Why were Southampton ‘sharper and fitter’ than Arsenal?

Okay so Arsenal lost, but we are trying to convince ourselves that it was only a Micky Mouse Cup game and we played a host of kids and they had no chance against the Big Boys of Southampton, but is that really the case?

The big thing that worried me was what Wenger said after the game. “We were not good enough defensively and gave cheap goals away in the first half.” he said.

“It was better in the second, but it was one of those nights where you look like you could play two hours without scoring a goal.

“We didn’t have enough urgency in the first half and were weak in some departments.

“We paid for that. We were not incisive enough in the first half especially. They played deeper in the second half and were sharper than us and fitter.

“If you give someone a handicap of two goals, against a Premier League side it’s difficult.”

So why were Southampton sharper and fitter than us? Do they train more (or harder?) or were our team overplayed or burnt out? That I cannot believe!

Okay I am willing to make allowances for a couple of players. Elneny was sick before the game (so why did he play) and Lucas Perez was playing his first game since returning from injury, but should have been fit enough. But the rest? So Jenkinson has played a lot recently but was rested at the weekend. Gibbs, Gabriel, Ramsey, Coquelin, Iwobi and Elneny have all played quite a few games this season, but hardly burnt out and should have been supremely fit as all first team players should. Maybe Holding and Jeff haven’t played too much, but as they have been training with the first team I can’t excuse any lack of fitness.

In fact most of the team were first-team squad members, and Xhaka and Oxlade-Chamberlain, who came on from the bench, should also have been at the top of their game. And even more to the point, every single one of them should have been trying to impress Wenger to stake a claim in the team to face West Ham this weekend.

So where is our excuse for losing? Were Southampton really fitter than us?

Darren N


  1. RSH says:

    We have many players that are overrated and not up to it. Outside of our 1st eleven we don’t have as much depth as we thought.

  2. Wayne Barker says:

    I don’t understand why are some arsenal fans happy in losing. It’s a pathetic attitude that we need to chang. Mickie mouse or not we have to win every trophy. It’s so funny when I hear peoplease say focus should be on champions league and premier league, ohb really so let me ask how many premier league or champions league have we actually won in last decade.

    What’s with fans leaving in 60th minute. Sorry to say that does not how a big club should act. I am really pissed the way we pled yesterday and let us stop acting as if we played youth players yesterday. Iwobi is a regular, Perez looks another player to join in the list of flops. Xhaka looked hardly any good. Coq played, Ramsey played, Gabriel played, Elneny played, Gibbs played. These are not fringe players. This clearly shows our squad is not that good as we think. All in all shameful from all who are happy with going out.

    1. NY_Gunner says:

      @wayne baker
      Lucas just came back from injury. And how many 1st team matches has Gabe and Gibbs played so far this season.
      What gets me is, when guys like you and a few others go missing until we either lose or draw. Then you’re out here criticising the team and manager to no end. Heck, even when we win you still lay on some negative nit picking, as if you’re some retired pro pundit…
      Save it…

      1. Wayne Barker says:

        Keep living in delusion. Truth is we have been piss poor this season. I don’t need certificate from fans like you who are making a joke of this club. There is a reason arsenal fans are referred to the most delusional.

  3. Twig says:

    One down, three to go. Winks

  4. Jansen says:

    I think you raise a fair point. I was shocked by his accurate and honest admission as well. Same after the Spurs game (who played in the CL one day after we did before our game against them), he said we looked tired and less fit the final 20 minutes of that game, and that was true, we all noticed it, Spurs looked the fitter or hungrier side.

    It is hard to imagine we should not be as fit as other sides. Yet at the same time we have more injuries than other teams, or so it seems, the wrong type of fitness can make you more susceptible to injuries as. Same goes for not being fit enough, that invites injury as well. I am not claiming any inside knowldge but I can’t help wondering if there is a connection between us often looking the lesser fit side and seemingly having more injruries. (It is an accepted principle that exhaustion can lead to injuries as can lack of fitness.)

    We can lose form and have dips in results, but IMO it is the manager’s job to prepare his squad each game so they give 100% commitment for 90 minutes at the highest fitness levels. Both Klop and Pep complained shortly after arriving that their players were not fit enough, have we missed a trick on the fitness front? Are our standards and methods old fashioned. I hoesly don’t know, but something doesn’t make sense our continues injuries can not be down to bad luck alone.

    I have said it before, last season Leicester seemed to fight every game 100%. This does not seem to apply to us despite our players claiming in interviews after the season that they had learned their lesson. Yet we fail to show up for a severely weakened Southampton fielding kids.

    I just can not think of any good reason why these players should not give 100% for 90 minutes. And yes call me old fashioned, but some of the mental preparation falls on the shoulders of the managers. How often did SAF’s teams dare to not show up?

    Players should be afraid enough of the manager and the shirt never to think about not showing any urgency IMO.

  5. NY_Gunner says:

    I think that players should have enough pride in the crest they play for and professionalism in their job as footballers, to give 100% for their team every time they step on the pitch.
    I simple do not feel that fear is a good enough motivator.

  6. Jansen says:


    I agree fear is not a great motivator but it underlies pride. Whatever the reason some players choose to play hard every game for the Manager, like SAF, a manager should find a way to instill this pride or fear.

    Maybe we can settle for the fact that players should want to give 100% as a result of their love for the club.

    But at this level if you don’t give 100% you lose most of the time. IMO that’s why champions find a way of winning when they are not at their best, because their effort drives them on, not luck.

  7. royalman says:

    Only iwobi played well against d saint.

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