By Bulldog Drummond
So the boring stuff is over; I must admit I didn’t even get to see the scores let alone watch anything. But now we are back to football.
And Mr Wenger has given us a bit to think about. For instead of just saying that Jack W would play again for Arsenal at some stage he said that Jack would be captain and “Certainly, one day, he will be in my seat. He has a real football brain and understands football. It’s in his genes.
“I see him in the future at this club, of course. He will spend his life in football, he is a football man. He has an eye on everybody – it’s in him. You have that or you haven’t got it, but he is a real football man.
“We have all been his age wanting to play football but we didn’t have Jack’s talent. You imagine what he must feel like when he cannot play, with everything he can do. It is very frustrating. What is at stake for him is just playing. He is not yet completely at his physical level. If you look at the number of games he has played recently, you cannot be at the competitive level he wants to be.”
So Jack the captain; Jack the manager. There’s a thought.
As for today the general feeling is that Mustafi’s knock wasn’t serious enough to stop him playing so he’ll come in. And here’s a Mustafi fact he made 160 clearances and 133 interceptions with Valencia last season, more than any other player in La Liga.
I think Lucas Pérez will be on the beach and be ready to come on, on the hour, ready to turn Southampton upside down as they adjust to a totally different type of player. Alexis will threaten to hit Mr Wenger if he is not allowed to play, so is allowed to play. Iwobi or the Ox can come on for him if he is taken off, also on the hour.
That gives us a team of
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Bellering Mustafi Koscileny Monreal
Walcott Ozil Alexis
And so on the beach in goal we either have Ooooooospina or Martínez as the keeper, depending on whether Oooooospina has recovered from his trip back from South America. He returned to England Thursday night.
We have three defenders ready to take up the cause: Debuchy, Holding, Gibbs,
In the midfield awaiting their chance: Coquelin, Elneny,
Attacking midfield in reserve then looks like Oxlade-Chamberlain, and Iwobi,
Up front Pérez and Akpom stand by.
And that’s just the back up team. But as you will have spotted that’s nine players and we can only have seven. I think Debuchy and Akpom will fail to make it.
The jolly old injury list is pretty familiar: Welbeck, Jenkinson and Mert are the long term missing. The shorter term crew is Ramsey who is about a week away and Gabriel maybe two or three weeks.
That makes five which puts us ninth in the injury league. Southampton are 11th with four. Stoke are top with seven.
And here is something rather interesting that isn’t generally highlighted. Arsenal have scored six goals – each one scored by a different person. Which gives the opposition a bit of a concern as to who they are watching as Arsenal attack. Here’s the list of goalscorers in alphabetical order: Cazorla, Chambers, Ox-Chamberlain, Özil, Sánchez, Walcott.
What most people have however realised is that Arsenal have no less than three former Southampton players in their first-team squad. Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Calum Chambers.
Of course after an interlull it is always hard to work out exactly how players will come back to the real action. Özil looks to be at his absolute peak at the moment. He scored for Germany in their game against Finland, and for Arsenal against Watford, as well as doing that amazing pass to Alexis for his goal. I suspect we might this season see him break the assists record that he got so close to last time around. Also he could score, since he has not scored a league goal at the Ems since the 2-0 win against Bournemouth on 28 December.
Re Southampton we’ve had two knockabout wins in recent years: on 15 September 2012 we beat them 6-1 and before that on 7 May 2003 we had rather an important win against them by the same scoreline – 6-1. It was the start of the 49.
Their keeper Forster seemingly can play despite not being able to go for a muckabout with England. Bertrand seems to have recovered but the Pied piper hasn’t and the new boy record signing Sofiane Boufal is also recovering from a “little injury” as his manager puts it.
The other spot of news is that Southampton have gone 15 games without a clean sheet.
And a few more bits and pieces.
- Despite everyone saying we have a terrible record against Southampton we are unbeaten in 21 league matches at home to them. The last was a 1-0 defeat in November 1987.
- But we have won just one of the last six meetings with Southampton in all competitions.
- We have scored nil against them in the last three.
A defeat today would mean we would stay on four points of course, which was where we were in 1994/5 and 2011/12, and it would be the first set of consecutive home defeats since 2011. On the other hand Arsenal are undefeated in 11 of their last 12 home matches against Southampton in all competitions.
As for Southampton they have not kept a clean sheet in their last 15 games.
- Southampton are yet to secure their first win under Claude Puel this season having drawn two of their opening three matches.
And one more snippet:
- Santi Cazorla has been directly involved in three of Arsenal’s six league goals so far this season, scoring once and assisting twice. How we missed him last year.
That’s it. Time to go.
Walter is away on holiday so no follow up report this week. Sorry.
- Maybe we should be more gentle on the Anti-Wengerian journalists and their fellow travellers?
- Arsenal v Southampton Sat 10 September 2016 – The Match Officials
- Real Madrid and Atlético Madrid banned from making transfers for a year. English clubs next?