Arsenal v Saints
Capital One Cup, Third Round
Emirates Stadium, Tuesday 23rd September 2014
> Capped by a stunning Clyne strike
The teamsheets handed in by Koeman and Wenger showed that both managers were taking seriously the opportunity to advance to the last 16. Even with 11 changes from the team that beat Villa, Wenger still included names such as Alexis Sanchez, Jack Wilshere and a return for Abou Diaby after 18 months out. There was also a place for our old friend Calum Chambers who was pantomime-booed throughout but ultimately the Saints fans showed their appreciation for him at the end. Koeman, meanwhile, made 5 changes from the weekend. Sadio Mane appeared in a Saints shirt for the first time, while Matt Targett took his chance to enhance his credentials as the next big thing to come from the Academy. No doubt Wenger would have been rubbing his knees lasciviously at the prospect of seeing another of our kids in action.
But as the players were making their final pre-match preparations, so were myself and Simmo under the eaves of the Emirates. Bumping into Jehram + 1 and Yates called for an extra beer before footy time. And we were all happy to agree that we were going to do ‘em in their own back yard, even if their back yard is possibly one of the most impressive stadia I have ever attended. As Simmo commented, ‘it looks dead continental’. We also decided that Kat should extend SMS to 60k plus and charge a tenner for admission. Build it and they will come. Both Saints and Arsenal fans certainly came in numbers for this match, with the away fans selling out their 5k allocation and the home fans filling up the rest of the stadium. Even if Cup games are included in the season ticket at Arsenal, they still turned up. I like Arsenal. Proper footy club.
Saints barely had chance to settle into the game before Jose Fonte clattered into Sanchez on the edge of the box. Once the shaving foam had been sprayed, Sanchez popped the ball into the top corner with minimum fuss. Forster, excellent all night, had no chance. Even the Saints fans behind the goal marvelled at its brilliance. But as it turned out, it wasn’t even the best goal of the game.
From that moment onwards Saints settled into a fascinating game between two sides of equal quality, and it wasn’t long before they were level. Mane, whilst not quite terrorising the Arsenal defence all night, did show plenty of promise of more to come. His pace allowed Saints to break quickly throughout the match, but it was his trickery that earned a penalty just 6 minutes after Sanchez’ opener.
Now, as Saints fans we are used to our penalties being blasted into either corner; minimum fuss, maximum result. But this is a new regime and Dusan Tadic is fast becoming the on-field talisman. The crowd under the Clock End wasted no opportunity to chant his name all night, and it was his name that rang out after he sold Ospina and dinked the ball down the middle and into the unguarded net. Still Billy Sharp remains the only player to miss a Saints penalty in about 5 years.
And then it was time for Clyne. Chambers, Nathaniel’s understudy last season, failed to deal with a cross adequately, his header falling to the left back’s feet 35 yards out. One touch to steady himself, and another to send a swirling thunderbastard into the roof of the net, leaving Ospina wrong-footed and grasping at fresh air. 2-1 to the Saints, and whatever Arsenal did after that was insufficient to break down a resolute defence. Matt Targett looked assured except for one misjudgement which allowed Arsenal to deliver a fruitless cross. The other newcomer, Florin Gardos, played like someone who doesn’t intend to spend much time on the bench. Jose Fonte, looking and sounding every bit the Premier League skipper, rose to the challenge to his place from Gardos and had his best game in a Saints shirt. FACT. One for you, Shirls. Ever since Jose joined Saints in League 1 he has stepped up and improved every step of the way. Most assumed that he would gently go by the wayside as a succession of centre backs have come in, but he is now our captain, one of the first names on the teamsheet, and arguably one of the best centre backs in the Premier League.
The main threats on goal continued to come from Southampton as the pulse of the game rose. Apparently Pelle hit the post, though I missed it thanks to my bladder which was now working to the ‘one in, one out’ rule. Steven Davis had a couple of opportunities to put his laces through it but instead tried to side foot it in. If only he could add goals to his repertoire.
Shane Long, who ran around a lot when he came on, is another one who could do with a goal and he did come close to opening his account. His full length dive was inches away from getting on the end of a scything break from one end to the other. That would have sealed the match at 3-1, which would have been no more than Saints deserved. But 2-1 it remained, and even with 4 minutes of added time Arsenal couldn’t seriously threaten the Saints goal.
The ref brought it all to a close, sending Saints fans into raptures. There aren’t many Saints fans who have seen us win at Arsenal, so we all trundled away into the Autumnal evening, tired but happy, having witnessed a pretty special evening.
24th September 2014
..all in all a pretty outstanding achievement for the team they'd all written off. I think I saw that was the first win against them in 12 years (FFS), and it certainly seems a while since we had our way against a big team in the cups; especially as we've again managed to break the hoodoo of not coming from behind (honk).
I was just talking to a resident gooner (quite a lot of them here, FFS), and he admired the performance saying something along the lines of 'well, what are they supposed to do when the opposition are in their face like that all night..your lot must've been knackered'. I can't disagree.. as I mentioned elsewhere, there seemed to be more than one Davis buzzing around the twin towers of Morgs and Vic. Great work from MrMoo to evolve Poops' pressing to neutralise Arse but still have enough in the tank to get us over the line.
I dunno quite what he's done to the non-forwards, either.. Morgs, Corky, Vic and Nate had barely 5 goals between them, now they've got great bulging sacks of them.. About time the attackers (Pelle excluded) gave them a run for their money.
One further note (which may upset Yates), the Mrs wasn't so impressed by Pelle (aesthetically, not footily; thought he looked a bit overcoiffed) but found Vic's arse to be 'quite remarkable'.
As I recall it, Pellè, hit the outside of the post from a very tight turn, with the ball coming back towards him from the byline at pace near the edge of the 18 yard box and just outside the line of the post, if that makes sense. So it was a swivel and hit with the goal to his left and slightly behind him, very difficult but he nearly pulled it off - had he been standing a foot further towards the penalty spot it would have squeezed in.
One of many things I'm loving that fact that we don't just have cover in every position now, we have players of sufficient quality to essentially have an alternate A team sitting on the bench, and a coach who knows how to do approach each game, or phase of a game with the appropriate personnel and shape. I reckon BV would have started last night regardless of JWP's ankle, as the game was made for him, and I guess Targett gets the cup games so Bertrand stays fresh and has less chance of injury, but the changes were seamless!
I saw Graziano hit the post but I missed quite a lot of other stuff. The stand isn't steep enough so everyone stands up and I was surrounded by tall people. It was like being a kid on the Milton again, only with a padded seat that I couldn't use.
It's a lovely looking ground and they are a proper club, which made beating them on their turf all the sweeter.
Who are ya?
39 Bellerín (Akpom 86')
07 Rosicky - Booked
24 Abou Diaby (Cazorla 67')
10 Wilshere - Booked
28 Campbell (Oxlade-Chamberlain 71')
23 Forster - Booked
33 Targett - Booked (Bertrand 85')
12 Wanyama - Booked
19 Pellè - Booked
10 Mané (Long 72')
Post Match interview with Ronald Koeman
Match highlights from the Saints YouTube feed
- Sánchez 14′
- Tadić 20′ (pen)
- Clyne 40′
- Arsenal 57%
- Southampton 43%
- Arsenal 7
- Southampton 11
- Arsenal 5
- Southampton 5
- Arsenal 3
- Southampton 4
- Arsenal 13
- Southampton 14
Referee : Keith Stroud
Attendance : 59,621
Dušan Tadić - 20'
Nathaniel Clyne - 40'