Southampton. Match Report and Player Ratings

February 25, 2019

A few years ago one of our bloggers (I think it was Kelsey) wrote a match report without having seen any of the game. Sometimes this is for the best. The second half of yesterday’s game was certainly a case in point.

At least our game had goals; the two other “Season Defining”  (according to Sky) games played yesterday afternoon were snooze-fests with only one shot on target in both games!! Call that entertainment? The only talking point were the Chav’s hissy fits, which were hugely enjoyable.


So … we kicked off. Played some fine football for 20 minutes. Ramsey made his presence felt, Iwobi entertained. Two defensive lapses, some clinical finishing and we were two up. I could stop here because until Auba came on it was a dull watch.

In the second half it was difficult to tell which team was in the relegation zone, we created nothing, S’ton created nothing. Auba’s arrival saw an injection of pace and he could have scored a couple. Ozil made a few lovely moves – one pass to free Auba, off the outside of his boot, was wonderfully creative.

A calf injury (?) to Licht could be costly. We created nothing down the right with Mhiki making little impact apart from his goal. Who knew that Bellerin was such an important player?

No Suarez. Why did we sign him?

Player Ratings:

Leno: Little to do but made one superb save near the end.   7

Lichtsteiner: Had little work defensively. Created nothing and his link play with Mhiki needs work.     5

Mustafi. Played well. I feared the worst when Austin came on, but our CB’s stopped S’ton from creating a single clear chance.      7

Sokratis:: Another solid game. I love that he is first in when there is a rumpus, almost TA-esque.    7

Kolasinac: His link play with Iwobi improves. Had little work to do defensively. 103 touches – the most in the team   6

Xhaka: Solid. Made 2 key passes at 90+% accuracy.    7

Torreira. Busy as always yet didn’t have his usual influence. Rusty?    7

Ramsey. Deserved the ovation he received when subbed.  Worked hard.     8

Mhki. Not one of his best afternoon’s. Had he not scored I would not have known he was playing. A point for the goal     6

Iwobi. Very pleased he tries the outlandish. He is the one player with a touch of the Kanu about him. Faded in the second half     7

Lacazette. Led the line, battled, scored. 5 shots, 4 aerial battles won.My MotM.  8

Koscielny. Came on for Licht. Ran about    6

Ozil. Just a few minutes but we improved offensively.  He has to start.   7

Auba. Could have scored a couple against a tiring defence. Bad luck or bad finishing?   6

Written by Big Raddy


Saints Alive! – Mesut starts again?

February 24, 2019

Since David Wagner took over at Southampton in December, they’ve won 4, lost 4 and drawn 3 in the league. Their victories included our dreadful performance at St Mary’s when the bounce effect of a new manager was in full force. Under Mark Hughes they were tending to draw or get battered, so it was definitely the correct thing to do to get rid of such a loathsome specimen, since it looked very likely he would have taken them down.

AFP Images

They still sit in the bottom three but are vying to escape that third relegation spot with 5 other teams only a couple of points above them. That’s assuming Fulham and Huddersfield are doomed. We must ensure they get no points from their trip to The Home of Football to help with their fight against relegation.

Team news

Kos is a doubt after his knock against Bate but as a replacement, Big Sok fills me with confidence – even when paired with Shirley. (If anyone is offended by the gentle ribbing of Shkodran’s abilities, then please don’t be as he is as important as any other member of the squad and has given us some outstanding performances already this season). There still appear to be some doubts about Mavro’s fitness but this has been difficult to confirm.

Will Mesut retain a starting place? That is the burning issue team selection-wise. Unai was quick to suggest that Mesut isn’t guaranteed a starting spot after Thursday’s win. Perhaps Ramsey will be asked to play in the free role again. It’s the sixty four thousand dollar question.

Getty Images

Up front Laca will be itching to get back into the action. I’d imagine he’ll start in the next few Prem games while Auba is wrapped in cotton wool for the Rennes tie as our only eligible senior striker. Wobbly should keep his place as he’s been one of our outstanding recent performers. Maybe Denis Suarez could get a start to replace Micki who’s been looking a little jaded? It would be great to see what he can do when he plays for longer than 15 minutes.

Team news update – according to Jeorge Bird on twitter, both Kos and A.M-N were in full training on Saturday, so both could start. Eddie Nk also trained with the first team.

Possible Team



………….Terrier ……..Granit



Our home form is good in the League, unbeaten in 12 – including six wins on the bounce in our last half a dozen.

Score predictions in the comments, please (as it drew a few on Thursday).

Another strong performance in front of the Emirates unfaithful, please lads.



Arsenal FC – Our home record against the Saints

February 23, 2019

Southampton FC was founded in 1885 and plays their home games at St. Mary’s Stadium. The stadium opened in 2001 and has a capacity of 32,589; it is the biggest stadium in the south of England, outside of London. The stadium was built to replace ‘The Dell’, where Southampton played between 1898 and 2001.

The Dell – a ramshackle ground with great character

The club has been nicknamed “The Saints” since the club was founded in 1885. This is because it was founded as a church football team and was originally called St Mary’s Young Men’s Association. The club was renamed Southampton F.C. after the club won the Southern League in 1897, but the nickname has endured.

The current manager is Ralph Hasenhüttl who was appointed on 5 December 2018, succeeding Mark Hughes. His first game in charge was a 0–1 defeat at Cardiff City. His first win as Southampton’s manager came on 16 December in a 3–2 win at home to Arsenal ending the Gunners’ 4-month 22-match unbeaten run.

His record as a manager is –

Southampton have played in the Premier League for a total of 16 seasons, they have been relegated once, in 2004-05, but were promoted back to the Premier League in 2011/2012. They reached the Premier League after back to back promotions from the third and second divisions.

Our overall home record against the Saints is extremely solid, just 2 losses, and they have not managed a single win against us in the Premier League – the last time they won a game was a slender 1-0 victory at Highbury on November 21, 1987.

Memorable home fixtures against Southampton

23rd September 1995 – Arsenal 4 Southampton 2

The press had made a massive thing about our new £7.5m Dutch signing not scoring yet with September nearly over, in true clickbait style. After 17 minutes in glorious Highbury sunshine, their story was dead in the water and a new legend born. Glenn Helder sent a looping cross over to the far post and DB10 thumped a well-controlled volley into the far corner. Bould and Adams conjured a second with the near-post flick on routine, before Southampton sneaked two back before half-time. Dennis crashed in his superb swerving second to restore the lead in the 68th minute and Wrighty squeezed in a 4th a few minutes later.

Dennis Bergkamp celebrates scoring his goal for Arsenal with Ian Wright, Lee Dixon, Ray Parlour and Paul Merson. Highbury September 1995 by Stuart MacFarlane

7th May 2003 – Arsenal 6 Southampton 1

This double hat-trick game became the very first match in a sequence of 49 unbeaten, encompassing the tail end of 2002/3, the whole of 2003/4 and 9 games of the 2004/5 season. Jermaine Pennant scored his hat-trick inside 10 minutes in the first half and two for Robert Pires made it 5-1 at half-time. Bobby completed his hat-trick with the goal of the game, a sublime chip over the stranded Southampton keeper. Forty eight more Arsenal teams were to leave the field in the next 18 months without being beaten.

Match odds

There is a 18.9% chance of a draw. In simulations where the game is not a draw Arsenal, at 71.5%, are heavy favourites to beat Southampton who have a 9.6% chance.

In simulation wins, Southampton upsets Arsenal by averaging 7.7 shots and 3.2 shots on goal. They average 1.7 goals in simulated victories vs just 0.4 in simulation losses. Overall, the average simulation score is Arsenal 2.2 to Southampton 0.6.

It is inconceivable that Ralph Hasenhüttl would become the first Southampton manager to have back to back home and away wins against us, therefore I foresee a resounding victory.


Pre-Match & Our away record against the Saints

December 16, 2018

A double dose today; our away stats from the ever accurate GN5 followed by a gentle pre-match from Raddy.

Our first game against The Saints was at home in the FA Cup on March 26, 1927 and ended in a 2-1 victory for Arsenal, incredibly we never played them again until we met in  Division 1 game at home on December 26, 1966 (39 years later) and then played them again the very next day.

Premier League away record

Overall league away record

Football – 1991 / 1992 First Division – Southampton 0 Arsenal 4. David Rocastle of Arsenal celebrates with goalscorer Ian Wright, at The Dell. Wright scored a hat trick on what was his Arsenal league debut. 28/09/1991

The Saints have proven to be very difficult for Arsenal to beat at St. Mary’s, our record in the last 8 games being W2, D4, L2, GF8, GA11.

So far 2018/19 has been a tough campaign for The Saints they have won just one game, away to Crystal Palace, their home record is a miserable W0, D5, L2, GF6, GA10. Their last home game was on December 1st and Manchester U was fortunate to come away with a 2-2 draw.

I leave it up to the pundits to pick a winner but it could be a tricky game.

Historic Southampton Trivia

  1. God’s House Tower, on the corner of Town Quay, Lower Canal Walk and Platform Road, was the first dedicated artillery fortification built in England. It was constructed in 1417, as part of the drive to fortify Southampton following the French raids some 80 years earlier. The town gunner was paid sixpence a week.
  2. The Central Parks in Southampton were common land (Lammas lands) for residents of the medieval town, and used for cultivation up until August each year, when they were then used for grazing cattle. The bell on the top of the Bargate was used to alert those working in the fields when to return inside the town walls. The parks were made into the green leisure spaces enjoyed by many today, in the mid 1800s and the cricket pitches in Hoglands Park have been used almost continuously since 1867.                                                      
  3. Southampton played a major role in the success of fish fingers. Clarence Birdseye tested herring sticks and cod sticks on shoppers in Southampton and South Wales. The Southampton customers loved the cod sticks, which then became known as fish fingers and rolled out across the country.


Enjoy the game and let’s see if they can make it 23 games in a row unbeaten.


St. Mary’s has been a mixed bag over the years, as you can see from GN5’s stats. I recall the days of Laurie McMenemy, Mick Channon, Le Tiss and a very curly Kevin Keegan. No such stars there any more. I wonder of Le Tiss, who was a footballing genius, would have stayed at STFC had he been playing today.

Southampton are struggling, having been Mark Hughes’ed over the recent past; how he gets work is incredible. Their new manager is another German import, David Wagner, and we must hope AFC do not suffer from S’ton’s efforts to impress their new chap.

BTW never liked Shane Long, he looks too much like a haddock in my opinion.

S’ton haven’t won a game in ages, we haven’t lost in ages. Worrying isn’t it?

It will be a makeshift defence but the reurn of Kos and Nacho is timely. Ramsey will surely start.

My Team:


Catwalk   Kos   Nacho   Wardrobe

Ramsey  Terrier   Xhaka


Laca   PEA

There is little chance that I have predicted the team – Mr. Emery confounds us all. AMN could start, so could Wobbly or Mhiki or the Swiss fella.

Given the form of the teams above us it is imperative Arsenal maintain their unbeaten run.

Let it Be So

written by Big Raddy


Southampton: MWG?

May 10, 2017

Just in case anyone is getting ahead of themselves and thinking this will be an easy win, may I point out that we have not won at St Mary’s in our last 5 visits plus we have lost 5 of our last 6 away matches. We need a win because if we draw or, heaven forbid, lose, the rest of the season is just filling in time until the Cup Final.


Beating both Manchester clubs must give some confidence to our troops and given Liverpool’s odd form there are genuine chances for a top 4 finish (though Stoke will be difficult).

Southampton are a strange team, sometimes they play attacking positive football, at others they are just dour, evidenced by just 39 goals for (44 conceded). In a season which has seen the EPL split into two divisions S’to are just 4 places below us in 10th yet 21 points behind.

Tonight’s referee is John Moss and just to show that I never bear grudges may I ask you to recall the action below. Moss was refereeing that day and did not even give a free kick! IMO it was one of the most dangerous, deliberate fouls I have seen. Moss is known for “letting play flow”, I call it bottling major decisions. He was also the referee when we played Burnley at home earlier this season and Barton got away with grabbing Iwobi’s face.

I do not expect much change from Sunday’s team – Koscielny may be injured and being so important is likely to be rested. Hence …

My Team


Holding    Mustafi   Monreal

Ox   Ramsey   Xhaka   Gibbs

Ozil     Sanchez


Once again, I would prefer to play someone other than Gibbs though he did play well in the second half on Sunday. Gabriel may return in place of Holding.

Southampton were super dull against Liverpool and I can see no reason why they shouldn’t be so tonight. Puel’s job is apparently under threat, though what do S’ton’s BoD expect? Puel has done OK with limited resources. What he does have is a very good defence which is why we have to score in the first half to make an entertaining game otherwise we are in for another night of tension, possession, dilly-dallying and reluctance to shoot.

Bang one in early and we could be kushtie

Let it be So


What went wrong? …….. Was it just one of those nights?

February 3, 2016

These are the thoughts of some AA regulars ……

Kelsey ……

If I continue in the way I am known to express myself I am apparently a doomer but others who can be far more critical than me don’t even get a response.

I actually thought apart from the now familiar juttering start that we were very unlucky to not win and there is no doubt that their keeper was on top form.

I don’t have the technical knowledge of others such as GIE and there is no doubting our stamina but I feel every game we play we are getting more and more predictable that I can see the next move before it happens and therefore if I can see it so every team we play will have a plan to stop us which in recent weeks has led to no wins in four vital matches whilst the other contenders march on despite dropping the odd point here and there.

We really either don’t have a different way of playing or AW will not alter things dramatically.You decide.

We will know in the next month if we are still in with a shout of the title or (dread to think) in a battle for forth yet again.

The margins in so many games are getting finer as the seasons roll on.

I don’t usually get involved in a discussion about refs but in the first half he showed a definite bias against us.

I am not going to critisize any one player only to say the Kos/Gabriel partnership is not as good as I thought it would be.

It now becomes very much a mental thing for all of the top 5 either to sustain winning or getting back to winning, and we all know which category we fall into.

GoonerB ……..

I have a feeling that many will not want to discuss anything Arsenal or AW related his morning. I think a lot will run for cover which I wish didn’t happen because to get the Yin and Yang going we need all the regular contributors from those more negative to those more positive.

I am somewhere in betwixt most views. On one hand I recognise that we had a more difficult run of fixtures recently (say compared to Spuds). As such the league title is still on and there is till reason to feel hopeful. Have a look at GIE’s input and predictions from late yesterday.

On the other hand I would say that we don’t take care of our own business well enough. I get that the ref was awful and agreed. This would have influenced the balance of the game to some degree. Not enough though for me that we shouldn’t have been able to overcome Southampton at home with the team put out and the players available to us. The referee thing has now also been used too much to explain away poor results.

I get their keeper had a blinder and that it was just one of those games. The problem is that every season we, more so it seems than any other team, seem to drop points against teams whose keeper has his best game of the season. Now I would look at why this happens so often and wonder if there is something about the way we attack that is slightly different that gives a keeper a better chance to put in these performances.

Unfortunately we just don’t seem to take care of our own business and look at our own failings and weaknesses. That needs to be done first before we start portraying ourselves as some unlucky put upon club.

Chas ……

I don’t understand how those who like to constructively criticise can recognise:

that the ref was bent
that Forster had a brilliant game
we created more than enough chances to win by 2 or 3

But still want to have a pop at management for:

lack of tactics
lack of signings
thinking Giroud is a striker ( 🙂 – amazingly it didn’t seem to be him that was culpable last night).

Aren’t you simply

a) reacting to the result and the fact we didn’t score or
b) simply carrying on seeing things with your own confirmation bias?

Cage rattling? 🙂

Can you add anything to the debate? ……..

Coquelin and Sanchez the Difference?

February 2, 2016

4-0. Were we terrible or did Southampton get lucky or perform above their norm? We find out tonight.

It was typical Arsenal; there we were riding along on a wave of confidence and good form, the standard of play was at it’s pacy, intricate best, there was talk of title favourites then Wham (the noise not the wavy-haired boys from Essex) we get hammered by a team who were completely out of form. This is why I love the Arsenal 😀

The only additions to our squad which was beaten in December are Coquelin and Sanchez – will they make a difference? One would like to think so.


St. Francis Returns

Sean Long played a huge role in their win thanks to some awful refereeing and some weak defending. Today we must be stronger especially as S’ton are likely to give Charlie Austin his first game and that fellow is a nuisance.

Wanyama always does well against us, perhaps because it is his dream to play for the Gunners. My hope is that Coquelin is back to his best and manages to win the vital midfield battle.

My Team:


Bellerin    BFG   Koscielny     Monreal

Ramsey    Coquelin    Sanchez


Walcott   Giroud

Nothing controversial here though perhaps you would pick Campbell ahead of Walcott given Theo’s poor form of late. I cannot see Elneny getting more than 20 minutes, can you?

The bench is becoming very competitive. Ospina, Gabriel, Chambers, Gibbs, Arteta, Ox, Campbell. Iwobi deserves a place but who gives way?

S’ton are in a fine vein of form having won their last 3 games including beating MU at Old Trafford – a famous win. Can they continue this run? In my opinion … No. The above team is very nearly our first choice 11 (Welbeck?) and on paper should triumph.

I am saddened to read of Rosicky’s injury. Having lauded his return in my last PM he lasted 15 mins. Better than nothing and at least he got a heart warming reception from the fans. Something to remember in his retirement.


And what of the transfer window? Some are disappointed, in which case, I suggest they look at our recent transfer policy. Mr Wenger is clearly satisfied with his squad and well he might be – we have a terrific squad with players coming through the ranks, players on loan getting experience prior to their promotion the the first team squad and purchases where necessary (Elneny & Cech). There are concerns about right back should Bellerin get crocked but in Flamini, Gabriel and especially Chambers we have adequate cover.

Or did some of you believe we would spend €80m on a striker? 😀

Sanchez looked hungry on Saturday. The chances he and Ozil can create, not just for themselves but for others, should propel us to victory, but in this topsy-turvy season  I hesitate to make a prediction.  Even so, I fancy us for three points.


A Year on from ShowerGate

December 26, 2015

How times have changed since we last visited The Saints. We lost 2-0 with Chesney making a couple of poor decisions which led to Marlboro-Gate and the young Pole being sent to Rome (I can think of worse punishments).

Can you imagine our current glovesman  behaving like TPIG? Cech started his Arsenal career with a poor game at home to WHU, 3 months later and the man is being spoken of in the same breath as David Seaman, who is without question the best AFC gloveman of my lifetime (sorry Bob Wilson).


If we win the title – sorry – when we win the title Cech will have been a major contributor; Ozil and Sanchez may be the obvious choice for our most important player but Cech is hugely influential, just think how we did in the CL and COC without him.

Important match tonight; it is wonderful beating MC but the Xmas rush would be ruined if we drop points. A draw is barely the bare minimum.

Our lads must be rested, confident and relaxed – they have been out playing Santa at local hospitals and sitting playing Xbox on their plush leather settees; they should be ready for a battle today.

And it is sure to be a battle because S’ton are in trouble‚ playing poorly, losing regularly and unable to score. I expect Koeman to pack the midfield, fill out the flanks and sit his team very deep. Nothing new when teams play Arsenal but not what we expect from the usual free-flowing football he promotes.

Wanyama: Should we sign him in January? S’ton are saying that no-one is leaving but money talks. My opinion is that he is a fine destructive MF but hasn’t the passing skills to improve our team

Amazing to think of the talent sold by S’ton over the past few years. Theo, Ox, Chambers, MonkeyBoy, Lovgren, Schneiderlin, Clyne, Luke Shaw, Lallana etc etc

As to our Brave Lads, the team will surely be the same as beat MC, much has been talked about rotation and the need to rest players but with the  home games with Bournemouth and Newcastle to come  AW can afford to wait.

We are learning to win games with less possession, today we shall surely have the majority of the ball and need to find different solutions, with the Ozil/Ramsey axis we are more creative and not so reliant upon tricky/tacky when facing PTB tactics.

Really looking forward to tonight.




Is Theo Worth his Wages?

January 22, 2015

9 years ago yesterday,  a 16 year old born in Stanmore, North London was signed by Mr. Wenger. His arrival aroused much excitement because this kid was meant to be the best attacking prospect in the land. His name? Theo Walcott.

He was so good as a young boy that he was sponsored by Nike at the age of 14 and much to his credit refused an opportunity to join Chelsea. Joining Southampton Theo was the youngest player in S’ton’s long history to make a debut in the first team – he was just 16 and 3 months. Scoring a goal in his first starting game and playing with such verve that he became  one of the BBC Young Sports Personalities of 2005 (winning it in his first AFC season ).


Walcott signed for us in Jan 2006 whilst still a 16. y.o for £9m. I was excited – I bet you were excited. He took the 14 shirt which shows just how confident a young man he is.

How do we assess his time at Arsenal? Do you think he is worth the hype and the huge wages?

Let us start with the number of games he has played – almost 200 in a 9 year spell = 22 a season. Not good. From the season out with the shoulder injuries to last years knee-knack Theo has spent much time in the massive AFC treatment mansion. Yet when fit he is a potent attacking weapon and a man whose defensive abilities are under-estimated.

Perhaps my impression of Walcott is through the rose coloured glasses of absence but he is one of my favourite players. I love how he skins the full back or scores by shooting across the keeper a’la TH14. I like his smile and his honesty, unlike most speedsters the man doesn’t dive  – he is a bloke I would love my daughter to marry (if I had one!),

But is my assessment skewed by my liking the fellow? Would we be better off selling him for a bucketload of money in summer rather than go through another tortuous contract negotiation?

A goal every 5 games is not a particularly good return for someone who creates and is given so many scoring opportunities, yet in my opinion his absence cost us the title last season – we had no-one who could scare the opposition; a situation AW recognised and remedied with the purchase of Alexis.

The fans love him as witnessed by the reaction when he warms up prior to coming on as sub. Which brings us to the nub of this post …. Is Theo still an automatic starter in our best first eleven?

Given the wealth of attacking talent we have and the development of The Ox where does Theo fit in? Do we drop the magical Santi or the mercurial Alexis? We have two target men which indicates that either Welbz or OG will always start centrally.

Rasp has been writing about a player having “their time” (re:Coq) and perhaps Walcott has missed his. I cannot see him as anything but a super-sub who will start perhaps one in three games. Is that enough for a man who is an automatic pick for England and has such a high media profile?

What to you think?

written by Big Raddy

New Years Day

January 1, 2015

Happy New Year to all Gooners. May your 2015 be filled with joy and silverware and may your enemies be smitten by a plague of locusts followed by an eruption of boils.

Not easy playing on NYD. I am sure Adams, Parlour and the other members of the Tuesday Club would have struggled – a night on the sauce followed by a chilly trip to Southampton would have a severe test but they would have overcome both the Saints and a long night of fags and ale.

However, the Saints of Adams day are a far cry from the excellent teams of Pocchetino and Koeman, I remember a trip down to St. Mary’s as one to savour and an easy 3 points – it won’t be so this afternoon. Even without Schneiderlin and (possibly) Clyne, the Saints are formidable opponents.

I am full of admiration for Southampton. They play good football, develop players, buy in cheap but quality replacements for their sold stars and run a tight ship.

We scraped past them at the Emirates (Sanchez tap in from a Ramsey pass) and a little One-Nil to the Arsenal would be a very pleasant way to start the year.

We have selection difficulties (as ever), particularly upfront but this also gives opportunities, Campbell may start today or perhaps we will finally see the return of Theo Walcott. IMO Walcott is a vital cog in this team  – we have missed him. Thankfully the defence are all available for selection. Midfield? No Ramsey, Wilshere, Arteta, Ozil – surely Rosicky will start or will be see the Coq/Flamini axis?

No tactics today. No in-depth study of the opposition, no look at the referee bias. Sorry about that! But I will take a little peek at their food stuffs – unsurprisingly they eat a lot of ice cream – nothing to get too excited about – but in my research I discovered one of my childhood heroes was born here. See below.

Can we win? It will be tough and we are the underdogs. Given all the injuries and lack of firepower I would take a point.

written by a worse for wear Big Raddy