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Arsenal 1 v 1 Southampton
Barclays Premier League
Wednesday, 16th December 2020 Kick-off 18:00
Saints At Arsenal The Verdict
Thursday, 17th Dec 2020 09:20

Such are our standards these days that a draw at Arsenal was a disappointment, but the end result is that with over a third of the season gone, we sit in 3rd place only a point behind the Special One and his salivated over Spurs team.

The downside of Wednesday night's trip to the Emirates was that we once again dropped two points from a winning position and failed to put Arsenal to the sword after they had gone down to 10 men with half an hour still to play.

But it was still a good point, Arsenal were always going to be a tough nut to crack, only a few weeks ago they were only 4 points behind us, now they are still 10 adrift and we are in 3rd place, this was a poor result for us, but that is more about how far we have come anything else.

We started the game well and took a well deserved lead when Che Adams did great work to win the ball and put a slide rule pass through for Theo Walcott to finish with aplomb, but we couldn't turn domination into a second goal and that would make it difficult in the second half.

We knew that Arsenal would come out at the break fired up and they did, initially we looked like coping ok, but we went to sleep on 52 minutes, we allowed Aubameyang to ride far too many tackles and stood off him to allow him to curl the ball into the corner leaving McCarthy with no chance.

The blunt truth is we went to sleep and it would not be the last time that would happen in the game.

Just after the hour mark and the home side were down to 10 men, the reality though was that this didn't help us, they battened down the hatches got everyone behind the ball and the game would follow a similar pattern for the last half an hour, they defended in numbers and we tried our best to break them down, we almost did on a couple of occasions, the best chance of which was Nathan Redmond hitting the bar, but they were well organised and we didn't trouble the keeper half as much as we should have.

They nearly snatched it in injury time when we went to sleep again and let Holding have a free header which rebounded off the bar, that would have been a travesty, but it should serve as a reminder of why we are the side who have given away the most points from winning positions this season, we lose concentration too often at key moments.

That leaves us with a feeling of if only, points dropped in this game and indeed when we through away a 2-0 lead against Manchester United have cost us dearly, if we had stayed switched on just in these two games we would now sit top of the league, of course we can't turn back the clock but we can learn from our mistakes and last night showed that we are still a work in progress and still a player or two short of genuinely being able to stay the distance.

The good news is that we dominated last night without playing well, Danny Ings was off the pace for a lot of the game and at times he was far from alone, we are still architects of our own downfall too often, but then again that can be said about virtually every side this season.

But we can't complain about our League position, we will finish the first third of the season in 3rd place, the pundits salivate over Tottenham Hotspur & Mourinho, but we are only a point behind them, they talk of Leicester and their title challenge yet we are level pegging with them.

That's the way we need to keep it, let the pundits rave about about the other teams and we can quietly get on with our job.

But all the hard work of the last 13 games is no good if we don't keep it up, it is about maintaining that 4.5 points every 3 game average, over the last 3 games we have got 7 points, over the last 6 we have achieved 11 points so we are ahead of the game, but defeat to Manchester City on Saturday will make the last 3 games only 4 points and the last 6 only 8, that highlights how tight it is in the top 10 and how quickly things can change from being ahead of the game to playing catch up.

We start this weekend's fixtures in 3rd place, but we could end them as low as 8th, we need to just keep on grinding out the results and see where it takes us.

Some people would usually say that Xmas is the time to look at the table and that period sorts out the men from the boys, that is usually the case, but this season started a month late, we are 4 games behind schedule, when we have played Leicester on the weekend of 16th January that is the time we should be able to tell what we are contending for in the second half of the season.

We have given ourselves a great chance so far, let's not blow it and let's not get too carried away, as I say we are still a work in progress.

Photo: Action Images



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saint22 added 09:33 - Dec 17
It wasn’t aubameyang our defenders stood off it was sako anyone failed to tackle
3

underweststand added 09:33 - Dec 17
We finished 1-1 after 30 minutes against 10 men ..disappointed ? ..a bit, but there have been times when we have played better and lost against Arsenal and many times when we would have been overjoyed to come away with just one point.
In the past, it was Giroud who was our nemisis in these games, now it is Aubameyany and he took the one good chance he had. Sadly the same cannot be said about the returning Redmond and Ings. Although they are fully match-fit, they both seemed to be "a bit rusty" and in former days both would have found themselves on the scoresheet.
But in the end it was a point, we are still 3rd in the Prem. and teams around us are losing points whilst we are still plugging on. We move on ...and it's Man.City on Saturday and I'd be happy to take one point from that game - right now .
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MRHALL93 added 09:48 - Dec 17
I agree with what you've written the red card might've been the best thing for Arsenal, we became the more on top after they scored there goal and the game was a lot more open. Then after the red card, this allowed them to just sit back and make their penalty area compact. And we got sucked into this system, Ings and Adams barely touched the ball after the red card. It's still a big weakness in our game, being able to break down a compact team. I think Ralph will look at this game and try to figure what we could've done different, it's not often a team will go down to 10 men and play for a draw, so there's a lot to learn. The only thing we might've done retrospectively is swap Romeu for Stephens, which would have allowed Vestergaard to be a target man for Stephen's to hit.

But most teams in the Premier League would've struggled to beat the 10 man Arsenal yesterday, we need to give some credit to their organisation.

It is still very tight at the top, looking at teams form, no team has really got a constant streak going. We could go either way on Saturday, I'm not too sure what we can do to beat City. The home fans will be a great addition to help us out.
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Flamingbankers added 09:52 - Dec 17
I'm almost 60 years old and that was the first time in my life that I felt we could and should have beaten Arsenal. So the result, for me, was disappointing. Even though a point was OK, I feel we weren't creative enough. Armstrong, the key creative player in the team, had a poor first half and I feel we really need a strong, creative midfielder, a class above what we already have - not easy to find I know. I'd say we need to give Diallo a go sooner than later. Ings was even more off the pace than in the Brighton game and clearly needs more game time - 60 minutes in the 'B' team would be a good idea if possible. Central defence played well - Vestergaard and Bednarek. Bertrand was a bit laboured and casual at times, KWP played well moving forward but his defending allows other teams to exploit the left-hand side too easily - although usually poorly supported by the right wing back who, with this formation, is always desperately chasing back when we're defending (whoever it is). All sides clearly exploit that area of the pitch and so far we haven't found any solution - it's far to easy to find a player there who can cut in and create havoc. Sterling will probably be a good example on Saturday. Onwards and upwards? We can improve.
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erick added 10:26 - Dec 17
I feel with arsenal's 10 men we could have spread them wider, by our fullbacks staying out wide and wingers just outside the box. Ings could have done more with his movement. In this game I wish we had 5 subs to bring in the likes of Tella.
0

dirk_doone added 11:38 - Dec 17
We only used 2 of our subs. I don't understand why we didn't bring on N'Lundulu for the last 10 minutes. Exactly 2 years ago, Ralph brought on Austin to replace a tiring Danny Ings, and he scored the winning goal.
1

IanRC added 11:38 - Dec 17
Yes feels like a disappointment but a measure of how far we have come. Shame Walcott lept in at Sako at the start of his run as otherwise WP would probably have snuffed out the danger but that distracted him letting Sako get away. Agree wholeheartedly FlamingBankers hope we can get a win against City. Says something when it is a major disappointment that Liverpool got another late winner.
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bornonthemiltonroad added 12:12 - Dec 17
Agree that the disappointment I felt last night does say how well we’re playing and the expectation that brings. I haven’t shouted at the TV that much for ages as I did in the last 20 minutes, what I found frustrating was that our skilful front players kept bashing away from wide areas time and again without success. Not once did any of them have the intelligence to collect the ball with back to goal in a more central area to try and draw a foul, it seemed so obvious to me. We have at our disposal the best exponent of a free kick in the PL, just a quick word from the tactical box surely to try something different. Maybe we’re not used to dominating games just yet and this new found confidence will progress into clever and more intricate tactics in time. Loving the way they’re fizzing the ball around in triangles to play out from the back, it’s all very exciting and emotive watching. COYS
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SanMarco added 12:12 - Dec 17
Nick's article about Romeu's 4 yellows came to mind with their goal. I reckon he would normally have 'taken one for the team' but instead he ushered him on through.

I was more disappointed, in a sense, with the first half an hour than with the last period after the red card. Arsenal were there for the taking after we scored but we didn't go for the jugular and allowed them back into it in the middle third of the game.

Having said that it is rather nice to be disappointed with a draw at Arsenal - yes we should have won but Man City didn't beat West Brom did they?!
3

Colburn added 12:21 - Dec 17
Ralph bottled it again against a big team who were lost and clueless. Had control of the game and then 5 mins before half time handed the impetus to Arsenal, telling them that we didn't want to hurt them anymore, so Arsenal grew in confidence as the half ended. We did the same v United. This continued into the second half until we conceded the usual goal we always do and threw away a lead which should have been more than a goal. Arsenal were there for the taking, yet again Ralph didn't sense this and then played out a draw against the ten lost men.. It is no wonder we have lost 44 points from winning positions. Ralph is amazing but it is very frustrating to watch him make the same mistakes and expect a different outcome. Stop belittling our ability to win against the big 6 Ralph! Stop showing them all too much respect, sense the moment. Other teams do, why can't we? We wouldn't beat Liverpool 7-2 because we would stop attacking and it would end 4-4.. Ralph says these are the games we want to challenge ourselves with, then bottles it when we're winning and controlling the game. Fair enough against City but not a poor Arsenal. Disappointing mentality but as all have said, we are in the top 3! Of course it means nothing now but if we want to finish top 6, we can't play out draws with fluffy passing against teams at the bottom who are down to ten men..
1

Colburn added 12:24 - Dec 17
And where was N'Lundulu..? They lost their best header of the ball in Gabriel and camped, so some tall men in the box might have helped. The ideal chance for Dan and he didn't get on the pitch.?? Don't understand....
6

mgprobert added 13:25 - Dec 17
A few of our team were below par, but to come away from playing Arsenal away, dissapointed with a draw, and in third place - come on!
4

davidargyll added 16:32 - Dec 17
I’ve said this before but what is it about most of you on here? Such a load of moaning minnies. Always complaining about everything and not giving anything like enough praise for what we achieved. Yesterday Theo scored a great goal after a terrific through pass from Che. And NR almost hit the wordwork. At the same time Sako made a superb and I reckon almost unstoppable run through four of our guys for Aubamayang to score and they also hit the bar. So give credit where credit is due; If say Danny had done such a skilful bit of work to lay off to Theo to score we would have called it the goal of the season.
Frankly the score yesterday could have been 1-1 2-1 1-2 or 2-2. Arsenal with that amount of talent is going to get going at some stage and maybe they started it yesterday. So for us to come away with a point I think is fantastic.
But as I have said before ffs we are doing incredibly well, punching well above our weight and are playing some really watchable football.
Please please please can people start being more generous to how well we are playing and stop banging on about all our cock ups. Being a fan is about support, not continual criticism. SO COME ON YOU LOT, BE THANKFUL FOR HOW WELL WE ARE DOING AND GIVE THE GUYS AND RALPH A BREAK
5

wibbersda added 17:01 - Dec 17
The Arsenal Hoodoo continues!
1

AmericanSaint added 17:52 - Dec 17
"davidargyll" is spot one. In the beginning of the season if you pointed at this game and said you will get a point, we all would have taken it and run. Yes they were there for the taking but Nick hit is on the head that after the red card, they became compact and very well organized. It is the same thing we did against MC last year when we went one up. Yes it was frustrating, but such is the game. I also agree that no everyone was having a great game for us, so let's not get to wound up and bash everyone. Sorry Colburn but you have it all wrong. RH didnt let up before or after the half. Arsenal started playing to their level. It became a much more open game and we again gave the ball up to easily in midfield which allowed them to counter attack. Everyone has their opinion but I think you have this one all wrong. If anything RH has finally been able to put some belief in this team that we can win games against any team. We have not had this since RC or MP. Let's all get together and push the team to higher levels. I will be screaming at my tv every game this year in the belief they guys can here me and it will boost them. LOL COYR.
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