|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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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…
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