|Arsenal 1 v 1 Southampton|
Barclays Premier League
Wednesday, 16th December 2020 Kick-off 18:00
Saints At Arsenal The Preview
Wednesday, 16th Dec 2020 11:05
Saints travel up to the Emirates looking to end a winless run at Arsenal that stretches back to 1987, can we break that hoodoo and in doing so show the footballing world that we mean business..
If we read the media and look at the League table, all the pointers are that we can finally break that hoodoo and win at Arsenal for the first time in the League since November 1987 when Danny Wallace gave us all three points in a 1-0 win.
Since then we have come close to winning on several occasions, the following year we should have made it two in a row but the Gunners scored deep in injury time to equalise after we had led 2-0, to rub salt in it it was injury time added for Paul Davis's snide off the ball punch that broke Glenn Cockerill's jaw.
This changed Arsenal's season, without that point they would not have been heading to Anfield for their final game 3 points behind knowing a two goal win would snatch the title, they would have arrived 4 points adrift and with the title being paraded by Liverpool.
In our relegation season of 2004/05 two Rory Delap goals saw us 2-1 up going into injury time, before Robin Van Persie equalised for another 2-2 draw, that goal cost us dearly, a look at the League table from that season shows that had be not scored that goal the 2 extra points would not only heve kept us up, but probably would have staved off us making the panic appointment of Harry Redknapp a month later.
Likewise last season another 2-2 draw and another injury time equaliser from the home side this time in the 6th minute broke our hearts.
We have won at the Emirates in the EFL, firstly under Ronald Koeman in 2014/15 and then two years later under Claude Puel on our way to the final.
But it is about time we finally ended that barren run in the League and in doing so show that we can beat the big sides and are genuine contenders for a top 7 place this season.
I stop at saying title challengers as although this is a strange season, there is still a long way to go, let's take one step at a time before we get carried away and the next step we need to take is by beating Arsenal.
I would be surprised if Ralph Hasenhuttl made a change tonight, I think he will know that we have a great opportunity here and will want to take it, i think it will be the same starting line up as that on Sunday.
On paper we start favourites, an Arsenal side in disarray, missing players through suspension and injury and a squad that is desperately under performing, but we all know Saints have that habit of blowing things when it looks easy and we have to avoid complacency.
My worry tonight is that the home side will have a siege mentality, Mikel Arteta will fire them up and with no fans allowed in to get on their backs, they will probably actually prefer to play in front of an empty stadium.
So they will be no push overs, we have to play our usual game and play it well, if we do then we have nothing to fear.
Key will be substitutions, this season we have not been great on them, but tonight we will need fresh legs and we will need to get game time for some.
It is hard to call this one if only for our appalling record, but I have always seen each addition to a winless run or indeed a winning run as one step nearer it's end and from that point of view the past is gone, it is all about tonight.
Tonight will probably not be about going top if we win, with Liverpool hosting Spurs it will be a minor miracle if we went above both of them, if we won and went on to 26 points a draw would probably see both above us on goal difference, we start the day only 2 goals behind Liverpool, but 7 behind Spurs, I would suspect that if Spurs drew at Anfield and we went top they would celebrate as we wold have beaten their hated rivals at home by at least 7.
However a positive result for one side or the other at Anfield means that 2nd would be in our grasp, but our position would still depend on how Leicester City do against Everton this evening.
We have to push away talk of what we can achieve, there is still a long way to go, it is about continuing to grind out results, with every win we are a step nearer, our last three games have seen us pick up 6 points, we need to keep up the average of at least 4.5 and above
Ironically defeat tonight would still see that 6 point from 3 game average, but we want more, we have two tough games and it would be very easy to see that points per game ration plummet by teatime on Saturday and with the league so condensed we could end the coming weekend in first place but conversely we could be as low as 10th.
Before we start talking of Europe or even as some are starting to say winning the League, we have to first widen the game between us and 10th spot.
After the trials of the last 3 seasons, it is just nice to be able to write reviews in a positive manner again, long may it continue.
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 31 bloggers
Letters from Wiltshire #26 by wessex_exile
Well, after a piss-poor Xmas period so far for the U’s, culminating in the Roots Hall horror show on Boxing Day, let’s hope the U’s have burned off those festive calories and are raring to go. They’ll certainly have to be at their best against a Cheltenham side aiming to force their way into the automatic promotion places. In other news, we now finally have confirmation that there will be a trade deal in place with the EU once Brexit arrives in 2021. It remains to be seen whether it’s a good deal or not, and more to the point, who for, but at least it’s not the economic uncertainty of no-deal.
Letters from Wiltshire #25 by wessex_exile
A little earlier than usual, but as we approach the end of what has been a most difficult year for everyone, I’ll keep the introductory editorial brief, as I’m sure you will all be very busy in the coming days rescuing what you can from this pandemic-ravaged festive period. I simply wish you all peace on earth, goodwill to all (yes, even our South Essex cousins), and here’s to a happy, prosperous and most importantly healthy 2021 for us all.
Letters from Wiltshire #24 by wessex_exile
Welcome to our last match before Christmas. With South Essex going into Tier 3, by the time we take to the pitch at Roots Hall, it’ll be another behind-closed-doors match. With the Tier 3 boundary creeping inexorably closer, one wonders how long the JobServe will hold out and still be able to allow fans to attend. Robbie is doing all he can to make it possible for supporters to attend, and I confess I’m seriously considering our January 2nd match against Tranmere. In other news, I’m relieved to read that the FA will not take disciplinary action against Colchester United after a shameful minority chose to boo players and officials taking the knee, in the words of the EFL “as they highlight the inequality and injustice experienced by the Black Community”. I noticed a tiny minority chose to boo at our mid-week match at the Abbey Stadium, but I was pleased to hear they were immediately drowned out by the remainder of the 2,000 cheering and applauding. I admit I’m a little anxious about today…
Letters from Wiltshire #23 by wessex_exile
As I’ve been providing updates on the ongoing US presidential election, it is worth mentioning that the Electoral College votes have now been cast, which formally confirms Biden as the new President-elect. Normally a formality, as the losing candidate has usually long-since conceded defeat, but these are far from normal times, and America has far from a normal lame-duck President. Still, at least the threat of members of the Electoral College ignoring the popular vote in favour of an outcome demanded by Trump has failed to materialise. In the UK, new Covid tiers were announced this week, with London going into Tier 3. Colchester stays in Tier 2, but only just, with as far north east as Maldon, Braintree and Chelmsford also moving into Tier 3 – and as if you need reminding, Tier 3 means no supporters at matches.
Letters from Wiltshire #22 by wessex_exile
Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat…hence I’m a bit late today, following the inevitable Christmas tree hunt – the decorating will have to wait until later I reckon. In the news, despite my confident assurance several weeks ago that Trump appeared to be grudgingly starting to accept that he had lost the US presidency election, he’s since doubled-down on his baseless accusations of election fraud – without obviously providing a single shred of evidence to back it up (and how could he, there isn’t any). His latest apoplectic tirade, just today, follows the Supreme Court telling Texas just where they can stick their egregious lawsuit demanding that Biden’s victories in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and Georgia be thrown out in favour of Trump. From a global perspective, it is deeply troubling that no less than 126 republican congressional representatives signed an amicus brief supporting the challenge. Trump will leave the White House in January, but they will stay at the heart of the US government, and I don’t think that’s good news for democracy, nor even the rest of the world. Ho hum…
[ Vote here ]