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A few thoughts on the Arsenal 6-1 Southampton league match

September 16, 2012

Beautiful lunchtime weather in which to make ones way (bit posh) over the Emirates to watch “the Arsenal”. Away shirt on for a home match and to borrow a quote from Will Smith “I make this look good”

Me and Son ready for game

Dropped off at Harlow Town by her indoors, stood on the platform waiting for train with all the other Gooners and they say this is a Spunts Town. The last 20 years has changed that, as new generations of people have grown up supporting the Arsenal. Also huge new housing estates (Church Langley and Newhall) have brought many Gooners to the town.

Arrived at Emirates about 2.15 and took our seats which today were situated Upper Tier, East Stand, with a great sideways view of the goal at the Clock End. Watching Santos warm up and boy does he have some tekkers… 2.30 the team is announced on the big screen by Mr. Wenger after being asked some stock questions about the Liverpool victory a few weeks back.

Szczesny, Jenkinson, Mertesacker, Vermaelen,  Gibbs, Coquelin, Arteta, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Cazorla, Podolski, Gervinho. Subs Walcott, Giroud, Ramsey, Mannone, Koscielny, Andre  Santos, Arshavin.

Szczesny back in-goal in place of Mannone, Coquelin to start in place of Diaby which is a bit of a surprise, but maybe the two games Ramsey played for Wales made Arsene’s decision for him. Giroud starting on the bench, however he said himself he was thinking he would start on bench after transfer. Gervinho to play down the middle… Wenger said “we turn our wingers into forwards and our forwards into wingers” How many clubs can put out that sort of subs bench and that not including Wilshere, Sagna, Diaby, Djourou, Rosicky.

The ground is slowly filling up, very slowly that around 2.55pm, I reckon there was about 30k on the terraces. That last five mins is when the terraces fill. Which is a pain as some late comers start arriving around 3.05 and you’re up and down like and tarts knickers.

It’s said that you can only beat what is put in front of you and today it was the new boys to the prem Southampton. Their fans below “you only have one song” Oh w…h…e…n  t…h…e.. S…a…i…n…t…s… g…o… m…a…r…c..h………………… you get the picture, gets a bit boring….

The game kicks off and for fives minutes it’s all pretty even, Arsenal feeling their way into the game. Then Arsenal start to take control with their passing becoming crisp, incisive almost telepathic between Podolski, Areta and Cazorla. Shots by Podolski (saved), Cazorla (high) Arteta (Blocked) and Gibbs (saved)

Goooooooooooooal!!!! Cazorla in the centre lays the ball to Podolski who has two players with him, he first loses the ball but sheer strength from him wins it back, strides forwards and lays a good ball in-between two Southampton players to Gibbs  who shoots and the ball goes in off Hooiveld for an OG…  1-0 to the Arsenal!

Own goals R us (1)

Cazorla-Gibbs-Gervinho-Podolski-Cazorla-Gibbs-Gerviho-Podolski-Gervinho and just as forehead is about to finish of a silky smooth passing move, the Southampton defender puts it our for a corner. Cazorla takes and floats the ball in, Davies flaps and the ball falls to Coquelin on the edge of the area, he looks like he is going to shoot but chips up a cross and there is the BFG who heads at goal and Davies makes a simple save.

Arsenal comfortable, playing some superb passing football with Cazorla, Arteta and Podolski at the heart of it.

Goooooooooooooal!!!! Arteta-Cazorla who crosses and the ball is headed out to Coquelin who take it out the air nicely and is hacked down by Davis for a free kick. Cazorla and Podolski line up to take it. From where I am sitting Podolski side on looks a cert to take it.  Podolski steps up, little back lift and plants a worldy of a shot past Davies into the net… What a goal. Watch Arteta on the reply mouthing WOW!!! as the players celebrate. 2-0 to the Arsenal!

“He scores when wants… He scores when he waaaaants… Lucas Podolski, he scores when he wants”… Echo’s round the Emirates…

Podolski Celebrates

Goooooooooooooal!!!! Mertersacker-Jenkinson-Chamberlain-Cazorla-Arteta-Gervinho pulls off defender and Arteta puts a dream pass right into his path where Gervinho lines up a shot and smashes it past Davies at the near post for 3-0 to the Arsenal! “Can we play you every week”

Gervinho scores

Goooooooooooooal!!!! Own goals R us!!! Gervinho-Podolski-Arteta-Cazorla-Podolski-Cazorla-Gervinho skips a challenge and lays the ball off wide to Gibbs who crosses and the ball flies in off the right foot of Clyne for an OG to make it 4-0 to the Arsenal! Sunny day, Arsenal 4-0 up  and the smiles around me make Emirates a great place to be.

Team celebrate Clyne’s own goals R Us (2)

There goes the clean sheet start to the season. Arsenal can’t get the ball way, a shot from Prowse is blocked by the Verminator and it falls to Puncheon who crosses high to the back post and what should be a simple catch for Szczesny is spilt by him and the ball falls nicely for Fox  to slam the ball left footed into the roof of the net 4-1. Szczesny had only just punched one away and he should have caught that cross easy, he could have just punched it clear if needed. Poor goal keeping.

HT 4-1…  Down onto the concourse to get the boy a foot long hotdog and coke.

Arsenal have started the second half – half asleep. Maybe being 4-1 up they took their foot of the gas and started to let Southampton play. None of the chasing down that was evident in the first half.  Ramirez tries a long-range shot that is scuffed and yet goes right across the area and falls nicely for Lambert who recently scored against both City and United should have scored against Arsenal, yet somehow puts it wide of Szczesny and wide of the far post. Lucky escape there, should have been 4-2.

Chamberlain (wide) Ramsey comes on for Coquelin.

Goooooooooooooal!!!! Podolski take the ball nicely out of the air and lays it to Cazorla who in turn passes to Ramsey. Ramsey controls it on his right, flicks it over Clyne and leaves him for dead, strides forward and flicks the ball with the outside of his right foot across the goal for 5-1, but NO! it hits the post, yet falls nicely for Gervinho who is sniffing to control the ball with his left and tap it in with his left for his second goal of the day. Normal service resumed 5-1 to the Arsenal!

Gervinho goes off to a standing ovation from the crowd and replaced by Theo. Podolski also goes off to replaced by Giroud.

Mertesacker-Ramsey-Cazorla-Gervinho-Arteta-Chamberlaim who hits a cracking shot that was going into the far top corner of the net and saved superbly by Davies in-goal for a corner.

Goooooooooooooal!!!! Vermaelen-Ramsey-Cazorla-Vemaelen who shoot with his left,  well saved by Davies but only parry the ball to Arteta who taps the ball to Theo who coolly left foots the ball into the left hand side of the goal for 6-1 to the Arsenal! Nice of Theo to not rub it in by going mad in celebration.

Theo’s muted celebration for Arsenal’s sixth

FT 6-1.

Good to see Theo and Oxo go over and applaud the Southampton fans, showing a bit of class.  That’s three games out of four with no bookings for Arsenal save the match at Liverpool with Webb in charge.

thoroughly enjoyed the day. Team played well save a 25 min spell at the start of the second half.  Well deserve win and good to see the lads going for as many goals as they could score and looking like they were enjoying the game as well.

The team were playing with a flair about them, passing the ball around like Wenger teams of the past.  It seems the bad eggs have gone and this new/old squad of players want to play, want to win both as individuals and a team. They battled for each other in the sun. Southampton are not the best by a long chalk, but Arsenal made them look poor by dominating the passing game. At times Southampton could not get near the ball as the speed of the one touch passing, well, passed them by.

Szczesny was at fault for the goal and some of his kicking was awful in the second half, very sloppy, yet I thought in the last 20 mins he improved and made a couple of good saves. We must remember the he is still young and learning. Many who wanted Mannone to stay in-goal are probably the ones that wanted Mannone a short while back. Two games denotes consistency to some. 5/10

Jenkinson is coming on leaps and bounds. Again still young and will make mistakes, yet he is taking his chance while Sagna is out. I see the team sheet and not afraid to see his name there. He has a good engine and gets up and down the pitch, makes tackles when needed and can be dangerous on the break. 7/10

Gibbs again is coming on a bundle. Looks to be concentrating on his defensive duties first. The Bould effect. Against Southampton he did not have to defend too much and had two assists for goals one and four. 8/10

The defence is looking very solid. A lot of this can be put down Mertesacker who though looks cumbersome and is a bit slow, however, he makes up it with a yard in his head as he reads the game well. Vary rarely wastes a pass. The BFG will be prone to the odd mistake or two that could cost a goal, what defenders aren’t, but a class player. 8/10

I saw this regarding TV5 “Vermaelen can be described as a CB.He’s like some mutant hybrid uber modern player. What can we call it. Verminator I guess” A monster and it must be a nightmare for a forward knowing he is lining up to play against him. TV5 hunts players down, almost scares then into giving the ball way “Give me the ball” in a terminator type voice. Likes to get forward and can score, that showed for the sixth goal yesterday when he got into the area and his shot lead to Theo’s goal. TV5 had a dip towards the end of last season but looks to be back on top form now. Stevie, Stevie Bould, Stevie, Stevie Bould, his got no hair but we don’t care, Stevie, Stevie Bould has the defence playing as a unit again. 8/10

How no other clubs picked up on Cazorla I don’t know, frankly I don’t care. Talk about a player fitting the bill for Arsene’s type of football, such that the biggest complement I could pay Cazorla is Cesc who?  His eye for a pass is second to none and the way he keep the play moving, you could easily be watching Inesta or Xavi. One long kick from Sir Chesney he just flicked the ball out of the air to Gervinho, outrageous piece of skill. That he does not start for Spain and Arteta cannot get in the side, says everything you need to know about England National side. I would be very surprised if Cazorla is not at the top or near the top for assists this season and I think he may well get at least 10 goals. 9/10

Arteta is just getting better and better. He looks to have finally found his club. He is everywhere and always available for a pass, gets stuck in, wins challenges to get the team rolling again. Also good at helping out defence. Superb footballer. 8/10

Coquelin played alright yesterday. Still gave the ball away at times and a bit rash in tackles however, he is still young and learning. Good to have as a back up player. 6/10

Chamberlain is also fitting in well, always wants the ball. Confident young lad. Not afraid to shoot when he gets the chance. Takes players on and has the tricks to boot, though uses them to often for my liking, but he will learn fast at Arsenal. 7/10

You do not get 101 caps and 44 goals for Germany aged 27 if you are not a very good footballer. Podolski is a very good footballer. I confess I didn’t know too much about him for his time in Germany, but since have heard many good reports. Since he signed I have watched him closely for germany in Euro’s and his few games for Arsenal and he is a very good footballer. Strong and yet can be nimble, scores goals with a very good left foot. Has struck up  a good understanding very quickly with Cazorla that will produce many goals this season. 7/10

Yesterday I posted a blog where I mentioned this

Gervinho grabbed a hat-trick of assists and a goal for Ivory Coast. Please Sir can we have some of that when you play for Arsenal. Make the passes count and take your chances in front of goal. You’d be superstar at Arsenal”

Well he did not let me down yesterday, did he?.. Looked dangerous throughout the match, scoring two and involved in the fourth. If he can keep this up, maybe he’ll get that superstar status. 8/10

Ramsey did well when he came on. Set up the 5th goal and had a couple of shots 5/10 Theo also di alright and scored. Thought he could have got Giroud a goal or two when he broke well, but his final pass was poor. 5/10 Giroud won a couple of headers and must have been frustrated at not being able to score, more so as it looked everyone in the team was trying to set him up to score when he came on 4/10

Two tough games now against city (away) and Chelsea (home) that should tell us where we really are this season on the improvement front and I for one cannot wait.

Back soon with report on Montpellier match…

Cheers

@harlowgooner.

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