Yesterday evening I didn’t get to watch the game as I was out with The Management doing other things; like enjoying myself.
I think it’s fair to say I’ve dodged a bullet on that one because by all accounts, it didn’t make for fun viewing and had I spent some of my hard-earned cash to stand/sit through a freezing cold night at the Emirates, I’d probably be a little grumpier than I am this morning.
But I’m not too grumpy. I mean, I have the feeling of being slightly irked that we’ll not be taking part in a two-legged affair in January for another trip to Wembley, but I can’t really have too much rage because this was a trophy lower down on the priority list. It always has been. But perhaps what is vexing me more than anything is the fact that we played a rotated side and it sounds like there wasn’t really anyone who put on a show that would have the manager pondering who should start on Saturday evening.
By the sounds of it, some players who might have been genuine contenders, probably made things worse. Like Carl Jenkinson, for example, who was at fault for the second goal and generally sounded like he was ran ragged all night. I’ve done a couple of pieces recently which have suggested that he needs a run of games for us to see the true Carl Jenkinson – the one who looked decent when we first signed him – but last night had the opposite effect. Whether his performance last night is giving the manager food for thought in a negative way seems to be entirely plausible from what I’ve read. It’s a shame because if there’s anybody who has the goodwill from the fans and the desire to make it, it’s somebody like Carl, but I think we all have to be honest and admit that this particular fan experiment has failed. I would imagine that Arsène will probably look for alternative options for Saturday’s game now and if Carl doesn’t play, you have to say it’s probably all done bar the shouting for his Arsenal career. Shame.
It’s also a shame that Aaron Ramsey didn’t take his opportunity to show he can run a game at number 10. It appears he was unconvincing in that role and given I didn’t watch it I need to temper my analysis somewhat, but I’m hardly surprised, because I just don’t think he’s as good as some people make out. He doesn’t have the vision of Mesut, or the long ball distribution of Santi, nor the ability to take on players like Jack. He had a period in his Arsenal career when he bagged a hatful of goals but even his prowess in front of goal seems to have disappeared. He hasn’t scored for Arsenal all season and whilst I appreciate he’s been injured, when he has played he’s hardly been a talisman, has he?
What he does bring to the side is energy and the ability to cover ground, but in the position like he was in last night – a favoured one by him apparently – we needed him to be the fulcrum of the team. On our own patch, with a winning run and confidence behind us, we just didn’t click and a rotated Southampton side made us look very ordinary.
Arsène said that the team was not prepared and aside from the fact that it’s kind of his job to do that, perhaps an element of inertia had set in for some of the players because of the competition. I find that odd though because everyone in that team should have had something to prove. Nearly all of them will be hoping for more first team football, yet I don’t think anybody will be given a shout this weekend. The only two who will be fighting for one position will be Coquelin and Ramsey, I hope at least anyway, because Xhaka was a sub and I think that means he plays against West Ham. But with Elneny going off injured in the first half it kind of forces Arsène to pick two from that three and I suspect he had it in his mind to give Xhaka a rest so he can be ready for Saturday. But it seems Rambo has done himself no favours.
Up front you can hardly blame Lucas for being thrown in having just come back from injury, but I’ve read that The Jeff looked out of his depth. I watched the Reading game in the last round and he looked a little off in that too, so to hear that he’s had another quiet one last night, makes me wonder if he’ll be sent out on loan for some game time in January. He certainly needs it. We need him too as well.
Iwobi apparently looked a little brighter and whether he starts against West Ham will be interesting. I don’t think we’ll see Giroud against the Hammers so he’s in with a shot.
Aside from that, I don’t really know what else to tell you, because it was a disappointing result which ends our unbeaten run in all competitions. It was bound to happen eventually – especially given the way we’ve been playing of late – but I’d have expected a bit more fight from a collective of players who should have wanted it more.
The team has to turn its attention to West Ham now, who will hopefully have a little less in the tank, having played most of their first team against Man United at Old Trafford last night. Usually that doesn’t seem to make a jot of difference for opposition teams against us, but perhaps we’ll see a more ‘up-for-it’ Arsenal at team time.
Catch you tomorrow.
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