We all know the drill here: if we win at this stage of the competition we all talk about how good it will be for the youngsters to have a day out at Wembley and all that and if we lose, as we did, then we remind ourselves that we really have bigger fish to fry. I’ll start heating the frying pan then……………
Southampton were the better team or at least that is how it appeared on my blurry stream and they scored two very well taken goals; that, in a nut shell, is the match report. What we got from the game; or, at least, what we got from my perspective, was that we got to see a bit more of Sanchez’ understudy: Perez; we got to see a bit more of Ozil’s understudy: Ramsey and we got to see Theo’s understudy: Oxlade-Chamberlain and my conclusion is heaven help us if our starting front line suffers a flu epidemic, cus we ain’t gonna be scorin a whole lotta goals.
The same is true with the defence really in the sense that we saw the understudies for the whole of the first choice back line and that includes Jenkinson for Bellerin. There was a lot of talk about Jenks being dropped last Sunday due to his performance against PSG, I don’t agree with that, I think it was a clear attempt to get Debuchy back and ready for the January transfer window; this is not financially motivated by the club, this is Arsene trying to help a senior player find a way to finish his career; Wenger did the same with Rosicky last season and unfortunately the same thing happened: Super Tom sustained an injury on his first outing. The difference between the two is that Debuchy has two more years left on his contract so we could see him again: we do of course need back up for the currently injured Bellerin and we might again in the future.
No, Jenkinson wasn’t dropped on Sunday in the same way as he wasn’t subbed for a poor performance last evening; he was subbed because right now he is very valuable to the first team. Maitland-Niles (Cons) replaced him but it was hard to get an understanding of just how good he is although there was one very impressive 40 yard diagonal pass that he let go with pin point accuracy. This seems like the classic Arsene three layer position: First team player: Bellerin; experienced back up: Jenkinson and youthful up and comer: Maitland-Niles (Cons).
Back to the attack: I still have high hopes for Perez; I know that people’s view has dipped from the initial expectation but in my view it was the initial expectation that was wrong; a classic a case of watching the YouTube clips and expecting far more than was ever realistic so in his first game when Lionel Messi didn’t appear everyone let out a big sigh of disappointment. We should remember that we were all crying out for someone who can play with Ozil and Sanchez; that’s to say someone who can combine with them on the floor rather than Giroud who adds aerial umpff. I still think this could happen, in my view we have not seen what Perez can do at all.
Ramsey was Ramsey last night he had the rare opportunity to play his favoured position, the Özil role if you like; the one he played so well in the World Cup, the thing that people like me have recently been forgetting is that probably one of the reasons that Ramsey shone so brightly in that competition was that he was playing with Bale ahead of him and my hopes for Perez may be high but they are not that high. All in all it was a bit wishy washy from Aaron.
And on the subject of wishy washy, no not Oxlaide-Chamberlain, Iwobi: not enough goal threat at all, the boy has plateaued and needs to find a way to kick on.
Elneny was fine, taken off for what I hope were precautionary measures rather than something serious and was replaced by Xhaka who started showing some glimpses of the commanding role he was obviously brought in to play.
Reine-Adalaide was a disappointment, in the sense that one of the silver linings from this kind of game is that we usually get a glimpse of something special from one of the real youngsters, well not last night. I am starting to get a bit dower as I am prone to do when we lose so I am going to stop here and leave the last word to Micky.
“If we were being really brutally honest with ourselves, we’d admit it’s a poxy tournament anyway”
An LB offering.