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Southampton 1 v 0 Arsenal
FA Cup
Saturday, 23rd January 2021 Kick-off 12:00
Southampton V Arsenal The FA Cup Verdict
Saturday, 23rd Jan 2021 14:50

This was a true Spirit Of Southampton win where we had literally had our only 11 fit first team regulars in the starting line up, but we came out of the blocks well, dominated the first half and then dug in as our legs tired and ground out the result.

The starting line up for Saints was still strong even without the injured Redmond, Djenepo, Vestergaard & Romeu, all of whom have played their part this season, especially the latter two.

The bench didn't make such happy reading, Shane Long aside the most experienced player was Yan Valery with around 30 games for the club, the other 7 subs had around 15 games between them and most of those appearances were substitute appearances.

But Saints started well and got into their stride, they were creating the chances and pushing Arsenal back and when the goal came after 24 minutes it was no surprise, it was a great build up a fine overlap by Kyle Walker Peters and a shot that put the ball into the danger area, it was credited to Gabriel, but truthfully it should be given to KWP.

At the break we were comfortable and at the start of the 2nd half we were the ones most likely to score, but as the game approached the hour mark, Arsenal brought on fresh legs and we really had no options that early in the half to do the same.

We needed everyone to run themselves into the ground and they did, but it did mean we were pushed back, but we battled like Trojans and Fraser Forster had little to do in our goal, but what he did do he did well and it has to be said, 3 appearances and 3 clean sheets, two of them against Liverpool & Arsenal is testament to how hard he has worked to get his confidence back.

The last 30 minutes were not pretty to watch, Danny Ings was pushed back into the midfield, not tactically but by necessity, how we would have loved to have brought on Oriol Romeu, Nathan Redmond or Moussa Djenepo for fresh legs, but we had literally no one tried and trusted.

With 12 minutes to go off went Adams and on came N 'Lundulu to chase and harass and then with 5 mins to go on came Long for Ings.

The truth is we weathered the storm and in the last 5 minutes Shane Long was the perfect fit. he won the ball drew free kicks and took the sting out of the game, so much so that the Gunners failed to get up a head of steam in the final minutes to try and snatch extra time.

James Ward Prowse was the man of the match on TV and you won't find many arguments, but if he was a 9/10 all of his team mates were not far behind him, we showed what we can do as a side in the first hour and in the final 30 minutes we showed our never say die spirit.

Strangely (Not) the TV commentary was all about Arsenal in the last half an hour, how they were getting on top, not one BT pundit whether commentating or in the studio, mentioned how thin our team were and gave us credit for how our starting XI had to run themselves silly to get into the last 15 minutes where we could risk a sub or two.

A very satisfying win, hopefully we might have a player or two back for the Premier League game in a few days time when we do it all again.

Photo: Action Images

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davidargyll added 15:16 - Jan 23
I got the distinct impression from the off that Arsenal were not really taking this tie seriously, regardless of who they had in their line-up and they and Arteta were massively overconfident. Whereas we were determined to take the game to them and treat it seriously. And my God it showed in H1 but as you said Nick, they started to try a bit harder in H2 only to find to their horror that we simply wouldn’t roll over.
Good points I thought particularly were that
1. We seemed to use the RHS much more which of course which was where the goal came from.
2. Much more shooting from outside the box rather than forever trying to charge through the middle.
3. Theo’s tackling back was fantastic.
4. Che seemed to be getting more back to his old self but is just missing that final bit of skill.
5. FF was terrific in goal, and brought off one terrific save that kept them out.
Funny how as you said all the comments seem to be how disappointing Arsenal were rather than how good we wereI The fact remains that we didn’t allow them to play and, despite (tongue in cheek) calls now for Arteta out and Wenger back, the manager wasn’t at fault, his players were simply played off the park. We played as a team, all for one etc, they didn’t. Nuff said.

aceofthebase added 15:21 - Jan 23
On my stream it was 48 minutes before the inevitable mention of last years defeat. It gets funnier the more it is mentioned

A good performance but we did tire in the last 20 minutes. A wise move to sub Ings tho I was hoping we would not go into extra time. Long did alright in his own way but I was hoping that Valery would be picked to help out in midfield and also to brighten up the rare attacks.

Wolves is going to be a walkover Let's get to Wembley but a pity, I, alongside many others, will not be there.

SaintPaulVW added 15:47 - Jan 23
Big club bias seems to be getting worse. As you say the commentary was all about Arsenal for virtually the whole game. Keown even admitted on air that he hadn't read anything of the prep on the game. Speaks volumes about his professionalism and a pretty shameful admission. Obviously just there as an Arsenal cheerleader.

Based on this performance roll on Tuesday.


Peterx added 16:19 - Jan 23
Great to be a Saints fan and to be talking about recent Liverpool and Arsenal wins at home. Our defence has improved massively from even 6 months ago when Nketiah burgled one from memory.

Going forward we had strong chances and I have a feeling that the Ings attempt would have been "VARed" onside had the ball ended up in the net.

To me wrong that the pen was not given for the challenge on Long.

Great save from FF but nothing else really from the opposition who will be working hard on how they will do a better job on Tuesday. Will take a point from that one right now.

underweststand added 17:06 - Jan 23
Very impressive H1, and KWP deserved to have his name on the goal - if only for the effort he put in, but a good team game all round.
Jan and Jack playing their third game in a week (who else do we have ?) and I won't listen to criticism about them today, and thought Jan was excellent. Diallo may be a new face, but he shows up all over the pitch and looks better every game and works well with Prowsie (who was M.o.M...yet again).
The "slim-line " Forster looks more active and his third clean sheet in a row puts him in a good light as an alternative No.1 to Alex. Danny and Ché still looking for the "goal touch" again and might get back to form on Tuesday, now that they've faced the Arsenal defence already. Now onto Wolves next month.

1962saint added 21:58 - Jan 23
Just 4 games ago things were looking bleak with so many players out with injury and with difficult fixtures coming up. However, with many enforced changes, we have now beaten the League champions and the cup holders without conceding.
Without any new signings the squad suddenly looks much stronger. Diallo’s assured displays has made it uncertain that Romeu will return when fit. Stephens has filled in well for Vestergard and what about Fraser Forster! 3 games – 3 clean sheets.
When did he last concede a goal as a Saints player?

AirFlorida added 23:14 - Jan 23
The real match in on Tuesday. Great to win but Tuesday is the the proper test. I hate Arsenal more than any other team and was bitterly disappointed when we failed, with our best chance, to win at theirs since '87. Tuesday is the game that matters for me. Coys

AirFlorida added 23:24 - Jan 23
To add, I've always beem fan of FF- even when he had his haters. He's got a different style to Alex but he fills that goal with his size and doesn't flap - he's more of a stay on his line keeper and relies on his reflexes. Since he returned I've been banging the drum for his return. He's obviously still rusty but even so 3 clean sheets including against the champions and fa cup holders will only boost his confidence and performances. It's great to finally have two keepers fighting it out.

AmericanSaint added 00:18 - Jan 24
Good game all around, but I agree with all that we were holding on the last 15-20. We held well but our legs were shot. I think Stewie had a real good game and Diallo is fitting in very well. I like that he almost always turns up field when he receives the ball looking to attack. Ingsy was onside by a yard easy. <y only concern is with the youngster N'Lundulu who has a heavy first touch. It seemed almost every pass to him bounced 1 yard away from him after his touch. I am not trying to be critical, kust an observation that he needs to work on that cause he has the size to an excellent holder of the ball aka Pella. Well on to the next game. COYR.

halftimeorange added 08:25 - Jan 24
I don't think we can underestimate Forster's contribution yesterday. He did not look as though he would be beaten and moved smartly when he was tested. Just that occasional delay when moving the ball away. As for the rest well, there'll be some tired legs. The only player who wasn't at his best (to my mind) was Che. He doesn't seem quite right and was correctly subbed early. Arsenal will be a more difficult proposition next time. Saka will be on from the start and really needs to be kept quiet, rather like Mane was by KWP.

SanMarco added 12:36 - Jan 25
Good win - tomorrow will be tougher!

On the TV bias thing it is the habit of having the commentator's co-pilot as (nearly) always a Liverpool man for their games, Manure man for theirs and Arsenal for theirs - add to that the talking heads in the studio are heavily Liverpool and Manure and those particular three sides are the Sky/BT favourites. I can't believe it is a coincidence because not many of them are actually worth listening to!!

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