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August 2021

Arsenal 9 Southampton 3 Crowd 78,941

By Tony Attwood

Sitting in the Ems yesterday two things struck me from the off.   First, the number of empty seats was fewer than last season, second the noise level was up.

Empty seats is an issue at the Ems, and judging from meetings I have been at and reports that have come back from the Ems Admin, it is something that the club don’t like either.

Empty seats don’t mean unsold tickets, they mean people bought them and didn’t turn up.  Maybe the touts had them, maybe they were season ticket holders still on their summer holidays.   The number of no-shows has always been small, but now there is apparently new software in place to make it easier to sell your ticket back to the club if you can’t make it.

But it is one of those things that the AAA love to bash Arsenal supporters with.   We had a couple of comments last season along the lines of “I heard the empty seats were season ticket holders who were staying away in protest.”  As if.  No, it seems the software works now and if you have a ticket you can’t use, you can sell it back to the club much more readily.

And the noise – well of course you would expect the crowd to be noisy with a 6-1, but it isn’t always so.  This was not noise at the level of the Milan game, but it was up to a higher volume than we got for much of last season.    OK we didn’t really have 78,000 there, but as with a few games last season, it felt like the atmosphere had been lifted dramatically.

There was even a chant that made us, and Andre Santos laugh.   He came out for a run up and down the line and was greeted by:

He drives how he wants, he drives how he wants

Andre Santos, he drives how he wants.

According to the Observer newspaper yesterday Arsenal only had 50% of the possession.  I wasn’t keeping check, but that seems ludicrous to me.  I would put it more at 70%, but then I was following the game, not running a stop watch.

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The paper also had the number of attempts on target at 9-3.   That certainly sounds more possible.

Here’s another odd one from that paper – the ratings (apparently sent in by readers) gave Wojciech Szczesny 4.7 out of ten.   That is bizarre – he didn’t have much to do and he mishandled one shot – so that warrants under 50%?   That’s too tough I think.

Before the game we all got a text message inviting to have a pie and a pint for a fiver.  I didn’t but still, they are at least trying to improve the ground.  There’s better signs outside too.  Not really significant in the wider scale of stuff, but still, it helps.

So we didn’t beat our 1924 record of three clean sheets at the start of a first division season.  By the fourth match that season we had scored 7 and let in 2, as we drew match number four against Newcastle.  This time we won two and drew two with 8 scored and 1 let in.  Match number five in 1924/5, rather strangely, was against Manchester City away.  We lost 0-2, having already beaten them in the second match of the season 1-0.  Our number 10 through those games was Ramsey.

Anyway, my point (such as it is) is that it felt good.  Of course it would, with a 6-1 victory, but more than that, it felt good in the ground.  It felt good to see some experimentation with the line up with a new centre forward (at times) in Gervinho.  It felt good because the crowd was good.  It felt good because it was sunny.  And mostly because we won 6-1.

And… there is one more point: Theo Walcott,  Oliver Giroud and Aaron Ramsey all had little run outs, and will be fresh and raring to go on Tuesday.  Koscielny has only had the slightest of run outs so far and so must be really ready for a game.  Diaby was on the bench but didn’t play.   These are big players, all ready to move into the affray for the Euro game.   That feels good too.

Yes, it was a good day out.

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18 comments to Arsenal 9 Southampton 3 Crowd 78,941

  • AnotherFan

    “Here’s another odd one from that paper – the ratings (apparently sent in by readers) gave Wojciech Szczesny 4.7 out of ten. That is bizarre – he didn’t have much to do and he mishandled one shot – so that warrants under 50%? That’s too tough I think.”

    Tony if you have little to do and still fluff your lines then yes you deserve low ratings. Remember apart fro costing us a clean sheet his distribution through out the game was bad.

  • CB

    Sczc was marked down for losing the record for not conceding any goals at the start of a season, and his distribution.

    Don’t forget Sagna and Wilshere to come back as well, making 7 more than decent players to return, and only OG inexperienced in the PL.

  • I have to agree with the 4.7 – it was a considerable underperformance from Szczesny. If we had a weak link yesterday then he was it.

    If I were Steve Bould I would have given him a massive bollocking at half time – hopefully it’s a one off and we won’t see it again.

  • Valentin

    Tech9 was bad on Saturday. Failed to catch a routine cross and kept giving the ball away with absolutely terrible distribution. He looked like he was still carrying a knock. If that is the case then he should have said so and not play.
    Based on that his low scoring note is fair.
    Some sites have the possession Arsenal 70% Southampton 30%, I am not sure how there can be so much difference since they are based on the same game!! Maybe that does not fit the narrative, or somebody forgot to measure it and the default is 50%.

  • theHotHead

    I would prefer more singing and chanting, its still way too quiet and often people try to start a chant it dies immediately. I’d like to see more emotion/passion from fans. They only seem to sing when a chorus of “1-0” starts or “Arsenal – Arsenal”.

    Come on lads (and lasses) we should make the Emirates intimidating and a fortress. EVERY club has quietened over the years for sure, Arsenal have finally gotten louder, but we can do MUCH better.

    I loved the 2 round of applause for Giroud when he went to warm up in the 1st and 2nd halves, good that the crowd are being positive.

    Also hats off to Oxo and Walcott for going over to applaud the Saints fans and the ovation they got from them too.

    Shezza was definitely not worth more than 5/10, at fault for the goal and woeful kicking considering he didn’t have much to do thats poor. As for possession I expect Southampton had more than us in the 2nd half because we became sloppy and they came into it more.

  • sbhgooner

    Got to agree with the 4.7 for szczesny though. Just wondered if it were to happen against a stronger team like man city or man utd when the score is 0-0. Wouldn’t that hurt the whole team. Just hope it doesnt happen again coz errors like that against stronger teams will certainly lower our chances of winning.

  • Family Enclosure Man

    I’m worried about Szczesny. He looked SO good when he first came into the team, but what on earth has happened to him over the past few months? The signs that he was struggling first started to appear towards the end of last season, then he had that nightmare (half-)game in the Euros, and now this: a terrible clanger under little pressure. I know he was carrying an injury towards the end of last season, and of course he’s just had a spell out with injury. Could it be that he’s just not fully fit, or is he losing it mentally? Is it my imagination, but does he look thinner and less imposing than he did a year ago?

  • 1NiltotheArsenal

    Tsk, tsk, now…
    After a pulsating match that is so full of the promise that this team holds, I wouldn’t dwell too long on Szczesny. Everyone would rather see us lose a clean sheet on an unstoppable wonder goal than on a GK error, but there were too many other positives for any lingering disappointment.

    Ramsey has climbed his way back and looked good off the bench. A welcome sign.

    Gervinho’s tactical positioning by Wenger and the Ivorian’s response to it were truly inspired. Although physically nothing like him at all, Gervinho played like his national team-mate Drogba in his heyday. Like Didi he was a terror and quite unplayable at times. To say nothing of Podolski…

    On top of that, WITHOUT Diaby and Wilshere who is soon to return, Arsenal have the best midfield in England. Cazorla and Arteta…what more is there to say, except…


  • Shakabula Gooner

    I am happy that we are ahead of where we were at this time last season.
    I am impressed with the competition for nearly every position and the flexibility it gives Wenger to experiment with players and positions (only guaranteed 1st elevens in my opinion are Santi, Arteta and, perhaps, TV).
    Like Wenger, I believe the squad still has more potential than it is currently showing and yet, it is currently performing among the best 4/5 in the EPL to date.
    Before the season opened, I felt ManCity and Chelsea were well ahead of Arsenal in quality and potential to rack up win after win but, on the strength of what has unfolded to date, I will not write off Arsenal’s chances in the EPL this season. I will not write our chances of winning against either ManCity or chelsea in our upcoming matches…too much optimism after 2wins in 4? Maybe. But I have seen worse Arsenal teams rise up to the challenge in big match-up to dismiss this emerging decent Arsenal team wtth such a deep bench and potential for unpredictable line-uos from Wenger!

  • alex

    It seems to me i am reading the `SUN ` newspaper after England win San marino or certain unheard names in the globe.World biters -untouchable.

    Yes we have a strong team and the bench look more promising .
    But again it is just Southampton a newly promoted team.
    They already came to us from back to back defeat so to me no wonders.It was highly expected the win albeit not by that margin of goals.

    If there is any new here is that on previous seasons we where struggling with lesser teams .This time around we earn the three point comfortably. Lets carry the good job.

  • Woolwich Peripatetic

    Southampton played more defensively than in either of the games against the Manchester sides and were annihilated. Again the hypocrisy is deafening. If ourselves and Spurs had squeaked past them before they were dismantled by Chelsea I doubt anyone would be saying “it’s only Southampton”.

  • Damien Luu

    It seems like Scz was not completely fit, simple as that. This might be a little fault from AW but, well, if I only had my No.3 keeper for 3 games, I would grab my No.1 as well.

  • Cameron Wolfe

    Hey Tony nice article.
    Sounds like you had a nice day out all round. I’m sure you enjoyed the drive home.
    Posession wise at one stage on ESPN had us at 70/30 but yes Southampton did come more into the game in the second half.
    I thought the tracking back of both Podolski and AOC( he was helping out Gibbs in the left back position) was excellent which I think is helping both the defense and our ability to hit teams on the break. Yet another game from which the whole team (Chez aside) gave a stellar performance.
    A note about the keeping position. It is a posioned chalice. He makes one mistake and it can lead to a goal just like yesterday. Remember for long periods of time he had nothing to do. Granted though his kicking was poor which is something I’m sure Arsenal will be working on. He’s still young. In fact a couple of years younger than Mannone. Let’s see who plays Tuesday?
    I also thought the bench looked really strong for the first time in a long while. liked the fact that Arsene left the team untouched for most of the game and Ramsey slotted in well when he came on. Looking back to his best.

    “But again it is just Southampton a newly promoted team.”
    The same team that a few weeks a go lead 2-1 both times against both the Mancs. They both just squeaked past Southampton.
    When you put six(6) past any EPL team. You sit back and enjoy the moment and the win.
    Gooner for life.

  • Cameron Wolfe

    The day this site starts to get anywhere near the depths of the Sun will be the day when I’ll find another site to read about Arsenal.

  • LRV

    It is good that the club is helping people to sell their unused tickets rather than letting it go to waste with a resulting empty seat. My son keeps buying me tickets even though I am most of the time at Bristol. The tickets are oftentimes not used as it is not really realistic for me to travel from Bristol to games. I only go when I am at home in London. I told him to stop buying for me, but he enjoys my company whenever I am around to go with him far too much to risk me not having a ticket. So far, my ticket no longer goes to waste as my son sells them on. He has a group of his Arsenal supporting friends on his list who oftentimes need tickets and often accompany him. Rather that than an empty seat in the stadium.

  • WalterBroeckx

    May I add that I found it rather funny to read the shirt sponsor on the Southampton shirts.
    Their shirt sponsor as I could read it was spelled: “aap” and that is the word in my language for “monkey”.

  • Woolwich Peripatetic

    If only they hadn’t sold Bale to Spurs, think of the captions!

    Actually, a picture of Bale with the word ‘monkey’ in Dutch written across his chest requires no caption.

  • elkieno

    For what it’s worth I felt that szesz had a bad game for his high standards. Remember when we had Almunia in goal he would drop balls like that and leave us vulnerable at corners, Stoke throw ins and free kicks. He was a good shot stopper and had that blinder of a game v barca. But we would come undone against any team used set pieces. Then the Pole came in and steadied the ship, bossed his area and now that weakness has vanished.
    So we need to give him some slack, having Mannone waiting in the wings to light a fire under him, he will be back to his best in no time. Remember also that Mannone v stoke dropouts a few balls or punched it out to someone lurking on edge of box, just lucky for him that they couldn’t capitolise on it.
    So just cos no goals were scored, a top side might have taken advantage.
    Can’t wait till tomorrow morning…hey Spurs this one for you!
    Champions League, ya having a laugh,
    Champions League, ya having a laugh,
    Etc etc