There was much frustration about yesterday for the Arsenal fans, from the players that couldn’t get past the Southampton defence, from the defenders that couldn’t deal with Charlie Austin, and from Arsene Wenger who was unhappy with the refereeing performance. We looked less likely to score as the game went on and it took our supersub to save a point for us once again as the time ticked away.
Wenger went to his three at the back formation after reverting to his old four on Thursday against BATE, and he regrouped to four again when Per Mertesacker was taken off. Wenger said the other day that he preferred to play with his four formation, and he was asked after the game if he would now use it more often. “Yes, and we played a big part of the game with a four today, but away from home recently we’ve done quite well. We’ve won games, but BATE Borisov and Southampton are not of the same calibre, you have to consider that. You had a team on holiday who won the championship two weeks ago and today we played a team who was highly determined and defended every single ball.
“I must say I am very frustrated as in the second half there was a lot of time wasting. [I’m especially frustrated] on the final ball on the counter-attack [at the end], it is very frustrating to give the advantage to the guy who had the foul because we were not only called back, we were three against one. We played it quick and the referee called the ball back without any reason and that was a huge advantage for Southampton in the final minute.”
Alexis has seemed his normal self this season and losing the ball on a very regular basis, so Wenger was asked what he thought about his performance against the Saints. Wenger replied: “I think in the second half I am happy with his performance. In the first half I feel he played a little bit too deep, we need him a little higher up in the pitch and especially when you dominate the game it is important that he plays in the final third. He is tempted sometimes to drop a little bit deep in midfield. Then when you start 35 yards away from goal, it’s difficult to score.”
It’s also difficult to score if you keep running into dead ends and keep giving the ball to your opponents. Surely Le Prof must be seeing these stats every week and wondering why he didn’t cash in on the Chilean in the summer. I certainly am!