By Walter Broeckx
There is no excuse for starting as slow as we did. Southampton did a great job. They were all over us all over the pitch. We didn’t get the chance to start our passing and at the end the players ran and ran with the ball until they lost it and Southampton could counter. This was really not the Arsenal we know.
Now of course when you play bad it doesn’t mean that the ref should assist the other team. I have seen the “foul” from Mertesacker a dozen times now and I really cannot see what was the foul. He cleanly played the ball and then the Southampton player went down. This was never a foul. To ad insult to the injury Southampton scored from the free kick that was given.
And this time there really was a foul. But the ref closed his eyes. Long before the ball arrived at Fonte he was holding his arm in the shoulder/ neck of Monreal so Monreal couldn’t jump. He was using Monreal as a ladder to hold himself in the air. Any decent ref would have given the foul. But this was Mason and we knew what to expect. And he delivered.
We could have had two penalties. One for handball and one when Koscielny was pulled down in the Southampton penalty area. But hey this is Mason and his penalty area fever. How predictable. May I add another moment when the assistant let an offside go for Southampton but lucky Koscielny came to the rescue with a last ditch tackle.
Giroud got a yellow but the cards for Southampton players was kept in the pocket. This was Mason in his typical style. Southampton was the better team in the first half and we needed to do better in the second half.
And we did. It was a bit the reverse of the first half but this time Arsenal well in the driving seat. Sagna nicking the ball away from the Southampton defender and Giroud with a nice flick to set the score level. And minutes later Özil with a pass to Cazorla who put it in the far corner with a lovely turning ball. That was the answer we needed from Arsenal.
But alas we got carried away a bit and a minute later Southampton equalised when our defence didn’t look good.
The game was then a very open game. With chances for both teams but the best came for Monreal who blasted wide when he should have hit the target at least.
Then we have to give credit to Mason. He made a right decision. He gave a red card against Flamini for a two footed tackle. He got the ball but it doesn’t matter. It is a reckless and dangerous tackle and a red card should be given. So no complaints?
Of course I have something to complain. How come the rules for this only apply against Arsenal players? From the back of my head I remember Newcastle not even given a foul. At Manchester City a foul from Touré and again not even given a foul. Why are there two sets of rules? One against Arsenal and for the other teams? Ah, it will even out probably….
Flamini was foolish to go in to the tackle like that. But I think that he got the impression that all could be done with this ref. Sorry Mathieu, you should have read Untold to know that this is not the case. The worst part is that we will now miss him in the next 3 games. So hopefully we will have Jack or Aaron back for those matches as we will need one of them for sure.
Speaking of Jack, Aaron and Rosicky by the way. I think we missed one of them very much today. They are very fit players with a great engine and can pressure the other team. Now with Flamini and Arteta playing we had two holding midfielders and not enough pressure up front and that gave Southampton too much time in that part of the field and gave them the upper hand. But if they are not fit, you cannot play them.
After that it was a case of keeping the one point on board. The Ox was flagged offside by the assistant who missed a big offside for Southampton in the first half and now it looked as if he was level. Just a case of evening things out I think.
But the fact that the ref handed them the first goal was not what they should have got. But oh, wait a minute… wasn’t Southampton hard done by a few weeks ago? No better time to even things out when Arsenal is around I think.
One has to give credit to Southampton for their forward play. The made life difficult for us and I hope they will continue to do this in the remaining fixtures when they play the other top teams.
And for us we should focus on the next match. And do better. I hope this is a good warning sign for the whole team that we should step up.
And in the mean time… we can hope for a little result from that former Middlesex team. A draw would do me nicely.
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- Arsenal v Tottenham: the key fact the media won’t to tell you – and why they won’t