How would we react following a two week International break?
Well, the fans certainly got right back into their stride and were clearly showing Grade A Withdrawal Symptoms. The Arsenal came out of the blocks fast enough, as did The Saints. A good game appeared to be on the cards.
Twice in the opening 17 minutes, The Arsenal hit the woodwork. From a delicate chip across the face of goal from Jack, and a wonderful Mesut pass directed back heel from Aaron.
On 22 minutes, we were treated to one of those memorable goalkeeping clangers. Here, our Pole proved why he is THE Pole in Goal, as his opposite number failed miserably to emulate the silky skills of our No 1. Pressure from Ollie, and he fumbled his lines. 1-0.
Then The BFG had his Flak Jacket tugged. Penalty. Ollie 2-0.
Look, you’ve all seen the game, so you know these things. So, my feelings about the overall performance?
Back Five: The Dog’s Swingers these boys, they really are. Every one of them. At least 10 points each.
Defensive Midfield: Not the best of days here, although very much job done. That Wagamama Bloke of Raddy’s sure was a big unit, and I bet I wasn’t alone when looking at him and thinking “Ooooo”.
Next Three: I have to say that I’m not convinced that the moving parts are as interchangeable as Arsene likes to think. Santi started slowly, and although his second half was fresher and crisper, I’m not sure we will ever see the best of him away from the No 10 role, while the movement between Jack, Santi and Mesut did sometimes appear to baffle and confuse themselves as much as the Saints defence.
Right, back to that No 10. Why move Aaron from there, Arsene? Have you gone mad? You’re a defensive midfielder short without Flamini, so you move your form player and top scorer. Quite baffling. I wrote very recently how Jack will only move to the next level when he learns to move the ball faster. Yesterday it appeared he was aiming for as many Saints bodies as possible. Apart from moves breaking down, the most likely outcome is him breaking down. He is still very close to being a seriously top player, and I love his energy and movement.
Up Top: Ollie. Worked exceptionally hard. Scored twice. Great work.
Overall, very pleased. However, it was clear that there was some ring rust. Individuals were performing well, but the usual fluidity lacked lubrication. It would also be unfair not to praise what has been achieved at Southampton.
I’m sure many of you recall some of the whingers’ classic lines “bloody tippy tappy football, no end product. Look at Utd who know how to win ugly”.
Now, some people look great until you remove the make-up. Well, if yesterday was us without the slap on, then gis’ us a snog!
Today, we are even Topper of The League than we were yesterday morning. Very hard not to like that.
Feelings by MickyDidIt