an Arsenal goal, but...
At a risk of counting eggs before they've hatched, the weekend has already offered some tidy surprises, whether it's Liverpool losing to Nottingham Forest since 1980 or Chelsea and Man U sharing a point, so it's with butterflies in the stomach that we look ahead to our own Sunday clash against Southamptom. If there's ever been a bogey squad, it's Southampton. No matter how many players they sell, no matter how good we are, no matter how bad they are, they always make it harder for us than we have a right to expect. That said, we'd better expect more than we expect. Catch-22. That's quite a catch. Will we meet the Saints who defeated Chelsea or the Saints who lost to Everton and Aston Villa?Probably best to bet on the former.

11 December 2021

Arsenal 3-0 Southampton: Vote for Player Ratings & MOTM!

After a tetchy opening fifteen minutes in which Southampton looked the brighter side narrowly kept at bay by Ramsdale, Arsenal finally took this match by the scruff through goals from Lacazette, Ødegaard, and Gabriel. It's a welcome return to winning ways after two disappoint away losses in which we looked likely to win. It's only the third time we've scored more than two goals in the Prem, and to so while keeping a clean sheet makes for a tidy improvement to our goal difference. It's still negative, but don't let that get you down. Off the pitch, the big pre-match news was the exclusion of Aubameyang due to after returning late from an approved trip. which inspired a good deal of tongue-clucking and beard-stroking. We may have to revisit that later, but for now, let's get down to the post-match poll!

10 April 2018

Saintses and Orcses and Hugheses, oh my!

First and foremost, we have to admit to a certain degree of schadenfreude. There's nothing wrong with it. In fact, we're presented almost weekly with a chance to wallow in it. On Saturday, to cite just one example, we had a veritable smörgåsbord of schadenfreudian options as we watched the Manchester derby. Should we hope for Alexis and Mourinho to suffer the ignominy of defeat at the Etihad as they watch City celebrate, or should we hope for Guardiola and all of his mercenaries to be humiliated twice in one week? In a word, yes. Such is the live of the footballing fan. The enjoyment is roughly 40% support for one's club, 60% spite and schadenfreude at the expense of various rivals.
Say what you will about this campaign, what with its ups and downs (okay, mostly the latter). We were humbled in the League Cup final, humiliated in the FA Cup's Third Round, and we never had a hint of a chance at winning the Prem. Yes, we're still alive in the Europa League and look likely to advance to the semi-final, but even there, we're not yet favorites. Still, we battered Stoke last weekend, driving one more nail into the coffin that is their campaign. On Sunday, we (eventually) did the same to Southampton. 'Twixt the two, you might struggle to find two minnows further apart in their footballing philosophies and at the same time so strangely successful against Arsenal. To see one or both sent down would almost be balm enough to the allergies and aggravations of an otherwise fruitless campaign. Throw in the second sacking of Mark Hughes, and, well, there's enough almost lipstick to put on this pig.

08 April 2018

Arsenal 3:2 Southampton—Vote for Player Ratings & MOTM!

After a shaky start brought about in part by seven changes to the lineup, baffling miscommunication between Mustafi and Čech turned a routine dribbler into a goal for Shane Long. We had to know that Southampton, fighting against relegation, would cause more than the customary amount of trouble, but it still a surprise to see them take the lead. Danny Welbeck helped set things right by finding Aubameyang in the box and then scoring a banger of his own. From there, only magnificent saves from Alex McCarthy kept it close. Shane Long had a goal disallowed, but Charlie Austin scored from a set-piece almost immediately after subbing on. Welbeck shanked a sitter, but he nodded home from close range to redeem himself—and, it must be added, Arsenal itself. There was late drama as Wilshere and Stephens scuffled, leading to a straight red for Stephens. Moments later, Elneny was sent for a retaliatory shove on Soares. Eh. We won. Let's get to the poll.

10 December 2017

Southampton 1-1 Arsenal—Vote for Player Ratings and MOTM!

Barely three minutes in, our defense collapsed—quite literally, it turns out—as Per Mertesacker fell to the ground, and Dusan Tadic skipped to find Southampton's Charlie Austin, who made no mistake on the chance given him, blasting past Petr Čech before most fans could even find their seats. From there, it looked like it woudl be another miserable visit, our hosts dominating proceedings for most if not all of the half and well into the second. It was only after the introductions of Welbeck, Wilshere, and Giroud late on that we started to look interested in scoring if not winning. Finally, in stoppage-time, Giroud found a late equaliser to help us save face as well as a point. Well, it's perhaps better than we deserved and more than we had a right to hope for after that start. Let's get to the poll and rate the lads!

02 February 2016

Slip slidin' away...or a set-up for a second-half surge?

Liverpool got lucky with a late equaliser at Anfield. It's impossible to win at the Brit. Chelsea were gifted another man-advantage win. We made nine changes to face Burnley. Forster played an absolute blinder. For each dispiriting result, there's an individual excuse, some isolated reason why Arsenal could not find more points. However, we're mired in the muck of a majestic morass at the moment, and no amount of finger-pointing at Lee Mason is going to change that. This misfiring squad has shot itself in the foot too many times in recent weeks. That, however, sets the stage for a stunning surge the likes of which we haven't seen in several seasons.

Arsenal 0-0 Southampton: Vote for Player Ratings/MotM!

Arsenal dominated proceedings for most if not the entire match on Tuesday but could not break down a stubborn Saints defense or put anything past Fraser Forster, a fine keeper who always seem to save some of his best performances for Arsenal. Despite having Alexis back for his first Prem match since November and being about as close to full-strength as we've been a similar time, the best stat we could produce was 67% possession. A result like this one is particularly frustrating, marking as it does a fourth consecutive Prem match in which we dropped points. For those inclined to over-react, we'll drop below Tottenham after their win at Norwich. We do have to find a way to fight through the longer-term doldrums that we're in, though. More on that later. For now, get down to the poll and rate the lads' efforts...

Tactical Preview: Arsenal v. Southampton

After three disappointing Prem results, we finally got back to winning ways in an FA Cup win over Burnley. Offering a nifty study in parallel universes, Southampton have bounced back from an FA Cup loss with three impressive Prem results. Something's got to give. Here's hoping it's the Saints' little win streak (each of them a clean sheet, by the way). After dropping seven points from our last three matches, we have to get back to winning ways in the Prem. Leicester host Liverpool while Man City visit Sunderland. There may not be quite enough to see us climb top of the table, but we'll have to at least keep pace...

30 January 2016

Of Sinners and Saints: can Theo score? Can Ox convince?

This was his moment, the perfect moment, the one scripted for him above all others. Subbed on late in the match gainst a visiting lower-tier side chasing an equaliser in the world's oldest association football competition, Theo Walcott found himself one on one with the keeper. Heaton was 15 yards off the line when Theo collected the ball, 25 yards from goal. These are the moments Theo lives for and scores from, are they not? However, he bottled it, trying to dribble Heaton only to have the chance snuffed out. With that, he might have killed two birds with one stone; the first being the chance itself and the second being Oxlade-Chamberlain's revival. It's the second I'm more concerned with...

26 December 2015

Beat Man City≠win the Prem; Lose to Soton≠lose the Prem...

It was an august ceremony, full of pomp and circumstance, as Arsène Wenger stepped up towards Queen Elizabeth II's throne to receive his appointment as a Knight Grand Cross of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire—an unique distinction, given that Arsène is not a citizen of the Commonwealth—but it was the only distinction suitable to the occasion, Arsenal having defeated Man City days before. Indeed, each member of the Arsenal squad that had defeated Man City, thereby winning an unprecedented quadruple in that exact-same instant, received his own appointment as a Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. Just as Arsène bowed down, however, reality rudely intruded...

Southampton 4-0 Arsenal: Vote for Player Ratings/MotM!

Southampton shocked Arsenal, waltzing to a convincing victory at St. Mary's Stadium that raises fresh doubts about Arsenal's desire and ability to win the Prem. Setting aside the idea that a win would have elevated us to the top of the table, we turned in a woeful performance that reflected poorly on our credentials. Southampton, meanwhile, resurrected performances from a season ago when they flirted with a top-four finish. Goals from Martina and Fonte and a brace for Long may have each come through dubious calls or non-calls, but we can really only point the finger at ourselves. Well, the less said about this one, the better. Hold your nose and get down to the poll.

How do you solve a problem like Özil? Man-mark with Wanyama..and rue Ramsey's rampages

Against Mancester City, one of the keys to our success came from Flamini's man-marking of Silva, denying the Spaniard the space or time to receive or do much with the ball. This in effect eroded the entirety of Man City's vaunted attack, as few others in that squad had the quality or creativity to carve out chances as Silva might have. For our trip to St. Mary's, the tables turn a bit as Southampton seek to somehow slow us. After yet another summer of seeing key-players depart, Koeman may have no other option than taking a page from Arsène's tactics, sending one of his few seasons players—Victor Wanyama—to follow Özil in much the same way that our own Flamini shadowed Silva. Fabulous. Enter one Aaron Ramsey.

25 December 2015

Boxing Day? Ramsey will land all the punches to knock out the Saints...

Phew. Now that we've bested Manchester City, all that's left to be done is clean up the confetti and wait for the fat lady to sing. Nothing stands between us and the Prem title now, except maybe an overweening sense of confidence combined with an emotional letdown after Monday's kerfuffle. Going into St. Mary's on Saturday will feel a bit anticlimactic, all the more so because of the Saints' own struggles. It's a banana-peel of a match, no doubt about it.

10 July 2015

The Transfer Merry-Go-Round sends Schneiderlin to Arsenal...

In 2013, we saw Tottenham sell Bale to Real Madrid, who financed that move in part by selling us Özil. In 2014, Liverpool sold Suarez to Barcelona, who financed that move in part by selling us Alexis. Come 2015, we've waited for the other, other shoe to drop—who among our rivals would sell abroad in order to launch the merry-go-round once again? Would it be Man U selling van Persie to Fenerbahçe? Cue the spit-take. In a bit of a twist, though, one spin 'round might see things moving in a different direction, with Man U signing Bastian Schweinsteiger from Bayern. Before you start drooling over whom we might sign from Bayern, cool your jets. The more-likely knock-on would be Morgan Schneiderlin, whose move to Man U had already stalled ahead of the Schweinsteiger news...

24 June 2015

Morgan Schneiderlin will complete a transfer in "coming days"...

In his own words, Morgan Schneiderlin has claimed that he will complete a move away from Southampton in the next few days. Before delving into it, let's offer his own word. Speaking to France Bleu, Schneiderlin had this to say:
The negotiations are ongoing and should be completed in the coming days, hopefully before the resumption of training next week.
Tantalising stuff, that. Apparently, the man is ready to leave Southampton. Given his prior claims to Champions League football, there are only four Prem clubs he could join: Chelsea, Man City, and Arsenal. Maybe Man U. Without jinxing it, most of the signs point towards Arsenal. Could we be poised to land both him and Čech before the end of June?

02 May 2015

'Twas the the night before St. Totteringham...

...and all through the house, not a creature was—ah, I'm talkin' bollocks. Enough of that. While we might have to wait until Monday to make it official, it looks like the weekend will bestow upon us another loverly St. Totteringham's Day, but is this what we want? On Sunday, Tottenham will host Man City, who are level on points with us while we have a game in hand. For as much as we might enjoy yet another chance to lord it over our annoying neighbors, we might have to choke back that little bit of vomit that rises to the back of the throat whenever we have to, you know, "support" Spurs.

30 April 2015

Schneiderlin, Lloris, and Gündoğan, oh my! Whom should Arsenal target?

With the Prem race all but conceded to Chelsea and Champions League qualification essentially sorted as well, enquiring minds start to turn to the summer transfer-window. Arsenal seem now firmly-ensconced in the top-four, nine points above fifth-placed Liverpool and with a game in hand. Having apparently secured a Champions League spot, we can be pardoned for perusing the wares on offer from other clubs, namely Southampton, Tottenham, and Borussia Dortmund. As we eye up Morgan Schneiderlin, Hugo Lloris, and İlkay Gündoğan, then, who among would we need most—and who would best boost our fortunes?