|Arsenal 2 v 2 Southampton|
Barclays Premier League
Saturday, 23rd November 2019 Kick-off 15:00
Saints At Arsenal The Verdict
Sunday, 24th Nov 2019 10:16
It felt like a defeat at the end of a pulsating game, that offered both hope and also highlighted just why we are were we are in the Premier League.
As we walked away from the Emirates someone commented that they didnt think they would be walking up this road with a point, another commented that they thought that it would have been still daylight when they walked back and another that they thought people would have still be going to the game when they trudged back, this was the mood of pessimism ahead of this game.
But little did we know that we would see a game that not only showed that Saints have the spirit to pull clear, but also our defensive frailties that again cost us dearly come the final result.
The first good news was the Saints fans, they had clearly decided that this was not the time to protest, it was time to support our team and from the start a section of fans had decided to sing constantly and as the players on the pitch showed their spirit so did the supporters, none of them are happy with the situation but at the Emirates it was all about supporting the team.
For the home crowd it was the exact opposite it was like the proverbial library and although the attendance was only 88 below the stadium's record, there were thousands of empty seats.
On the pitch although Arsenal had the majority of possession it was Saints that struck first as a quickly taken free kick caught the home side on the hop and put Danny Ings through on goal and he finished clinically.
The lead lasted exactly 10 minutes and slack defending again cost us dearly to gift Arsenal an equaliser that really should have been stopped.
But if anyone thought the result was now beyond doubt and Arsenal would find their form they would be sorely mistaken, in the preview I called for a backs to basic's approach and a formation that the players knew how to play, Ralph Hasenhuttl delivered that and his team responded by delivering a fighting performance and were determined to battle for every inch.
With just under 20 minutes to go Saints were awarded a penalty, the referee was right on the scene and withing seconds had blown for the penalty and booked the offender, but it still had to be checked by VAR and this took an age possibly 3 minutes of standing around and this would cost us dearly, JWP's penalty was saved but it was an easy slot in from the rebound.
Now it was Saints in command, but we had already squandered chances and we continued to do so right into injury time and this like the VAR delay would cost us dearly as once again defensively we left a man unmarked at the far post to fire home from close range to cost us two valuable points.
The mood in the away section was immediately deflated although there was some confusion if the goal had been awarded, the Arsenal players did not celebrate and nor did the fans, had it been disallowed perhaps, the sad answer was no and it was only when the ref picked the ball up and marched it back to the centre spot was the decision confirmed even the stadium announced seemed reticent to announce it.
So this is Saints season, it was a game we should have won, we wasted at least three good chances after going ahead, but the fact is scoring two goals away from home is good, the problem is still that we gift goals, you cannot fault the effort of the back four, but they have to be solid for the entire game and not keep going to sleep on several occasions as they did at the Emirates and have done so all season.
Arsenal may be in disarray but they are still 7th, they are still one of only 3 sides not to be beaten at home, the result felt like a defeat due to the late late goal, but the reality is that this is a good point, not only from the point of view it was against a side who will still be there or thereabouts at the end of the season, but from the manner of our performance, this was a team playing for their manager and playing for themselves, you could see confidence seeping back into the play and we created chances aplenty, sadly we still have a big problem at the back, but that can be rectified in January.
The performance showed that we can stay up, we can pull clear as we did last season, indeed since the Leicester game two late goals have cost us three points, with those we would have been clear of the bottom three, I know we are not, but it highlights how close we are to pulling clear and that it is achievable and indeed if we beat Watford next week we could well be out of the relegation zone.
We are a point better off than we were this time last season, so that is something to build on, Saints seem to like playing away from home better than at St Mary's, that has to change next Saturday, yes we all know there are issues, but we need to find the solution not just make the problem worse, One City ! One Team ! One Aim !
Photo: Action Images
Please report offensive, libellous or inappropriate posts by using the links provided.
You need to login in order to post your comments
Blogs 30 bloggers
Matches of Yesteryear - U's v Swans 3/4/01 by wessex_exile
Good afternoon everyone, North Wilts calling. We’ve all no doubt heard (and used) variations of the expression “strange times we’re going through” during this crisis. They certainly are, and without a doubt the term crisis is apt, with deaths and positive tests seemingly rising almost exponentially at the moment. But we’ll get through this, and when we do, I firmly believe as a society we’ll be better for it. We’ll be a society better connected to our family, friends and neighbours, and more caring for those that need support. More so, we'll be a society in tune with the concept that we don’t have to burn fossil fuels to conduct business, we do have the technology available to avoid it, we’ll all be pretty adept at using it, and will all be far more comfortable with using it. It's an ill wind...
Matches of Yesteryear - U's v Macclesfield 4/4/92 by wessex_exile
Good afternoon everyone, I sincerely hope you are all doing well? Today would have been a vital home match against Mansfield, struggling at the wrong end of the league this time after a couple of seasons flattering to deceive at the sharp end. Since the last blog, we now know that all football below the National League is cancelled, and the season expunged from records. A tough break for the likes of Jersey Bulls in the Combined Counties League Division 1, who had won all of their 27 matches and already promoted, but then these are very strange times indeed. I sincerely hope the EFL season can be completed somehow, but I’m increasingly pessimistic about whether it will be.
Matches of Yesteryear - Wycombe v U's 6/3/99 by wessex_exile
Here we are again, so greetings to all you social distancers and self-isolationists, I sincerely hope you are all well. This would have been our third fixture since the suspension of all football in the UK, and with more and more measures being implemented by the government to minimise social gatherings, including extending the football league break until at least the end of April, one wonders whether we’ll ever finish this season? There have been numerous measures announced, including £50m from the EFL, to minimise the financial burden on us smaller clubs, but Robbie Cowling has gone on record stating that “…to really survive and go forward there is going to be help needed from the Premier League or elsewhere” – quite right Robbie.
Matches of Yesteryear - U's v Bournemouth 27/4/99 by wessex_exile
Tonight would have been our home fixture against table-toppers Crewe, and a chance to avenge the draw at Gresty Rd which really should have been a victory. However, what’s really interesting about it for me is that myself and probably a considerable number of you out there would have been watching it on i-Follow – exactly what our chairman suggested should have been the first option the EFL considered before deciding to postpone league fixtures. Ho hum, wonder how we would have got on…
Matches of Yesteryear - U's v Yeovil 15/8/09 by wessex_exile
…and so we enter the start of the coronavirus-enforced football league postponement period for 2019/20. As things stand, we will emerge on 4th April away at Bradford City, with nine fixtures (some teams, including Swindon, Crewe and FGR have ten) still to complete over the following 21 days, though I’m sure the end of the season could be extended if needs be. Whether we do restart on 4th April only time will tell.
[ Vote here ]