Southampton 1 Arsenal 1: Same old story for sloppy Gunners

Some things in life are cyclical and if you observe them for long enough a pattern will emerge. The four seasons, for example, occur in the same order every year — not a tricky one to spot, that. But there is a similar, more subtle pattern to a contemporary Arsenal side and it goes something like this:

1) Arsenal play some decent football, score a few goals and rack up the points. Supporters, the media and especially the manager lavish praise upon them. The players relax as they are arrogant enough to believe their own hype and their manager doesn’t have the ability to keep them motivated.

2) A casual Arsenal underestimate a supposedly ‘inferior’ side and seem surprised that their mere presence on the pitch isn’t enough to guarantee victory as they fail to beat QPR/Swansea/Norwich/Bradford/Southampton etc

3) With confidence now low, a poor run of results ensues and fans realise they are being short-changed. Players and the manager are booed and phone-ins debate whether Wenger is still the right man for the job.

4) Stung by the criticism, the players knuckle down and eventually do what they are paid for. Results start to improve and Wenger is able to deflect attention from the real issues at the club with some clever spin which many gullible fans swallow. However, deep-rooted problems remain.

5) Go to 1).

Yes, we’ve been here before. This pattern is the reason I wasn’t too excited when we knocked seven past Newcastle. It’s sad, but I was pretty sure the next setback was just around the corner. It came a week earlier than I expected in truth, but if you examine our recent run of good league results the warning signs were there. We only played really well against Reading, who were awful and in a few months time will be a Championship side again. The win over West Brom was ponderous and we needed two penalties, one of which came from Cazorla’s outrageous dive, to see them off. A spot kick was also needed against Wigan, who should have had at least one of their own in injury time and deserved a point. We were getting the rub of the green alright.

Southampton held by Arsenal

Outplayed and outfought by Southampton. What a disgrace

The Newcastle game was truly amazing and we were excellent going forward, especially Theo, but 7-3 doesn’t tell the whole story. I didn’t get a chance to write a report on that match, but I would’ve noted that it was evenly balanced at 3-3 on 70 minutes. Then injury-hit Newcastle — who had to play a left-back at centre-half and didn’t enjoy a Boxing Day rest like us — ran out of energy dramatically and we took advantage. The brilliance of Theo and the sheer drama of those three late goals (which added an unfair gloss to the scoreline) completely overshadowed earlier deficiencies. As such nobody questioned our comical defending, the lacklustre first half performance and how we only managed 45% possession on our own pitch because we don’t have a proper defensive midfielder to win the ball back.

Also bear in mind that those four victories came against teams in positions 5th, 19th, 18th and 14th. And now we’ve just drawn with the team in 17th place. The tricky opponents are yet to come!

I’m far too disillusioned to write about the match itself. If you want to know how we played, read my report from the Norwich game back in October because it’s pretty similar, the only difference being that our recent run of good luck continued today when an own goal earned us an undeserved point. We had one shot on target all game and Szczesny was by far and away our best player.

At least Wenger didn’t bullshit us in his post-match interview. He said:

It is frustrating. It is nothing to with the physical. Maybe we thought we scored seven against Newcastle and we’d score seven today. It was a game of magnitude today against a highly motivated Southampton side but I thought [our problem] was more mental than physical.

That’s as near as you’ll ever get to hearing Wenger admit his side weren’t up for it. Again. Why does this keep happening? It’s Wenger’s job to make sure they’re motivated for every single game but he repeatedly fails to do so.

He continued:

We prepared normally and prepared well.

Well then, that’s the problem. If your preparations went well and you still produced a performance like that, they can’t be very good can they? Something is seriously wrong with your methods Wenger because this keeps happening.

Meanwhile Spurs won again, without Bale, and are moving away from us. We still have to visit White Hart Lane and they look so much better than us that I can’t see us catching them. Yes we were in a similar position last year, but as I’ve said many times before, we don’t have van Persie anymore.

The only good news is that the transfer window is now open, although I don’t think we’ll buy anyone of note. Maybe a promising youngster like Zaha, but I can’t see Wenger splashing the cash on a quality, ready-made star. He will try to do things on the cheap again and that includes getting Walcott to sign a contract. It is absolutely ludicrous that our top scorer is now free to talk to other clubs and I can’t think of a better way to illustrate just how badly our club is being run these days.

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  1. jatupon

    Southampton superb

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    • Shanzuman

      Disagree, if they are than they should have beaten a very drab Arsenal display!!

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  2. JOEL

    You are correct in everything that you say.Unfortunately nothing will change whilst so many fans and more crucially the Board believe that Wenger is correct in everything he does.Until he goes/the Board is changed Arsenal will continue to “flatter to deceive” and we the fans (the ones who don’t wear rose tinted glasses)will continue to be frustrated.

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    • Shanzuman


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  3. para

    I completele agree with your assessment. The AFC is going from bad to worse. It is as if they, the owners, do not want to win anything at all ever again.
    Watching the match, i switched off after the first half, knowing we were going to get beat, and if Southhampton had not scored for us, we would have too.
    On another matter “Cazorla’s outrageous dive”. Well as i pointed out if people bothered to watch the slow motion it was very clear that contact was made, you can see the leg of Cazorla bend as contact was made. AND diving IS part of football so it is not outrageous. Any team that does not do it are fools if everyone else uses it to win games.

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    WHAT IS WORSE than d return of ABOU DIABY? Wenger would say he is like a new signing,then by JAN.31 he get injured again

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  5. Spectrum

    The familiar transfer pattern is already evident, too.It’s reported that yes, we’ve made a bid for Adrian Lopez.He has a buy-out clause, but we offered JUST LESS than the amount required ! Why not pay the FULL fee, and get our man ? We CAN afford it.The only thing stopping the deal is a lack of will.We’d rather settle for cheap inferior players from the French league, or continue to “invest” in kids, who don’t deliver. Because folks, that’s the Wenger way. Always has been, always will be.Time for a taxi for the old fool.

    But it’s not just about transfers.It’s the same pattern that the writer so concisely explained above.So entirely predictable that it reinforces what I’ve always maintained ; “In Arsene we rust.”

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  6. Spectrum

    para – So if someone stole my car from my driveway, it’s okay for me to come around your house to steal yours, eh ? Cheating is despicable in any sport or competitive endeavour. If you can’t play fairly and win on your own merits, apart from cheating the supporters, you’re dishonouring yourself. Just because “everyone else does it”, doesn’t make it right or acceptable.”Two wrongs don’t make a right”, as the saying goes.

    It’s this kind of attitude that contributes to the ills of society today.

    “In Arsene we rust.”

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  7. theGoon

    I cant believe someone took the exact words out of my mouth. perfect post.Iam at the end here and i don’t plan on watching another match, its just rediculously glaringly obvious the club, manager, board have no ambition. the more i look at us the more I put myself in RVP’s shoes. I know most of us were upset that as he player he had the audacity to question the way the club is being run but honestly if you were in that squad with the fans perspective that we have would you not question the future of the club especially if you were about to sign your last football contract?? The truth is RVP left for Man U cause he wanted the most chance for honours, the guy still watches our games and i can just imagine the way he is feeling right ” Phew that would me in that team struggling for top four “. I hate to admit but its painful to say Wenger is probably the best development coach But Fergie is the best manager around, he uses pure common sense and keeps things simple.Any idiot can see there was an arrogance air about our play in 15mins but what does Wenger and vermalaen the Captain tenow h The arrogance of our players and I guess where they get it ll us after the match? “We were poor, sloppy, complacent” c’mon what the HELL is that?!!!!! Why cant you as captain do your Job and tell the players during the game that they are slacking? and I only learnt from Tony adams on MOTD that Wenger give no Half time talk AT ALL!!! if they are down the only thing that comes from his mouth is (in french accent)”RECOVERRRRR”. what the hell !!!?. Any idiot knows when your team performs like that they know you’re going to rip into them!what is this kindagarten??? in conclusion Arsenal is a mickey mouse club, hence we got Gazidis of Disney,and All our players are left to be self motivated and self discovery and hence they have no accountabilty structures at the club so everyone is given room to play as they feel, hence we lack the discipline you catch my drift? That explains why Cesc left, RVP and Theo hoggin over his new contract. Wenger aint no Father figure, if he was the players would have more respect for Him and would repay him on their perfomance on the pitch, He is more some Santa Clause figure. His persistence with his philosophy of players having self leadership/motivation, his arrogant approach to avoid talking to players during poor performances and at half time, his naivity at not benching below par players and tactics is outstandingly amazing.Why the heck is sagna still playing with perfomances like that when Jenkinson can play better. Honestly, why are fans still attending the games? yes we love the club and not the management but people please let us send a clear signal to the club.

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  8. Spectrum

    the Goon – If that reported story about Wenger not giving a half time talk is accurate, it doesn’t surprise me.His only philosophy that he drills into the players is “Attack”. So why the need to bother telling them anything else, when they know “what’s expected” of them ? We’re so predictably one dimensional it’s funny. Same formation, same high line of defence, same players picked regardless of how out of form they are ( Ramsey for instance, who rarely fails to get picked ),same defensive blunders, players out of position,continual lack of motivation,the list goes on.

    Oh and did I mention Ramsey gets given a new contract ? Almost as funny as us selling Van Persie to our “rivals” Man Utd. “for footballing reasons” Yeah, there are eighteen football reasons that separate us from where they are right now at the top of the ladder, and his goals have greatly contributed to that gap ( or should that be “chasm ” ).Helping them to win the league. But why not ? We don’t have a chance of doing it.

    “In Arsene we rust.”

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  9. Withwengerwerust

    Hi everyone
    I have simply lost count of the number of times the damn prof does the same mistakes, those lies he keeps telling, his blind obstinacy, his lack of activity in transfer windows. Balancing the book every single year so that there is a zero investment policy from the board. Surely there would come a time when the pot will overflow and now is the time. Whatever Wenger will do in this particular transfer period will certainly be too late as the unresolved problems have accumulated. By the way i have to thank the AKB brigade, they have given Wenger ample time to destroy the team.
    How could anybody imagine that Giroud will replace Van Persie on his first EPL season? If the bloody prof thought so then he must be given a kick in the ass and sent back to Japan.
    Anyway i really think that it will take a lot of time to recover from that mess that Wenger has started eight years ago. I don’t think we shall recover easily from the loss of Van Persie and that’s the worst thing that could have happened to us as our mad accountant (in lieu of mad coach) knows only one style of play which depends on an impressive scorer (remember Henri, Adebayor, Van Persie)
    So lets be patient and wait for him to go, to get back our Arsenal.

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