Arsenal (1) 3 Southampton (2) 3
Emirates Stadium, Drayton Park, London N5 1BU
Friday, 21st April 2023. Kick-off time: 8.00pm
(4-3-3) Aaron Ramsdale; Ben White, Rob Holding, Gabriel Magalhães, Oleksandr Zinchenko; Martin Ødegaard (c), Thomas Partey, Fabio Vieira; Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Jesus, Gabriel Martinelli.
Substitutes: Kieran Tierney, Emile Smith-Rowe, Eddie Nketiah, Jakob Kiwior, Leandro Trossard, (Jorge Luiz Frello Filho) Jorginho, Reiss Nelson, Matt Turner, Reuell Walters.
Scorers: Gabriel Martinelli (20 mins), Martin Ødegaard (88 mins), Bukayo Saka (90 mins)
Yellow Cards: Oleksandr Zinchenko
Arsenal Possession Percentage: 74%
Referee: Simon Hooper
Assistant Referees: Adrian Holmes, Mark Scholes
Fourth Official: Andre Marriner
VAR Team at Stockley Park: VAR Peter Bankes; AVAR Nick Greenhalgh
It seems strange playing a Premiership match on a Friday evening, but hey, we’ll take the opportunity to grab three points on any day possible. Granit Xhaka will not be available for selection tonight due to a mystery illness, which was announced by Mikel Arteta earlier. William Saliba remains sidelined by a back injury which is taking longer to heal than anticipated, and as we know, Takehiro Tomiyasu and Mohamed Elneny are long-term absentees, with no news on their progress.
After a Gabriel Jesus pep talk to the Arsenal players, the visitors kicked off proceedings, and within twenty-eight seconds of the kick-off, Aaron Ramsdale passed the ball straight to Carlos Alcaraz, who picked his spot and fired the ball into the back of our net to open the scoring. The early goal certainly fired up the crowd, who immediately gave massive vocal support to the boys as they came forward to try to grab the equaliser. We saw a great run happen by Gabriel Martinelli as he ran into the penalty area but just as he was about to shoot he was forced wide by Armel Bella-Kotchap, who then cleverly guarded the ball out for a goal kick. We were constantly pressurising the Saints defence; Martin Ødegaard sent the ball into the penalty area, Armel Bella-Kotchap headed away, we picked the ball up again but our captain ran the ball out of play after a clever one-two with Thomas Partey. We were having a good period of possession now, with some good movement both on and off the ball. After just fourteen minutes, the visitors shocked the Emirates crowd when former Gunner Theo Walcott ran onto a superb ball through our defence by Carlos Alcaraz and coolly slotted the ball past a stranded, outstretched Aaron Ramsdale. A few minutes later, we redressed the balance somewhat when Bukayo Saka tore down the right wing as he got to the edge of the penalty area, looked up before finding Gabriel Martinelli, who volleyed the ball past the ’keeper into the back of the net. Now we have a game on our hands! There was a scramble inside our box as first Mohamed Elyounoussi’s header was pushed away by Aaron Ramsdale, who then pushed Carlos Alcaraz’s shot over the bar for a Southampton corner which went nowhere. After the ball was lost in midfield, it went to Theo Walcott, who hit an ambitious effort from about thirty yards, but Aaron Ramsdale had the shot covered all the way. However, over on the right wing, Romain Perraud was struggling to contain Bukayo Saka, who he fouled in order to merely stop him. Bukayo Saka took the free kick on the right side of the penalty area, but the visitors were unable to clear the ball successfully, before Fábio Vieira whacked a strong shot wide. Fabio Viera went down to the floor after a crunching tackle by Kyle Walker-Peters, but thankfully he was not hurt and got up to continue his part in the game. Jan Bednarek was fouled by Gabriel Martinelli and there was a pause in play as he received treatment; despite the medical teams telling him that his part in the match was over due to the nature of the injury, he was extremely unhappy with their decision. Kyle Walker-Peters was booked as he fouled Gabriel Martinelli on the left; the subsequent free-kick was taken by Gabriel Martinelli sent the ball in towards the Saints goal and it flew just wide of the post. In the seven minutes injury time, a Southampton attack broke down and Bukayo Saka ran quickly up the pitch on the right wing; he found Gabriel Jesus but goalie Gavin Bazunu was quick off his line to close him down and gave away the corner. As the corner from Bukayo Saka came over, Carlos Alcaraz cleared Ben White’s clever flick-on off and away from the goal line. Oleksandr Zinchenko was awarded a yellow card for a slide tackle, and after Adam Armstrong’s cutback was intercepted by Gabriel, we put immense pressure on the Southampton goal, but to no avail, as referee Simon Hooper blew the whistle for half-time shortly afterwards.
We started a most important second half off for us, and in the early exchanges, we look extremely controlled as we made inroads into getting something out of this match tonight. We were constantly pressurising their five-man defensive pattern, and six minutes into the second half, Gabriel Jesus went down inside the penalty area under the challenge of Duje Caleta-Car. We appealed for a penalty but it was denied. After a period of intense pressure on the Southampton defence, Fabio Vieira was replaced by Leandro Trossard after fifty-six minutes in order to give some fresh legs a chance out there. Bukayo Saka’s ball across the penalty area was almost deflected into the path of Gabriel Jesus but Gavin Bazunu was alert to the danger of the little man and he cleared the ball wildly. And still we came forward, and we are on the hunt for goals. Bukayo Saka hit the post after Gabriel Martinelli took the ball to the byline, but it was adjudged that the ball was over the line. After sixty-six minutes, the visitors scored a third goal from a corner which was headed into the net by Duje Caleta-Car. Absolute disaster. A couple of minutes later, Gabriel Martinelli blasted the ball over the Southampton bar from close range, and Eddie Nketiah replaced Oleksandr Zinchenko with eighteen minutes of the game remaining, and the pressure is starting to show, despite putting Southampton under pressure. Leandro Trossard just failed to connect with the ball inside the penalty area before Bukayo Saka’s effort was blocked, as there are just so many Saints players in the way. We won a corner and Bukayo Saka’s ball went all the way through to Leandro Trossard before it went over to Gabriel Jesus who was unable to flick his header on the target. Reiss Nelson replaced Gabriel Martinelli with six minutes to go, and a couple of minutes later, Martin Ødegaard played a clever one-two with Ben White and drilled the ball into the bottom left hand corner of the net. And then, unbelievably, as Reiss Nelson’s shot was pushed away, Bukayo Saka was on hand to level the score! Incredible! In the eight minutes injury time, there was a penalty call which was denied, as Reiss Nelson’s shot went inches wide. So much relentless pressure on the Southampton defence, but still they are holding out, and despite our best efforts, we just could not get a winner.
What a match. If this game had carried on just five minutes more, we may well have snatched the winner, but it was not to be. We have dropped crucial points at the wrong time of the season, and we have made some serious errors tonight; but we still in the hunt for the Premiership title, and we have to go to the Etihad on Wednesday night, and we must get a result there. No question about it.
Remember everyone, keep the faith, get behind the team and the manager, as this season is going to be crucial for our future success in all competitions. Stick with the winners. Our next match: Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday, 26th April at 8.00pm (Premier League). Be there, if you can. Victoria Concordia Crescit.
Too Dearly Loved To Be Forgotten: Arsenal v Racing Club de Paris 1930-1962 by Steve Ingless (Rangemore Publications, ISBN 978-1-5272-0135-4) is now available on Amazon
A disastrous result but as a fan, you`ve got to love this group of players. They just keep going right to the death. They`ve done us proud all season and it`s not over yet, go to City and get something and we`re still right in the mix. We`re badly missing Saliba but for me, Xhaka was an even bigger miss yesterday. We lose all our balance (with and without the ball) when he`s not playing. Even the halfwits who continue to question him must be starting to realise this.
Talking of halfwits, no doubt the David T Boyle`s of this world and various other incels will come out the woodwork again and start slagging the team off. It must have been a miserable season for them so far but they`ll be getting their little cocks out and having a good tug this morning. Oh well, just got to pity the sad cunts really.
Up The Arse.
First of all mate I’m not a cunt, you would never say that to my face ,second I don’t need to tug as I have beautiful wife to do that for me ,third you’ve got to love these players, what being 3 1 down to the bottom of the league, wake up mate, we’ve bottled it big time. Four years ,one trophy, half a billion spent no plan b ,terrible in game management, terrible subs ,this so called PROCESS has come to an end. It’s time to get a proper manager
You are a cunt and I would definitely say it to your face. Now jog on and give yourself a tug, Your imaginary wife won`t do it for you, that`s for sure.
And I`m not your fucking mate either.
I’m coming over next month, send me your address and will see who the cunt is
Lol. OK big man. Il`l be at the Chelsea, Newcastle and Brighton games. You won`t be at any of `em but if you are, let let me know and I`ll call call you out for the cunt you are. Bring of few of your incel pals along with ya and I`ll call them out too. Soppy bollocks.