Arsenal vs. Southampton Match Ratings

Hello. When I was really young and stupid, David Beckham was my favorite player and Man U my favorite team. Then somewhere in 2001–2, I realized I was watching football wrong. That seeing a pass should make you feel a whimsical high or for those who are fans of Narcos “a cocaine high”. Henry, Bergkamp, Pires, Veirra, Kanu. These names are just a few of the many that brought a big smile to my face as a youth. I honestly think I became so good at FIFA because of watching Mr Wenger’s teams (and mind you I was really excellent when I was little and had time; still pretty great now)

Arsenal during the halcyon days

Then a dark cloud began to loom about 12 years ago. I call it the Stanley Kroenke Era aka the cheap ass era. Look, if I was an economist and hated football, I would still love Arsenal because they have managed their finances better than any team in the last decade. But for a fan, where is the romanticism in counting pennies. Quite simply, we have not won much in that time. Useless people masquerading as comedians now think they are funny when they simply say “Arsenal” as a punchline. Those people may have point unless, they are Chelsea fans who play some of the most boring football in history even with all the money they have had at their disposal. I can’t believe people sit down for 90 minutes to watch paint dry. What’s the point of that? Liverpool fans will talk about how they are the winningest club in England, yet when you ask for some recent achievements, all they can point to is the “Gerrard banana slip” season when they should have really won. I HATE MANCHESTER UNITED but I respect Sir Alex Ferguson. I used to tell my United friends their club was nothing without him but like all blind people they failed to see what was right in front of them. I have absolutely nothing against their City rivals. Tottenham is actual garbage. St Totteringham’s Day is essentially groundhog day for Arsenal/Tottenham fans.

Lots of misguided people have their opinions but really Arsenal have been remarkably consistent with no money relatively. That consistency would make any economist smile but for fans we want memories that lift us to the heavens. I want to be able to jump around and scream like I did as young boy watching the Invincibles dismantle those that chose to play mediocre football.

I will mostly write about Arsenal (and Real Madrid, my second fav team) and may choose to write about other clubs as well as other leagues. My writing may vary in quality over time but my passion for Arsenal will remain true even though it doesn’t make sense to love an entity that really doesn’t give two craps for me. In any case #IAMAGUNNER

I will endeavor to rate the team after every game. This is my first. You can see highlights on MOTD here

Player ratings

Cech 6

Cech is a top 5 keeper. Cech will save us as many points as Terry said he would. Cech was caught out too far at the wrong end of Tadic’s free kick. Cech almost atoned for that mistake but was unlucky with the ricochet. He improved as the game went on, making Shane Long pee his pants when he was presented with a goal-scoring opportunity in the 2nd half. Cech will be fine.

Monreal 7

The former Málaga man had a solid game. He was good supporting the attack and good in defense. Throughout the game, he was available for the pass and can pick out a good one himself. He likes to nip in on the opposing attackers as well. He was unlucky to be adjudged to have fouled for the free kick.

Mustaffi 6.5

He was quite good. He misplaced a pass (or two) and as I said he was a little confused at times. Let us just put that to first game jitters. Nevertheless he is very good with the ball and likes to play a high defensive line, occasionally pressing attacking players high up the pitch, similar to Kosc “The Boss”. I hope he gets better in the air. The Premier League is quite a physically demanding league and if Arsenal is to finally have a permanent fix to their defensive frailty, Mustaffi will need to churn out better performances than he did in this game. He should get better …hopefully

Kos “The Boss” marshalling the comeback

Koscielny 9

What a boss. Wow! A few seasons back (after Vermaelen became crap), when Arsenal would have set pieces I would go take a leak or just use my precious time to do something more valuable. Mertesacker for all his height is not strong enough or fast enough to lose his marker. Kosc “the Boss”, however, has in the past few seasons proven that he is pretty damn good AT EVERYTHING. The overhead kick was not really surprising to me and his overall quality in the heart of defense has not been a surprise to anyone for a long time. To the dumbos that say Arsenal’s defense is not good, you must have forgotten we probably have the best defender in the league. He would get 10 if he and Mustaffi had not bundled together giving Long a clear “God just put that ball in” chance

Bellerin 7

Like Monreal he is always quite good in defense but more so in attack. He lost the header that lead to the freekick but really did not have much to do on defense because really no one tries him. In my opinion, he is best right back currently in the Premier League, and maybe the world. Enough said.

Coquelin 7

Coq can get quite cocky when he is defending but becomes a baby chicken when he has to make fancy passes. I must say he works well with Cazorla. He has a lot of energy and stopped most of the attacking from the Saints. I wish he had the fancy footwork and intricate passing à la Cazorla but if he did then Santi would not be special now would he?

Santi celebrating after converting the penalty that won Arsenal all 3pts

Cazorla 10. MOTM

What a guy this is. His dancing feet just mesmerize this young adult. I feel giddy inside when he switches feet, glides past people and holds off people twice his size. His injury was one of the key reasons we failed to win the league title last season in my opinion. The club just did not have anyone to replace what he adds to the team. He pulls the string and quickly recycles the ball to start attacks. I think Xhaka can do that but I do not know if Xhaka can play the type of tunes Carzola can when on the pitch. There was pressure on the penalty but this man is too good for that to get to him. He, along with Cech, Kosc, Ozil and Sanchez are going to be the bedrock of our season.

The Ox 4

Blah blah blah blah blah blah. Not very good. Hustle and bustle means nothing to me. Work smart not hard. He doesn’t even work that hard cause he leaves Monreal to do everything. Only Cristiano can get away with no defensive contributions when playing out wide. His first touch leaves a lot to be desired and he can’t cross for shit. Don’t even get me started on his passing. And when presented with an opportunity at goal, he is more likely to fluff his lines than to punish the opposition goalie. The Ox always reminds me of the great United legend and madman Eric Cantona. I can't remember where I heard this but it is said that Cantona would stay back in training just to work on fundamentals by himself. Nothing fancy just working on his first touch, simple passing and shooting accuracy. I do not know Ox, but after watching his play for Arsenal all these years, it doesn’t look as though he works on his fundamentals. I really want him to be good but he either doesn’t have the confidence, the intelligence or workrate to get there. Too bad because Iwobi looks destined to take his place soon.

Walcott 5

The same write up as Ox but he tried to play defense today and his shooting accuracy is actually significantly better just did not have the chance against the Saints. Should have been sold for Mahrez.

Ozil 6

Ozil, even when plays like utter garbage is still better than most players. His touch let him down today but he made the same runs that open up spaces for others. Unfortunately his teammates failed to take advantage of the spaces he created until Iwobi and Sanchez came on.

Lucas Perez 6

I like this guy. He did not do much but what most of the pundits fail to mention is that he gave the assist to Kosc by trying to keep the ball in the air even with his short body. I wish he had played with Iwobi and Sanchez as Ox and Walcott are just not good enough with their interplay and incisive passing. Ozil was also unfortunately not great. He will get better maybe I hope.

Substitutes:

Can Arsenal get a better striker? Maybe, but for now, the Frenchman will have to do.

Giroud 6

Good stuff. Missed a chance from Cazorla. Gave us a penalty we did not deserve. I think he is better as a sub. Defenders are tired then and he can be a handful. Always been a good striker but he gets tired over the season and is not mobile.

Sanchez 7

Brilliant but did not score when he should have. He is essentially our direct injection of redbull because without him, we are angels with clipped wings that look pretty but can’t do what all angels should be doing which is to fly dammit fly.

Iwobi 7

I prefer Iwobi to Walcott and Ox. He is already better. Simple.