It’s All Your Fonte – Saints Pay Ultimate Penalty

Arsenal 2 – 1 Southampton

Three points are three points. Arsène rolled the dice ahead of Tuesday’s trip to Paris and escaped with a win. It doesn’t matter – from our point of view – whether it was soft, whether or not those decisions are given in other games. The ref gave it yesterday and Santi Cazorla buried it. Straight down the middle; nerves of steel.

Three points which with other results, proved most welcome. It was far from a convincing performance from the team. There was a hint of the post-international break about it; passes fluctuated between good and ‘goodness me, what happened there?’

Positives? Of course. Shkodran Mustafi settled well, look pretty comfortable and there were signs that he and Laurent Koscielny will be a decent partnership. The Frenchman’s goal; what can you say – it was sublime technique, particularly for a centre back. Others have suggest it might have been disallowed for dangerous play but unless the boot makes contact with a head, how can anything be dangerous?

Southampton will feel aggrieved. They had the early luck when Tadic’s free-kick found the net via Cech’s back. That after he had made a fine save to touch it onto the bar. Sometimes it just isn’t your day. But Long was fouled in the build-up to the penalty and most referees would have stopped the game for Koscielny’s head injury just before the penalty was awarded.

The game was a familiar tale of possession; pass, pass, pass, but there was a lack of end product. A lot of that was down to the Saints defending; (un)timely interceptions cut a pass or cross out, all too often for Lucas Perez’s liking. The Spaniard tried hard and never stopped running but ultimately, it was a solid début. A hint of promise but the epitome of the team performance.

Granit Xhaka and Alexis were rested, along with Olivier Giroud who joined the fray in the second half. I expect the trio to begin in Paris. We missed the former pair particularly, with the fluency of the Swiss international’s passing particularly missed.

Alexis involvement was welcome. Oxlade-Chamberlain tried hard but failed to deliver. It’s becoming a theme of his play, suggesting that he has a confidence issue which is affecting him. Wenger needs to work on that because as much as I like him, as much as I think he can be a great player in the future, his self-doubt, self-criticism, is hindering his progress

Arsène summed up what we all thought afterwards:

It’s a relief. When you lose your first home game, you cannot afford to drop points in the second home game because it creates a little bit of anxiety at home and that’s not what we really want. In the second half I felt we dominated well again and created many dangerous situations but couldn’t score.

We need to get those answers to the scoring problem sorted. Quickly. Others – United, City, Chelsea – are in form, showing their title credentials. Tottenham are hitting a groove, Liverpool showed that they can do so as well. Whilst that pair have shown the capacity to crumble over the years, we have to stop relying on others weaknesses and build on our strengths.

Last year’s second place was gifted in the end; Tottenham chose to collapse once their title chances went south – or north if you have a geographic OCD inclination. You might argue that we timed our run to perfection but that stretches the point and we know it.

That’s the nagging doubt. We have yet to hit our stride, not shown any sign of fluency in our. There’s a valid point to argue that international break and the summer tournaments have impacted negatively. Introducing two new players into the team yesterday also influenced the performance but I would expect more cohesion from the team if there were genuine title pretensions. I don’t think there are, as I’ve said before, and a lot of hard work lies ahead if the top four is to be achieved.

The pairing of Cazorla and Coquelin worked well in tandem but Xhaka adds a different dimension as we saw at Watford. In a game such as yesterday, it’s difficult to break down the opposition who were well-drilled in their defensive duties, with a predictable style.

Things move up a notch with a regular flow of games over the next four weeks or so and we may solve some of those issues in that time. We’ll certainly have a better idea of the team’s capabilities at the end of this spell and where the work needs to be done to make this a (relatively) successful season.

’til Tomorrow.

 

43 thoughts on “It’s All Your Fonte – Saints Pay Ultimate Penalty

  1. Adam sinfh says:

    Surprised You didn’t mention Shane Long’s disgraceful attempt to cheat when he went down clutching his face after Monreal had cleared the ball and was no where near him.

  2. Dexter says:

    3 points and two new players completed their debuts. Southampton are a bit of a bogey team. One win in six before yesterday. So I’ll take that. A last minute penalty to win it felt sooo good!

    I’
    Especially as we’ve been denied so many clear pens!

    The team will improve as they play more together.

  3. nicky says:

    Yogi,
    An encouraging post. The vital ingredient now is bonding. The spine of the team, if all the newbies play, has been amended possibly like no other during Arsene’s tenure.
    I’ve already seen some hypercritical fault-finding of Perez after just one hour of his first battle in an Arsenal shirt.
    It’s going to take time and patience and the sooner this is realised and accepted by all who follow Arsenal FC, the better it will be. 😉

  4. Dexter says:

    There’s been way too much nit picking and knee jerk reactions. It’s a shame how eager to criticise some are.

  5. C says:

    Good stuff Yogi with hints of optimism mixed with reality.

    I think there were certainly encouraging signs, our back 4 looked solid and Cech showed some life. Le Coq put in a shift and whilr he doesn’t offer the range of passing added with the steel, it is good that he worked his socks off and did his Le Coq thing yesterday. Santi was sublime and Ozil showed flashes but looked like a rest was needed or at least a quick recharge.

    I agree Perez showed and I thought he was growing more and more influential but was then subbed off. I also thought that when Sanchez came on he brought a good spark as did Iwobi.

    Giroud is and should be our Dzeko.

  6. Paulie Walnuts says:

    Whilst we had some good fortune I`m sure that will even itself out over the season.

    Any win has to be good for confidence & great to see Santi holding his nerve with the penalty.

    I suspect that the Ox (like Theo) is a little too nice for such a cut throat business – he needs to bring a bit of `f&ck you` into his personality or else his career is going to really suffer. He needs to relax & let instinct take over rather than over think stuff …those split seconds are decisive. I`d love to see him taking people on & shooting more as I`m sure he can do it.

  7. SV says:

    Anyone still thinking de Bruyn was overpriced?

    Would you even care about the price tag if your player set up an away win at ManU?

  8. SV says:

    Wenger:
    >>>When you lose your first home game, you cannot afford to drop points in the second home game because it creates a little bit of anxiety at home and that’s not what we really want.

    I thought his job at this stage was to win games, avoiding to fall too far behind the leaders. But he thinks it’s more about pacifying the home crowd, and points are secondary.

  9. andy1886 says:

    Nicky, I haven’t seen any criticism of Perez and I wouldn’t expect to. It sounds like he had a decent debut and showed promise which is fine by me. If he hasn’t found his groove after six months or so maybe we can ask questions but it’s far, far too early to do so yet. I hope he does well.

    A good summary there YW. As I said yesterday this game was like many over the last two or three seasons, with the same good points (decent in possession) and the same not so good points (lack of incisiveness, over playing). Where we really are as a team will only become evident when the new players settle in (which is why buying early and letting them have a good preseason is so important).

    If AW believes that he has brought the right players to the club then now it’s down to him to fashion them into a title winning team, the question is can he really do that or will it be that regardless of the personnel on the pitch it’s a case of the ‘same old Arsenal’?

  10. Jonny says:

    Knee-jerk reactions from jerk people and their jerk minds is the hallmark of social media and the attention-seeking corporate owned MSM. Thinly veiled agendas and transparent bias abound.

    Perez looked decent but was playing in far too deep a position – he did not occupy the strikers money areas. AW has to do some managing to correct that. If he fails to encourage and make that tactical change then it will prove an utter waste of a signing. I believe AW is not so naive or past it that he will not have made mental note and will quickly make amends.

    Oxpot is totally bereft of confidence but I still fundamentally believe in him. Keep giving him bench space and use him as a domestic cup starter. He has a season to prove the faithful among us right. Otherwise he should be moved on.

  11. HenryB says:

    A very good Post, Yogi, with an apt assessment.

    The early season games, especially with the international games now thrown in by the FIFA morons, are not the best time to judge teams or players, and any right minded person will say thank you to three points, even if the performance was not yet top hole.

    Many is the time that we have played well in similar circumstances only to be beaten by an undeserved goal, so I am more than pleased with that result and bollix to those doubting whether or not it was deserved. Who cares? Another three points in the bank – count them. 😀

  12. Aaron says:

    Couple of points:
    Bel missed a goal by a about 5 inches.
    Perez had a shot desperately blocked that was on target as did Ox.
    Xhaka would have controlled the game better than Coq, but Arsene is most likely saving him for PSG.
    Liked that Theo was being a little hornet, and if he can’t win the ball back then give’em hell from too far out to allow for a decent free kick.
    Perez will come good, he needed service and Mesut was way off yesterday, but will not be that way often.
    Ox needs to just relax when on the ball and fiz a couple of crosses low across the box, and get a bit nasty when he can win the ball back on D.
    Looking forward to the next game.

  13. Gunnerjoe says:

    Paulie Walnuts,

    As it so often does it all evens out in the end is a load rubbish we get a stone wall penalty and it’s lucky Arsenal.
    They get a free kick from a tackle which never happened they then score a goal from rebound off the back of our goalkeeper from this free kick.
    Maybe the fact that Arsenal get a penalty it’s us being lucky.

  14. MesutsLeftFoot says:

    Adam sinfh,

    I’m surprised no one did….

    I thought all in all, considering it’s a team we generally struggle against and they set up very defensively we did quite well to control. Lucky to win, true but there’s an element of luck in everything. Chelsea’s first two wins had far more controversy but that wasn’t mentioned on MOTD either

    To look at the bench and see Alexis (finally getting some rest), Xhaka, El Neny, Iwobi and Giroud all available it’s quite encouraging depth. Spurs will struggle i can’t see their midfield of Dier, Deli Ali and Erickson all being tip top once champions league, FA cup and international friendlies all kick in especially since they are all starters internationally as well.

    Ramsey once back will also bring something to the table, the midfield has so many possible combinations we really should be bossing games with the correct tactical approach.

    Perez looks lively, but i’m hating this drifting out wide business, someone needs to tell him he’s playing up top and not on the wing, there was at times no one in the box but Ox who as we know isn’t exactly a proficient finisher. Thought Alexis and Giroud brought a lot when introduced

  15. MesutsLeftFoot says:

    Gunnerjoe,

    I personally thought it was a penalty, i don’t understand why on MOTD they said it clearly wasn’t, he pulled girouds top and took him to the ground…..

  16. C says:

    Jonny,

    I think as the match grew he found himself more and more in those positions, see his blocked shot and then his blocked header. Actually excited to see he abd Sanchez together because of their movement both on and off the ball.

    I do wonder if it is confidence with Ox or that he is simply an inconsistent player. The danger with Ox is that Iwobi has shown himself to be quite a player and with Ramsey returning, somebody doesn’t make the bench. Will be an interesting battle between Iwobi and Ox with Theo finding some form again on thr RW.

  17. MesutsLeftFoot says:

    C,

    I think Iwobi looks far more direct, there’s something dinkey about him and he’s always looking to move forward, i feel Ox and Jack’s problem is they did that at first as well, but eventually stopped and starting doing this passing backwards and sideways and taking the pace out of the game.

    for me, i think Alexis, Perez and Theo/Iwobi as a top three could destroy some defences. Especially if Xhaka and Santi are in midfield with their vision and passing skills.

    That’s the front three i think would cause the most damage in Champs league

  18. C says:

    I also think people that are saying Perez isn’t a striker after one match needs to hold off a bit and lets wait until Sanchez is played with him.

    Again stylistically he isn’t Gieoud so whipping in crosses high doesn’t make sense unless they are spot on. Lets see how he does with Sanchez and the real Ozil playing with him along with Xhaka.

  19. MesutsLeftFoot says:

    C,

    The days of Girouds are going, the old fashioned number nine is starting to disappear anyway.

    I think you’re right and once Perez and Sanchez start to play together it’ll be interesting

  20. C says:

    Can I just say, Cahill is shit and Luiz is an upgrade.

  21. C says:

    MesutsLeftFoot,

    Not necessarily the old fashioned #9 but I think uts more the pivot strikers. Even clubs like Leicester that play with 2 strikers have both strikers that are mobile and can create their own. There is still a place for then but not as a CF1 unless you have something more like Ibra or even Cavani type.

    Sanchez/Perez/ and one of Theo or Iwobi is really exciting to think about and I think the way forward.

  22. C says:

    MesutsLeftFoot,

    The difference for me is that Iwobi is more technically gifted and has better close control so he is able to dribble out of situations where Ox hasn’t developed so he still relies on pace and power but when its not on, he doesn’t have the end product to make the correct pass and maybe its inconsistency or confidence but since he can’t he goes backwards where Iwobi has it and makes it.

    Tend to agree and with a midfield consisting of some combination of Ozil, Santi, Xhaka, Elneny and Ramsey(when he keeps it simple and plays for the team) that front 3 will rip teams to pieces.

  23. MesutsLeftFoot says:

    C,

    What’s behind them interests me as well: Xhaka, Santi, Ramsey, Coq, El Nen, Ozil so many ways to set up the midfield. I think Xhaka, Ozil and Santi with Ozil in front of Santi and Xkaha with a front three of Sanchez, Perez and Theo/Iwobi potentially mouthwatering.

    And Mustafi with Kos has a lot of potential, both quick, both can tackle and Mustafi did something i’ve not heard over the TV in ages and that’s to shout and organise players. His ability to cover RB and allow Bellerin to use his pace also opens a lot of doors for us.

  24. MesutsLeftFoot says:

    If everyones bored go check out my local teams keeper setting some records…Dundee Uniteds Cammy Bell saving three first half penalties and going on to win 3-1

  25. MesutsLeftFoot says:

    C,

    My worry with Iwobi is they don’t coach that out of him….His direct play causes defences to shift out of position and like you said players like Sanches and Perez with pace are there to exploit.

    Giroud still has a huge place to play as well, against teams like Man u who having Ibra etc i would expect him to start so he can contain the beast at corners.

    Having said that, Otemendi isn’t huge and did a good job. City showed United papered over same cracks in the summer, but not very well. Pace hurts them and if you can contain the wingers they rely very much on Ibra magic

  26. MesutsLeftFoot says:

    MesutsLeftFoot:
    C,

    My worry with Iwobi is they don’t coach that out of him….His direct play causes defences to shift out of position and like you said players like Sanches and Perez with pace are there to exploit.

    Giroud still has a huge place to play as well, against teams like Man u who having Ibra etc i would expect him to start so he can contain the beast at corners.

    Having said that, Otemendi isn’t huge and did a good job. City showed United papered over same cracks in the summer, but not very well. Pace hurts them and if you can contain the wingers they rely very much on Ibra magic

    Sorry…my worry is the DO coach it out of him…

  27. oduduwa says:

    let move to the next game. I am cautiously optimitic about winning something tangible this season.

  28. C says:

    MesutsLeftFoot,

    Yup, the lineup I want to see is:

    Cech
    Bellerin—-Mustafi—–Kos——Nacho
    ————–Xhaka——Santi——–
    ——————–Ozil—————–
    Theo or Iwobi——Perez—–Sanchez

    Good balance with a mixture of street fighters in Perez, Sanchez, Xhaka, Mustafi and Kos couple with players like Bellerin, Nacho and Santi who always put in a shift defensively.

  29. Columbus Arsenal (MA) says:

    Yogi, I would imagine Liverpool and Spuds share the sentiment lack the their teams leave nagging doubts. As good as both were yesterday they also have the Arsenal matches where they simply do white. The penalty was fortunate, but then so was Wanyama staying on the pitch, or the handball not given against City or the penalty on Rooney, such is football.

  30. MesutsLeftFoot says:

    I don’t know how Costa get’s away week in week out with his nonsense….He’s like the horrible disruptive kid in class who seems to get warnings all the time but no action.

    Kos hopefully puts him in his place when we need them next

  31. santori says:

    Chelsea in form.:D

    Dropped points.

    Swans.

    The usual media waffle.

    No easy games.

    Still all to play for

    Early in the season.

    Did I mentioned dropped points?

    😀

  32. C says:

    MesutsLeftFoot,

    I hope they don’t either but it actually seems Arsene might want more with the additions of Perez and Sanchez, so Iwobi should be fine.

    Giroud does have a role to play but Mustafi and even Xhaka could do a job, its not about, IMHO out jumping players like Ibra, but putting them off so they don’t get a free header, having that bit of fight in the air.

  33. Ak says:

    Traditional #9s are very much a part of the game, in the Euros Spain and Germany struggled due to lack of a CF yet they boast of a wealth of class…whether they score or not i think they still are key…when it mattered portugal’s CF got the goal

  34. santori says:

    I mean lest the media forget, it took Koscielny the greater part of a season to settle. In interim, plenty of red cards and own goals abound.

    But that was a different far less complete team that Wenger had. He has assembled more experience and capability and seems to have finally learnt his lesson not to neglect the back line.

    ON evidence of yesterday’s performance (Mustafi):

    1) He’s positioning is good.

    2) He isn’t getting in early enough with his jumps for headers and not yet convincing in this department. Per is of course strong in this regard should we have to face old fashion Stoke teams

    3) I think Wenger also considered his Rback ability not just bc he can back up Bellerin but when he plays, he naturally bias to the right which allows Bellerin to bomb forward.

    4) He is aggressive. Came out to take the initiative to tackle high up. In that he would have learnt that if he mistimes it, its hard to recover given pace of PL but it is a good lesson for him.

    Money well spent. we can’t afford to much around at the back without Per (and Gabriel yet to be fully complete)

    As far as Perez was concern :

    He did not get as many touches but he is recently adjusted to a central role from the wings with good success.

    Now he will have to get use to pace of the PL (he looks half a step behind but should get to speed in time)

    Link up was good once he got a better sync of his own players movement and timing (some mislaid back heels at first but completed later on)

    What I like about him is he is more technical than Vardy (prob a blessing we did not get the England man). We are going to play him in congestion so he (and the team) will need to get use to finding the fine lines in between the tight defenses. Technical ability will help.

    Perez will realise we play less on the counter and will have to develop a more fox in the box instinct.

    Again its not a question of who starts. We will need BOTH Perez and Giroud as options. Unless we are dogmatic, we will have to use them as different tools to unlock defenses. Where Giroud may be preferred to bully teams into opening up at times, we can also play Perez as an option to catch them on the break later on or start him to work their gaps should they be a more adventurous disposition. Vice versa.

    As for the Ox, I think criticism is amplified much like th sort we saw on Giroud, indeed the excellent Per and Flamini.

    Yes he has his issues and his final product still needs a bit of ‘calming down’ (He’s trying too hard IMO)

    But he kept the ball well, takes people on, gets involved and is able to add a dynamic to our play being able to beat 2 players either by skill or speed.

    And I thought he did OK.

    certainly when you consider Walcott tended to get rated higher in the game had the fewest touches, you begin to wonder if people are a little cooped up by their own pre-conceived perceptions. I saw praise on Iwobi who misplaced two passes.

    I think its important not to get caught up in once own rethoric and watch the game again to have a more settled head.

    Team still a bit off sync but we go to PSG now and hopefully we can get something from it.

    Expect Granit to start, probably Santi in midfield. Certainly Ozil, Alexis.

    I would think we are better off starting Giroud because of familiarity at the moment and bring Perez on later.

    The other flank is a toss up between Walcott, Ox and Iwobi.

    back 4 will be largely the same.

    COYG

  35. Ak says:

    I hope that Perez will hit 20+ goals but just to be cautious he has only hit double digits in the league once (last season), but monreal was a nonentity when he signed and he is now a solid lB for arsenal, fingers crossed for Perez

  36. MesutsLeftFoot says:

    Ak,

    Yeah, few players come into league and make a consistent impact.

    Champs league games help bed in Perez etc but i think Xkaha already looks comfortable, he’s a natural leader in midfield imo. I think Mustafi and Kos will have their shakey moments but in large grow into a solid force. I still think Gabriel brings a lot to the table as well, Per i like in team purely as he seems to life the players moral.

    Santi seems to be the missing peice of our puzzle a lot of the time, if he learnt to shoot when in the box he’d probably hit 15 goals a season haha!

  37. C says:

    Ak,

    #9’s will always be apart of futbol, what we were speakinf about is the style of that #9. Giroud is a target/pivot type, those are not the style of CF that you find or stylistically in my opinion are what you want(never really what I liked personally) let alone we have seen at Arsenal. Some will point to Kanu and Adebayor but they were anything but “target men”, more big mobile strikers.

    Don’t want to seem like I’m attacking Giroud because as I said and have said, he is a brilliant CF2 because he works well in short bursts and seems motivated by not starting or when he isn’t guaranteed a place.

  38. Ak says:

    MesutsLeftFoot,

    santi got 12 in his first season don’t know what happened there, CB i don’t think we will struggle, it will be down to form, fitness and tactics in that position. As for xhaka i think he has self belief and has played at a high level since an early age, i believe he won the under 17 world cup for country plus any i think midfielders find it easier to gell with teammates, thats my opinion

  39. Ak says:

    Cazorla got 12 in his first season don’t know what happened there, CB i don’t think we will struggle, it will be down to form, fitness and tactics in that position. As for xhaka i think he has self belief and has played at a high level since an early age, i believe he won the under 17 world cup for country plus any i think midfielders find it easier to gell with teammates, IMO

  40. Ak says:

    C,
    you make some points but for arsenal we need both type of strikers, for a target big man you have to give Giroud points for his flair, i also believe we just need more goal scorers in the team that just relying on one guy, Perez for me is important because he may help ease the pressure off Giroud rather than motivate him, if you look at big teams or title winning sides goals are spread, last time city won the league Aguero top scored but yaya got 20; bayern,barca and real have different guys scoring in different matches or even in the same match, point is you need diffferent options more than a one certified goalscorer, lei-vardy,mahrez; chelsea-costa,hazard;bayern-lewy,muller e.t.c

  41. MesutsLeftFoot says:

    Ak,

    Just seems like a natural leader when he’s playing.

    I see the critics are coming down hard on Pogba after another lacklustre performance, knew they would. I said two season ago, he’s overrated for what he brings to the table. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a brilliant footballer, but at Juve they let him do what he wanted because Juve were set up to allow it with a ferocious defence and Pirlo dictating play, the problem is he doesn’t seem to have a set position so he started going forward and attacking more since Juve had such utter dominance in a timid Serie A, not really highly competitive or fast paced league i mean go check his stats, he’s not dominant in attacking or defensive stats. He hasn’t developed into one position, which works for players who’s manager can allow for it, but now he’s in a team where Jose is implementing strict tactics everyone has to adhere too and alas, he’s struggling with the shackles. If he was clever and not thinking about the money, Barca or Real would have suited him much, much better.

    Very rarely does Alex Ferguson get rid of a player who could be the best in the world. He’s made obvious mistakes, but i don’t think Pogba was one of them.

Comments are closed.

Scroll Up
%d bloggers like this: