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August 2021

Saint Santi, the killer of the Saints

By Walter Broeckx

Santi or Saint. The same number of letters but what a difference the place of the I made today. Or was it the dot on the i?

It looked a sunny North London day and the way the game went it was a bright summer day at the end.

From the first minutes Arsenal was on top of the game and in control. Our Saint Santi was the one who pulled the strings for most of the game. But it was hard working Lukas Podolski who made the break through today.  When he had seemingly lost the ball he battled with German grit and determination (oh those clichés…. ) to win the ball back. And when he did he gave a perfect ball to Gibbs who saw his shot half saved by the goalkeeper but the ball trickled to the goal line. Saints defender Hooiveld didn’t want Gibbs on the score sheet so he chose to push the ball over the line himself. 1-0 and just 11 minutes gone.

Arsenal kept in control and Southampton  was chasing the ball and didn’t came really close to the Arsenal penalty area.  Just after the half hour mark a Saint defender made a rather stupid foul on Coquelin and the good leading referee Friend (no pressure on the ref reviewer mind you – my first feelings only) saw that not really an advantage was on and gave the foul. On TV it was clear to see that Podolski and Cazorla had a few words. You? I? I? You? Till the wall was placed and you could almost see Podolski saying to Cazorla: I blast it in. Cazorla smiled at Podolski, nodded his head and…. my goodness  Podolski curled the ball beautifully under the cross bar.  He scores when he wants… 2-0 to the Arsenal.

And then things went fast. A lovely ball from Arteta, a great run from Gervinho and the Ivorian blasted the ball in at the near post. 3-0 after 35 minutes.

Arsenal was on fire, Southampton didn’t know where to run and one of the next attacks delivered another goal for Arsenal. Again Gibbs was running on his flank and his low cross was put in his own net by Southampton defender Clyne. Gervinho was waiting in the centre for tuck it away but the Southampton players wanted to score themselves it seems.  4-0 after 38 minutes.

Then Arsenal took the foot of the throttle and Southampton started to try to go forward a bit. And then Szczesny clearly felt some compassion for the Saints and gave the ball away after a rather easy catch on a high cross. Fox said thank you to Szczesny and blasted the ball in the goal. I hope that Szczesny got a real kick up the arse in the interval. What a stupid way to lose a goal. Vito Mannone will have his thoughts on that goal I think. 4-1 at half time.

The second half was a non event. Arsenal laid back and didn’t really try to score a lot of goals. Southampton was a much better side but I wonder how much was down to Arsenal not wanting it that badly anymore?  As always we will never know. Szczesny kept us asking questions about his real fitness level. He didn’t seem comfortable at all. But at the end of the game did make a few good saves but I really wonder if he is completely 100% fit.

The game just kept on rolling from one side to the other.  No real urgency anymore. Then Ramsey entered the field and shortly after that Cazorla played a nice ball to the young Welshman. A lovely piece of skill took him past his defender and he was on his way to goal. A lovely passed shot with the outside of the boot was going towards the goal but it trickled against the post… lucky for Arsenal Gervinho was on hand to put the ball over the line finally. I felt a bit sorry for Aaron as it would shut up a few moaners but well now they can shut up about Gervinho for not scoring.

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Southampton tried to score a goal but the Arsenal defence had gifted enough they felt (I agree with this sentiment completely) and the strikes went all wide of target apart from a low shot from Puncheon that was well saved by Szczesny this time.

The icing on the cake came 2 minutes from time. Vermaelen ran forward, Cazorla (who else) gave him a lovely ball (again….) and Vermaelen struck but the keeper could punch it away. But Cazorla (amazingly once again) was there and the ball went off him to Walcott who slotted the ball home with his left foot. A cool finish and a cool celebration.  Well we all know Walcott is a nice guy and he didn’t  really wanted  to celebrate against the team where he started his career in the youth teams.

So a very convincing win. The moaners will probably moan about the two own goals so they can be lucky in a way. Or about the conceded goal. Szczesny come on, better next time. I think Mertesacker will have given him the disturbed German look at half time I think.

And well if you look at the league table we are now in 3rd place. 2 points after leaders Chelsea who didn’t score today. 1 point after Manchester united who beat Wigan in a convincing way and equal on points with Manchester City our next opponent.

Podolski scores when he wants, Gervinho in the main striker role most of the time scored 2, our Saint Santi is an amazing player… And our bench looks great with still some important players to come back from injury like Sagna, Wilshere and Diaby. Oh and we have the best goal difference also.

Well I think we got a team that is wanting to fight hard in every game. And that is all I want from the players. Fight hard, work hard. What a great game from the Arsenal. Well done lads.

65 comments to Saint Santi, the killer of the Saints

  • too bad van pursie is missing out on this eh walter? time will tell.

  • Davi

    Playing Gervinho through the middle could be yet another Wenger masterstroke – it certainly worked today! His movement was excellent and his decision-making was much better.

    In this case, there wasn’t an awful lot of luck about the own goals that were scored, particularly the first one. Podolski’s pass put Gibbs in a perfect position and the ball was going to end up in the net one way or another.
    Podolski btw is looking to be as good a signing as Cazorla, particularly so given that he cost less. Santi is an unbelievable player but Podolski’s movement is extremely good, he is plenty strong enough for the rough treatment forwards often get in this league, and he has the killer instinct, beit to finish a chance or to play the right pass at the right time in the right way. A truly excellent player who compliments Cazorla extremely well.

    One player I continue to feel sorry for is Giroud. He makes all the right runs, but again he was let down by the final ball – one time in particular when Walcott delayed the pass sticks out. Oh well, I’m sure he will start against his old club, so maybe that will present him with a good chance to score.

  • leany

    Thanks Walter for the post.
    Oh, so much fun watching the game and now reading your post. Lovely and good game, lovely and humorous words from you, Walter.
    It’s such a great relief of having Podol in our team (I’ve supported the German team for ten years), and of course Cazorla too!
    Hope that we will go through the next difficult matches with good results. And Giroud will score.

  • sebas

    The problem with I’ve always had with gervinho out on the wing is that he doesn’t get the ball often enough, so when he does get it he tries too hard to make a play.

  • Paul

    it should go : Saint Santi the Saints killer – for it to sound out.

  • Stuart

    Although he is a brilliant individual, I think today we got to see how much RVP actually held the team back. We now have a squad full of team players and it’s like the Arsenal of 10 years ago 🙂

  • Paul

    Can’t agree with you Stuart, RVP never held anyone back, He we would just seek the ball out at every possibility. And he was a team player.

  • Paul

    it’s like saying henry held the team back, well No. he complimated it , mad it look better. Just imagine him playing with Podolski and Cazorla for the majority of the season.

  • Davi

    Stuart – I wouldn’t go that far. The biggest changes from last season are:
    1. The defence is playing deeper and has a game plan for set pieces and dangermen.
    2. We have a real creative midfielder who set’s up chances regularly.
    3. Our wide players are more dangerous (in great part due to Podolski, and the fact that the fullbacks have more of a safety-net when they attack).
    The signings and tactical changes are the biggest improvements we’ve made, and they’ve brought the best out of our players, particularly in defence. Playing a high line does not suit Mertesacker, for example, and puts unnecessary pressure on all of the defenders. None of the back 4 have been perfect in these early games (although TV has been pretty close), but they shouldn’t have to be, and the new system has soaked up their individual defficiencies for the most part.
    Having RVP in this side would only have made us stronger imho but who cares. A player who would leave for the side that gleefully cheated the Invincibles isn’t worth much thought.

  • Saintpeter

    It was indeed a nice afternoon for Wenger’s men. But am looking forward to see Giroud scores.

  • Paul

    @Davi – I second that! who cares!

  • bjtgooner

    Great performance from the team, well done guys!

  • Super Singh

    I think Stuart makes a good point, before it was Van Persie this and Van Persie that? But The Arsenal of late seem to play more fluently and with some confidence, hope this continues.

  • Prasanna Veeraraghavan

    The question that comes to my mind is this.

    Arsenal gonna create another invincible team? It really looks a possibility for me right now though I would like to sit back and watch the next two or three games before I give out my views again but right now it looks we can go unbeaten the season once again.

  • slugboy

    What a great game! The team played fantastically and are starting to create the lovely little triangles that Wenger’s teams are known for. Pod and carzola have made a real difference, but the biggest improvement is the enthusiasm and fight that the WHOLE team is showing (sadly lacking from a number of games aganst the lower teams last year for some reason).

    Shame that chesney, who was our most promising player at one stage, is suddenly looking a bit of a liability, but I think he will come good after a bit of a run. The Euros must have damaged his confidence somewhat.

    The squad is looking strong and I hope that Wenger has the balls to rotate the squad properly (not just for the ‘League Cup’). Kos needs to start rotating with the two central defenders. Santos needs to get a game soon despite Gibbs playing well. It was right to give Diaby a rest today. Arteta and Carzola will need to be rested at some stage. Podolski is made of metal, powered by perpetual motion, so will never need to be rested

    Great day, great game, happy man!

  • Stuart

    Guys, I get what you are saying but I stand by what I said. Now that RVP has gone, yes we have the new players coming and doing a great job but have you also noticed how much better the players we already had are doing? The rest of the team are no longer shy in coming forward it seems.

    I wasn’t saying to reminisce, more to point out how we have developed.

  • Stuart

    When RVP was in the squad, the whole team was set up and trained to work hard to get the ball to him. What is evident now is the teams training is based around setting one another up as we have no out and out goal scorer in the team.

  • Borntobeagunner(btbag)

    The mistake that Soton made was to play Arsenal way at the emirates. No team plays Arsenal their own game at their own home, not even Barca. A self confessed 8-0 is already awaiting Montepellier, atleast that is what one of their player said based on their current form.

  • Davi

    Stuart – Wenger has credited Bould with the defensive improvements, and I think it’s clear the tactical affect he has had on the side. Had we kept RVP and still made the Podolski and Cazorla signings, and promoted Bould, I think we would be playing in the same way, only with RVP up front. RVP isn’t a terribly selfish player, and did set up chances for the other players. I can only think we would be a better side with him there.

  • Davi

    Also, I don’t think we were set up around RVP last season. It was more based around the midfield, as it is now. In many ways Arteta was much more central to how we played, and he still is now. The difference is that Cazorla has made the offensive part of that midfield core much stronger.
    You could compare it to when Fabregas was here, because our game really WAS centred around him, and we definitely worked to get possession to him. I think the reason we are not looking so single-player-centric is simply that we have more experienced players with stronger personalities. Cazorla is probably standing out as our best player overall, but the strong personalities of Arteta and Podolski are showing through as well.

  • Long Island Gunner

    Yes – Giroud in against his former team. Along with all the other “second team” players like Kosc, Diaby, Walcott, Santos – those 5 would start in many / most EPL teams and I rate Kosc very highly indeed.

    Looking at today – how good was Coq? I thought he was absolutely spot on in almost everything he did. Certainly freed up Arteta and Santi to run the show with the ball and wasn’t too shabby in possession himself.

  • Fernandez

    Long island gooner-
    Spot on mate, coq was outstanding, but I have to say the big old German has been good for the last few games.

  • Stuart

    I’m not saying RVP is a selfish player, I’m saying our team was built and trained around providing him service, RVP just took what he was given. If we had lost him during last season, I’m sure you’d agree, we would have been f*cked. That’s what I’m saying, we have come a long way now and the team is just that, a team, we have many goal scorers who are also the creators.

  • Valentin

    I agree with Stuart. The team was set up for RVP, where now it does look more like a proper team. Maybe others were inhibited by his mere presence. When last season Gervinho never looked like he could score, this game he shot like he meant it. TH14 last few season at Arsenal killed Reyes confidence. At time his mistrust affected others. Last season the team was relying on him. This season the team is relying on a group of experienced players: Vermeulen, Arteta, Cazorla, Podolski.
    That is not necessarily a critic of RVP, but sometimes a team become stale and needs freshen up. Cazorla and Podolski have brought a calmer but steely resolve to this team. Oxlade Chamberlain said so in his Arsenal TV interview.
    It is the first time since the days of the invincibles that the team seems in control of the game. We may not be as cavalier as before, but we look less like conceding to counter attack.
    Mind you Southampton did not help themselves with that ridiculous All guns blazing approach. Nobody plays against Arsenal in. 4-4-2, not even Manchester United. Southampton defence looks like it could be their downfall, because their attack is half decent.

  • Valentin

    Coquelin passing was absolutely brilliant. However he does not make a good combination with Arteta who needs a powerful runner with him. The pairing Arteta Diaby is perfect in that respect: a passer and a runner. However if we needs somebody to replace Arteta, we now know that Coquelin would be a more than able deputy.
    It made sense to give Ramsey some game time. With the games coming thick and fast we do not want Coquelin doing his hamstring.

  • Adam

    Great result but score lines such as these encourage the weaker managers to park the bus when they turn out at the Grove. Fair play to Southampton they did come to play. Nice to see the boys move the ball faster than they have been. Work hard play intelligently. Hope we keep playing teams beneath us in the table all season.

  • Goona Gal

    It was a great game, great result and a great day out in the sun and I’ve only just found my way home. I think the plaudits should go to MoTM Gervinho over Santi, I would like to say more but heads a bit foggy. They both played excellent though. Arteta sitting deep works so well and he looks like he’s loving it.

    @ Stuart, I agree with you about the team’s shooting confidence. A consistant criticism I had of the team last year of Gervinho and the others was that they were looking to pass rather than shoot themselves. I was happy to see so many players going for goal today. So many reasons to be cheerful(hic)!

  • Goona Gal

    @ Valentin – Sorry, I have to disagree with you. Coquelin was no were near as good as Arteta and Ramsey was more effective when he came on.

  • Domhuaille MacMathghamhna

    You all seem to overlook a few fundamental elements that are working for us this season:

    1)Team chemistry….almost all our team is working like one well-oiled machine now and seems to go from strength to strength…this happened last season after AW brought in the new faces. This season we have 4 serious goal scoring threats rather than 2 like last year – Cazorla, Podolski, Giroud and Gervinho. If each of them gets 10 goals apiece then we have 40 goals from our strikers and 1 midfielder alone. Imagine what we can have if the Ox, Wilshere, Ramsey, Diaby and Rosicky score 4-5 goals each! Then we have the Koscielny,Coquelin, the Verminator, Arteta,Sagna,Gibbs and Santos who could get 2-3 each….this could be an 89-91 goals season!
    2)Our bench is 50% stronger than last season – we can afford to start a match without Walcott, Santos, Diaby, Wilshere, Koscielny,Ramsey,Frimpong, Giroud, Rosicky, Arshavin, Sagna, Chamakh and Mannone and get a 6-1 win! We still have some excellent youth and reserve players eager to strut their stuff so AW has once again produced diamonds from dust.
    3)Our fitness and endurance appears to get better as the match goes on….we are now deadly for the full 90 minutes.
    4)RVP was our fulcrum last season, he outscored his closest Gunner teammate by 22 goals. So far we have scored 8 goals and conceded 1 in 4 games with 6 different players sharing the load. God help our opponents if and when Giroud, Walcott, Diaby,Rosicky, Arshavin, Chamakh,Ramsey and Wilshere find theirs.
    5)Our defense is rock solid – Per, Koscielny, Gibbs, Jenkinson, Santos, Sagna, Vermaelen, and Djourou are looking like a first rate EPL lineup…..this has the makings of a winning squad improving every game thanks to Bould and company.

    IF we can avoid any serious long-term injuries to key players, keep our form and efficiency and bring on some younger players to get EPL and Cup exposure,we have the makings of a potential Wenger dynasty.

  • Valentin

    Goona Gal, reread my post. I never said that Coquelin passing was better. I said that the pair Coquelin-Arteta was not a good combination. They both like to pass the ball rather than running forward with it.
    Despite being both predominantly ball passer rather than ball carrier, Coquelin and Arteta have different qualities. Arteta is much better at short, relaying pass. Coquelin better at incisive forward pass. Because they are riskier, his completion percentage will be lower, however when faced with a team that parks the bus, Coquelin could be more useful by offering an another source of danger than Cazorla.
    Against Southampton who played or tried to play an expensive open game, two passers or defensive midfield players was too much, that freed Arteta who played higher with Coquelin deeper. Gervinho goal came from Arteta being ten yards further up than he had been in the previous three games. When Coquelin was substituted Arteta dropped back deeper. Ramsey playing on the same line but with license to go forward. Because Ramsey is principally a box to box runner, he was more effective for our foward play.
    Also during the second half Arsenal was coasting, nobody made any big run. Coquelin could not thread any pass as nobody was interested in scoring any more. In contrast Ramsey wanted to score. However, by bombing forward Ramsey left gap in the centre of midfield. Against a team playing counter attack that would have been suicidal.
    Mind you we were already 4-1 up by that stage.

  • Waffling wenger

    I think a lot of people at mistaking cohesion with ‘fight’ or whatever. We look far more solid in part due to the deeper line, but also in part due to our wingers. Poldi is magnificent in this respect (and a god send considering or left side has been our well-documented weak side for years), but as is the ox. All of a sudden we’re not carrying anyone in defense an it’s making a huge difference to the side.

  • Stuart

    Sorry to go off subject here but have you seen the latest goal scored by Henry?


  • blacksheep63

    Great report Walter! From where I was (north bank lower) I thought Sir Chesney looked injured from the point he collided with Jenko. His kicking was awful in the second half and Mannone was warming up for some time after the break. Hopefully he is ok and this was just a blip. Coquelin was getting some stick early first half from some around me and I think we have to remember that there are still some very young players in this team. My overall thought was that we are playing as a team this season – the most cohesive we have been for some time. There are stars in the team but maybe no superstars, and that’s possibly a good thing for once

  • @ Stuart, 11.30pm
    @ Valentin, 1.01am

    I understand where you’re both coming from.
    When Henry left us, the question was “How do we replace him?”.
    In a sense, we couldn’t – as an individual, that is.
    But the team as a whole could… and did!

    2005-6 season (League).
    Henry played 30/scored 27. Arsenal scored 60. Position 4th.
    NOTE: This was Henry’s final (full) season for Arsenal.

    2006-7 season (League)
    NOTE: Cannot fairly compare as Henry played only 16 games, then left us.

    2007-8 season (League).
    Arsenal scored 74. Position 3rd.

    Therefore, Arsenal scored MORE goals WITHOUT Henry, than with him (based on his last FULL season). And we attained a higher League placing too.
    Strange, but true.

    It remains to be seen if the stats ‘prove the same point’ at the end of this season, post-RVP.

  • Error… sorry.
    2005-6, Arsenal scored 68 goals, not 60.

    But nothing changes, overall. Arsenal scored MORE goals WITHOUT Henry, than with him (based on his last FULL season).

  • Mandy Dodd

    Just who was that Dutch striker who used to play for us??

  • Goona Gal

    @ Valentin – I have to admit that I did’nt quite follow your 1:49am response. Even a bit gone yesterday, I didn’t misconstrue what you said in your 1:09am post.

    You said…Coquelin passing was absolutely brilliant….However if we needs somebody to replace Arteta, we now know that Coquelin would be a more than able deputy….

    Basically I don’t think that if you swap Arteta out for Le Coq right now, you would get the same level of performance, so no I don’t think he’s an able deputy. Q. Did Le coq give the ball away cheaply? No. That said, Q. Did his passes open up the game?No. Dictate the flow of the game?No. Did he keep things simple and make safe passes? Yes. Did they directly lead to goal scoring opportunities? No. Did he give the ball more times than not, straight back to the player that passed it to him? Yes. Even back to the defensive players trying to hold their shape and were looking for a foward player to take ownership of the ball and move it forward? Yes. Was he scared of being stripped of possession? Maybe. Did he make many interceptions? No. But was he disciplined and hold our shape well? Yes. Did he try? Yes. Did his efforts contribute to the win? Yes. He was good, but I don’t recall his performance how you’ve described it. I still have the afterglow going and I am not trying to be critical today of all days, but based on yesterday’s game Q. Did Coquelin demonstrate that he’s ready to step in for Arteta? NO.

  • Davi

    Stuart – I think it only appeared that we were built around providing him service because he scored so many goals. I don’t think his presence in the side would hinder Podolski from scoring, it would only serve to increase the scoring chances that would fall for Podolski. Ramsey had a lot of chances to score, and did well earlier in the season, but later on his form dropped. I don’t think Podolski is the type to play a “pass it to Will” game. He wants to be successful, so he will make those runs into the box regardless, and RVP is adept at finding people.
    Gervinho benefitted from having a freer role, starting as our main central striker and who’s to say his improvement is not simply a natural progression from last season, given that he’s now more used to the pace of the game, and knows the players around him a bit better?
    I think it’s wrong to credit the new way that we are playing with RVP’s leaving, given that so many changes have happened over the summer. The entire system has changed, and I don’t think RVP really factored into that. We needed to stop leaking so many goals, and we needed a broader attacking threat – Wenger was saying these things all through last season, and they’ve been addressed on the pitch.

  • Davi

    You could just as easily put the improvement down to Theo not playing much, or Song leaving. These have all impacted the side, but haven’t necessarily been positive things. IMO we would only have a stronger side and squad with Song and RVP still here, but I’m not complaining. I’m much happier with the way we are playing this season than last season, and that’s the most important thing, of course.

  • Prof. Oyeboh. Razaq

    I think someone was right to claim that RVP held us up last season because everbody in the team tended to be working for him. That was what encouraged Alex Song to abandone his convetional duty post most of the time and then resulting to conceading many goals. It is different this season because this is a complete team that is not built around a particular player. We can expect to make yet another invincible this season. Believe.

  • Zambucco

    As a Saints fan, who has had Arsenal as a second team (my Dad was a Lodoner and he was a Gooner)It is so good to see you getting it together again. I’m sure you’ll be handing out a few more spankings like that. Which will be good for me as it will mean, that we just got beat by a very, very good side, and nothing to do with us being a very, very poor side. Which we are not and have shown some good signs.

    Of course we try to play the Arsenal game, we are merely preparing our youngsters for their inevitable transfer to the Gunners!

    You were a class apart yesterday, and your fans were fantastic, you may not be the noisiest, but what does that count for? You’re good genuine fans and treated Saints fans with compassion and respect.

  • bob

    Davi @ 11:47
    I think your comment is spot on. Retaining RVP by saying no and calling his bluff (because he’d have to perform well or face a large decline in his value in the next transfer market) and retaining Song (who was shipped out thisfast, but clearly had improving defensive/offensive fluidity) would have produced the EPL Champion. I’m tired of arguing it here, so I’ll stop with this: the two were Affordable. I don’t think Song wanted out, only a raise; and RVP (a selfish prick) could have been told to stay, shut up and perform (just like Mancini drew the line with Tevez last season) – and he was not selfish on the pitch but a provider too, who endured a very weak midfield.) These affordable players made for a zero transfer balance. And all that said, we now have the makings of an emerging powerhouse playing the beautiful game. Keeping Song and RVP in the mix would have put us over the top.

  • bob

    Yes, the bus parking will surely increase. Not running out of ideas and our will to persist in innovating against the frustration it causes will be key. With Podolski, Giroud and Cazorla there’s an uptick in our power, height, unpredictability and clinicality and diversity in the last third, so our potential for overcoming that hurdle seem far better that last season without them.

  • Valentin

    Gooner Gal

    13 minutes in, after a corner half cleared Coquelin delivered a delicious chip at the far post that the FBG headed in. Goal keeper comfortably collect it. Bar the own goal and Podolski shot, it is our first shot on target coming from a well constructed play. Per should have scored, not Coquelin’s fault.
    The free kick from which Podolski scored is given for a foul on Coquelin again after a corner half cleared. He played a good cross field pass that reached its target before being clattered.
    Coquelin twice has superb passes to Chamberlain including a reverse blind one from we should have scored.
    So his passes did open the game, the opportunities he offered were just spurned. On another day he could have had three assists. Arteta passes lead only once to a goal opportunity: Gervinho’s goal. I can guarantee that last season Gervinho would have missed his shot.
    According to the stats, Gervinho made less passes than Arteta, but has a higher forward pass percentage. So it looks to me that Arteta is the one played it safe, which make senses as he usually play pivote, a relay. At PSG and at Rangers he used to play in the same position. It is only at Everton that he was shunted to the wing and pushed forward.
    BTW If you ask yourself the same questions about Arteta, you will get pretty much the same answers. Arteta did not dictated the game, Cazorla and Podolski did.
    What Arteta has on Coquelin is his experience and better tactical intelligence. A more than able deputy does not mean a better choice, just a decent one who could do more than just make the number and is potentially as good or even better on some aspects. That exactly describe Coquelin current situation to me. Clearly Arsene Wenger sees Frimpong more as a deputy to Abou than Coquelin. We may even see that combination Coquelin-Frimpong in the league cup (I can’t remember how it is called this season).
    Like I said he is not a runner, so against a so open Southampton team playing both Arteta and Coquelin did not make sense. That is why Ramsey got so much joy.

  • bob

    (Before it gets too late to matter, as we move on to the CL on Tues:) This beautiful and thoughtful article by an Indian Gooner explains how tough it is to even get an Arsenal match to see on TV owing to the monopoly hold that Manure has on the airwaves and ESPN especially in yesterday’s case.
    It reports that ALL the buzz yesterday in India’s football media was about Manure’s clean sheet victory; and that NONE was about our total rout of Southampton. And it also attests to the persistence of Indian Gooners in forcing ESPN’s hand to at least finally televise our match on one of their HD channels (which comparatively only a few can access owing to the price). This type of global promotion of the Manure Brand (and corresponding virtual lock-out of AFC, etc.) is what helps Manure continue to appear as the EPL’s flagship team; and, as the anointed flagship team it must (to complete the vicious circle) be featured to the near exclusion of other contenders. This, in turn, translates into more sales of team merchandise and fresh strategic partnerships at astronomical payoffs down Old Toilet Way. Denting this near monopoly (and lobbying at the top for more) would be a great achievement for Gazidis to obviously and tirelessly lobby for, now that he’s on the FA board.

  • Goona Gal

    I have just finished watching the Arsenal highlights and the commentary team were going on about the Podolski free kick being more of a goalie error, first of all it was so masterfully taken that the ball had hardly any uplift on it and this unexpected fast curling spin on it, that it looked like it was going out, not dipping over the wall and turning back in that it took a few of us by suprise, Podolski deserved a bit more credit. Secondly, goals scored from free kicks by Arsenal were few and far between under our previous designated taker, so it will be interesting to see whether teams are still so willing to foul so much in dangerous positions as I don’t think that was a fluke.

    Also regarding the Gervinho goal, I heard ATVO commentary, say the shot was so easy, which I don’t agree with. I have to say I never saw that kind of understanding before yesterday between Arteta & Gervinho, for the 3rd goal. When Arteta is about to deliver the ball, Gerv just nods at Arteta and at exactly the right time takes his marker by suprise, spins off him so that he’s onside and goalside. Arteta plays a delicate ball inside which gives Gerv space, but the ball is’nt travelling so fast that the goalie thinks he can confidently get to it in time, so instead closes down the near post angle and with the goalie closing down the near post angle, a more safe option would of been for Gerv to take a extra touch inside and go for the far post, but seeing the Southampton defenders running at him, without hesitation, cooly and quickly flicks the ball inside at a tight angle. PURE CLASS and that move was not easy peasy.

    Lets give credit, where credit is due.

  • Goona Gal

    @ Valentin – I still disagree with you, but can’t be bothered to get into semantics about the term ‘able deputy’ or what you might call a brilliant pass compared to what I think is a decent pass. I am not saying that I think Coquelin is a bad player, he just didn’t do anything yesterday that would make me think that if Arteta wasn’t playing, I would pick him. I doubt AW would keep him around if he was’nt half decent, I just haven’t seem any aspect of his game that is better than Arteta’s.

  • Goona Gal

    @ Stuart, I have just had a look at that link and I think Thierry Henry, just submitted his application to return to the club during the MLS break!

  • Goona Gal

    @ Zambucco – I thought the atmosphere was very lively yesterday, especially in the sunshine. I am suprised that you thought it was otherwise. I want Southampton to stay up and it took me back down memory lane hearing ‘oh when the saints go marching in’. To be honest, I want all Southern clubs to remain in the premiership, but more so yourselves and Reading as you are trying to play football. I think S’ton were more than a match for Man U and I was very disappointed that RVP got that hattrick a few weeks back against you. In the very least, even though you don’t have any points yet, I don’t think you like automatic candidates to go down.

  • Asif

    @Zambucco: Appreciate your comments! We wish Southampton do well in the league. They are a genuine footbal club unlike some rugby teams in the league…And no harm in playing the Arsenal way…last year Swansea beat us at our game so…S’ton too would sooner or later come up the learning curve (but hope they don’t beat us)!

  • Ong Bing

    Ok, ok, peoples said it only Southampton. But it was a big and good win, and many other things that we can cheers.

    I read in text commentry, our last night team, was the youngest, compare with the other teams yesterday. Nobody 30 or more.

    We tried Gerv on central striker, and works.

    We score from free kick, it rare!

    We not missed Robin, and Song.

    Nobody injured.

  • Valentin

    Having viewed the game again on TV on both English and French TV, it is clear that Podolski strike was a great strike, however it could and should have been saved. One of the comment by a goal keeper coach was that there was two mistakes. The first one and the more visible was the incorrect goalkeeper starting position. The extra step to the left he took means that he could never reach anything on the centre right of the goal. It is true that he nearly got a hand to it and maybe that extra step is the difference between a finger tip touch and a firm palm/wrist connection. The second mistake is that the wall should have jump. If the wall had jumped, the ball would have been diverted for a corner.
    According to him, there is instance where the wall does not jump because of the threat of a daisy cutter, however he argued that with Podolski having a very short run and his body shape, he could never shot with enough power to really trouble a goalkeeper.

  • Valentin

    @Zambucco, what you experienced was a good day at the emirates in term of atmosphere and noise. We are not the Noisest and remember Highbury used to be called the library.
    I think that except some unexpected victories (Manchester United, Leeds, …) and the champion’s league against AC Milan last year, the Emirates is very rarely rocking.

  • Goona Gal

    @ Valintin – was you at the match yesterday? Or the Man U home game last year haha?

  • Adam

    @BOB, I can only hope AFC can find ways around 11 players told to stand on or around there own 18 yard line at the Emirates. My point behind my earlier comment was to do with the mentality some owners want at their clubs. Southampton are a positive football club and I for one respect that and want to see them stay in the premiership and be successfull. However Sunderland and Stoke show a certain negative side as did Chelsea in the champions league. Abramovich wanted to win at any cost so I can understand the tactic to win a cup competition. But in league matches that people pay a fortune to watch, Come on, Get shot of these negative managers and bring in fresh young positive managers. It’s down to the mentality of the owners.

  • Woolwich Peripatetic

    I don’t see the wall not jumping as a mistake but the goalkeeper could be accused of being out of position, except that for that distance and angle Podolski’s strike was ridiculously good. Why concede a corner when it’s going over the bar anyway? Why cover behind the wall when that’s what the wall is there for? If the keeper doesn’t trust his wall, the ball will come round the side of it rather than over the top. Watch the free kick again, very few players could have scored that and no-one could score them consistently.

  • Valentin

    @Goona Gal, the unexpected victory over Manchester United game I was referring to is the 2-1 victory over Manchester United a couple of years ago (season 2007-2008). Henry scored the winner in stoppage time, just after Van Persie had scored an equalizer. He broke his meta tarsal doing it, but because of the adrenaline did not feel the pain until he took his shoes off. On that day, the Emirates was rocking.
    I don’t go to away games, except some derbies in London when I can get a ticket from some of my colleagues that are Chelsea or West Ham supporters.
    I love Arsenal, but I am force to admit that we are not one of the most boisterous/vociferous crowd.
    Last time I attended with my wife, she was screaming louder than the entire section we were in.

    @Woolwich, As I said those were statements from a goal keeper coach on TV. It is better to concede a corner than risk conceding a goal. From his comment I take that safety first and walls are supposed to jump unless it is too close to the goal and there is a greater risk of the ball being kick below the jumping wall. Regarding the angle, the kick is pretty much central and the goal keeper touched it; so a step in the right direction would have made a difference. Podolski did not smash the ball, nor is it in the top far corner. So again from the goal keeper coach perspective, a good well placed goal keeper should have saved it.

    I live in London but I subscribe to French Canal+. Every Tuesday evening, there is a show called ‘The specialists’ where a panel of specialist reviews what happen in the English Premier League. Two regular guests are the Grimster himself Gilles Grimandi, and Christophe Lollichon who happen to be the Chelsea goalkeeper coach.
    It is quite insightful, as it is really about tactics and technical points of the game. None of the so called ‘Hold the back page’ and ‘Sunday Supplement’ style of show that really look at the game from a media perspective. They look at it from a specialist point of view hence the title of the show. They have an equivalent for Ligue 1 (called you guess it ‘Les Specialistes’) and German football (Der Specializt format is different in that it is a highlight show).
    Quite often Gilles Grimandi and Christophe Lollichon’s quotes are extracted out of context and then used later by the English press with a completely different meaning.

  • Goona Gal

    @ Valentin – you are actually a very funny guy. Reading inbetween the waffle, I think I can work out that you didn’t go to the game and have’nt been to many over the past 4 or 5 years, but unsuprisingly, you have tried to discuss a topic you aren’t too sure about. been able to talk at got So you weren’t at the game yesterday then? And now you have corrected yourself about the Man U game and highlighted a game going back over 4yrs ago. Why didn’t you more that the

  • Goona Gal

    Damn, my phone is playing me up! I will try again. You weren’t at the game and haven’t been to many games last season, so I am not sure how you can make emphatic statements about the atmosphere. The CL games in particular in recent times the Barca games have had a great atmosphere. Even if I just stick to last season, the Man C PL win and the Man C league cup game loss had a great atmosphere, the Newcastle PL win had a great atmosphere, the FA cup Aston Villa win had a great atmosphere. I am sure there were plenty more.

  • Stuart

    I used to go to the games everytime I could get a ticket but got so fed up with the atmosphere which I could only describe as dull. The last straw was when I tried to get a bit of atmosphere and singing/cheering going on and the person in front (who was sat silently) turned around and told me to shut up. My reaction nearly got me thrown out and I’ve never been back since. The pubs are better atmosphere especially ones where you get fans from all teams.

  • Im going to agree to dis-agree with some of you.Poldoski goal was a nice goal and remember a goal is a goal you can not change that.Yeah as always i pity the moaners-whorelists who will try and look for a single error to utter rubish. Im sunday-day goalkepeer and me what i always do is to remove the wall so that i see exactly where the ball is heading too and i have been a genius.
    Bould looks to be the man i can see on TV he talks all the time while the Prof is relaxed,who knows he might the second in comand. As always i say things and they come to pass,check in the archives 2weeks ago in match review i predicted of a hammering and it come to pass. So guns turned to Monte-P,chelski and manshitty and only the will the wotld no that the GUNNERS are back with a Bang.

  • Goona Gal

    @ Stuart – I am not going to lie to win an argument by saying that the Emirates always has a fantastic atmosphere. When the truth is if you look back through the anals of this blog, I have even complained about it myself. Last year at the Emirates cup, one of the youngsters I had with me turned to me and said ‘I know why people are booing’, so I asked him to tell me, he said very knowingly, ‘it was because Wayne Rooney’s brother was coming on and we thought he was rude’. I didn’t have the heart to say ‘no son, there’s a section of our fans booing their own players and manager’.

    I would say that the less glamourous ties on paper have a better atmosphere because (just my unscientific observation) that there are less regular ST holders in attendance, which allows other lot of fans like me to go. As a flimsy guide, I would go to cup games and evening PL games if you ever changed your mind about going back. Early kick offs, standing in the rain and the team conceding are games where even I am a bit muted and p’d off.

    But Saturday’s atmosphere was good and in my experiences, they have been getting better. When you go to games, you literally are a part of history in the making,especially when you get behind the team and cheer the players on. Years later when you see footage of a game, you have a whole load of additional emotions and memories because you were there. It’s like being privy to a one off outdoor performance that can never ever be exactly replicated again, even with the same assembled cast. And sometimes being there for that 90+min period can feel as silly as it sounds a bit life or deathish when your riding the wave of emotions of yourself and others. I have yet to cry, but I have seen tears when the whistle has gone, sometimes of joy and sadness (not just the kids).

    Like I said Saturday’s game had a great buzz to it and this was not as rare as Valentin said to the S’ton fan. In fact it has steadily been in proving and long may it continue.

  • Goona Gal

    Anyway there is apparently a CL game on tomorrow, has any one got any links to a blog that’s started discussing this game yet?

  • Valentin

    @gooner gal, the atmosphere was good, but after we scored four that would be expected. However during the second half there was moment where we could distinctively hear the Southampton fans.
    I would dispute that the atmosphere is improving with the previous home game ending with section booing. I agree with you that for lesser games, the atmosphere is better. Maybe we win those lesser games, maybe the crowd is different, less blased prawn brigade and more genuine fans. Also they tend to be more family based. Same thing, League Cup tends to have a much better atmosphere, however in those very few people seems to know the chants.

    @stuart, on Saturday one guy was doing crosswords!! His friend was on the phone, moaning about Gervinho and how useless Walcott was, when Walcott was not even the pitch.

  • Stuart

    Valentin, that’s just mad, would that be the worlds most expensive crossword?? 😉

    Goona Gal, I must admit, Carling cup games have been the better atmosphere when I’ve been, not been to any champions league games since Highbury.