Premier League

St.Mary's, Sunday, 14:00

Southampton 1

  • S Armstrong 65'

Arsenal 1

  • Xhaka 11'

Embed from Getty Images

Stuart Armstrong after his 65th minute goal, with Joe Aribo (L), James Ward-Prowse (R) & Diallo behind.

IBO Reporter: Spot51


|Arsenal have only ever won one promotion. Everything else has been handed to them on a silver platter. At the time Saints were beasting the old Southern League, Arsenal were handed a place in the Football League's new 2nd Division. In 1904 they won their only promotion and stayed in Div 1 for 9 seasons. Back in Div 2 their main stand in Woolwich was burned down by the Suffragettes and they scuttled off across the river to Highbury.

Football ceased during the war but in 1920 the top division expanded. Did they promote 2nd Div champions Spurs? No, their place was handed to Arsenal who were 5th but run (one assumes) by Freemasons. Anyhow, they have stayed there ever since. I only really disliked them when Wenger's "1-0 to the Arsenal" were sweeping all before them, but loved it in May 89 when they won 0-2 at Anfield to snatch the title from Liverpool.

Arteta has built a good squad who are now mixing it with City and some bloke with a computer has predicted they will win the Prem this season. They are seeing the best from Partey and Xhaka in the engine room and their defenders defend and their attackers attack. They have 9 wins from 10 games and lost only at O.T. Twice before Arsenal have come to Southampton sat on top of the Prem - they have yet to win!

Saints unexpected but splendid win at Bournemouth has lifted the torpor settling on the R&W Machine. We have issues though. Despite finding we have defenders who CAN defend, there is now a shortage of right backs. With both Tino and KWP out we have to try someone else there. Thankfully we can call on the "best full back to come through the Barca academy since Jordi Alba". Yes, the lad Larios is that player and has played on both flanks. He may be slight of build but I've had trying to bang square pegs into round holes - especially in defence.

Further forward we cannot call on AMN who is on loan from the Arse, so Diallo must come in alongside JWP and we need them to up their games. We often seem to be able to do that against top sides though. It is our listless performances against weaker opposition that hurts us more.

I'm not predicting a formation but feel we will start with a back four and maybe chuck Lyanco on if required. Up front Ché needs support. I really want to see him and Mara as twin strikers, but rather suspect now is not that time. Come on you Saints!

Team News

|I doubt I was alone in gasping when Ché wasn't on the team sheet. Turned out he had a knock and could only make the bench. The other surprise was that DCC was the replacement for KWP and the cause of much speculation as to whether it was 3 or 4 at the back. Adam was pushed upfront with Stu, Joe and Moi in support.

Arsenal reverted to the team that had won at Leeds last weekend.

Match Report

|I generally like Sky's presentation and pundits, but for Alan Smith I make an exception. He is always rubbish, but allowing him to do Arsenal games makes me cringe. It was clear Sky's main game was the Spurs v Newcastle game later on and, when they finally "crossed to St Mary's", there he was on the pitch, gatecrashing the Arteta interview. Tosser!

Eventually there was a brief interview with Ralph who confirmed Ché had not trained and would not be drawn on the team shape.

Arsenal, in all black, kicked off towards the Chapel and Saints were lined up 4-4-2 with DCC at right back and Joe alongside AA, After 45s Jesus drew a save from Baz, but the lino then raised his flag. Their next attack saw Saka collect the ball wide right and swing in a dangerous cross which evaded all-comers, but only just went past Baz's far post.

I was already fed up with Smith droning on about Arsenal, when suddenly Lyanco broke forward down the right, came inside and fired in a low shot which Ramsdale saved. It now looked like it was the Brazilian at right back and DCC in the middle.

Arsenal were still piling on the pressure. Jesus was stopped by Salisu, but the ball ran wide to Xhaka. He smashed it low and hard: Baz stopped it and Lyanco hooked it clear. Moments later, Xhaka set up Ødegaard who screwed his shot wide. Then, on 11m, Saka played the ball into the overlapping White, who burst past Perraud and drove a low cross into the box. Again it was Xhaka on the end of it, but this time he caught it (with his swinger) and lifted it past Baz's outstretched arm. Bit early to concede against this lot. Oh dear!

I'm always amused by Sky apologizing when their mikes pick up industrial language from the pitch or benches, yet they did not spare us from the dreadful noise of Smith's orgasm nor provide any apology. Poor show indeed!

Not sated the MIB were back on the attack, but when Saka arrived in our box Salisu shut him down before the lino's flag went up. Fair play to Saints though, they dug in and did their jobs and were rewarded when they turned over a ball on halfway and only a bad touch from Joe stopped us mounting an attack.

News from Villa Park: Gerrard-less Villa were 3-0 up (Ings 2) just what we wanted to hear (not). About this time we saw Saints had indeed gone 3 at the back with Lyanco, DCC and Salisu flanked by Moi and Perraud.

There was an example, on 20m, of how Arsenal have improved. They lost the ball deep in our half yet, as Diallo carried the ball out, by the time the Frenchman crossed the halfway line every black shirt was back in their own half, two banks of 4 and 2 pressing. This was not going to be an easy afternoon!

We kept at it and Perraud won a corner from the left. JWP sent it in and the ball came back to Stu. His chip was headed on by Joe, but Ramsadale was quick off his line to claim the ball. At least we were making them defend.

When a few games are being played at the same time, I often have the table on the Sky Sports app in the corner of the screen. In a matter of seconds Leicester and Leeds scored and we were back in the zone at 18th FFS! To make matters worse, a poor pass by our captain sent the Arse forward, but our big men crowded out Jesus whose shot was smashed into the side netting. Be more careful - these are dangerous if you give them a sniff!

Great News: Fulham have equalised at Leeds and replace us in the relegation zone. Then, on 29m, Saka went down under a heavy challenge in our box. "Penalty" claims Smith. Replays show it might have been, but the ref says Saka dived and booked him. It sounded as though Smith's head had exploded at this point. It was some time before he spoke again and when he did it was a load of bitching. A minute later Lyanco went in hard on Jesus who went down like a rag doll. The ref told him to get up and waved play on and Smith sounded as though he'd turned purple. What a cock!

Suddenly, Saints were down the right wing. Moi found JWP whose cross was headed out by White. This began a series of corner kicks which, while we never looked like scoring, kept the visitors penned back and unable to move forward. Prowsey kept dropping the ball just under their bar where Ramsdale struggled to get to it. He and his defenders were starting to look uncomfortable. When they finally cleared their lines, Sky put up a possession stat for the past 5 mins which showed Saints with 95% possession.

On 39m Martinelli burst forward and his shot deflected for an Arsenal corner which Saka took. Saints knocked this away and Martinelli's follow up was cleared by Lyanco before they were flagged offside. Arsenal tightened the screw again, but Baz saw off efforts by Saka and Jesus before making a huge save from the latter on 45m. It was raining quite heavily as we played +2 minutes, during which Stu and Joe mounted an attack but did not get a shot away. Half time: still 1-0 down.

After the break we looked a bit sharper and began the 2nd period on the front foot. A Salisu throw gave Perraud a chance but his shot went wide. Then Adam was given the ball in midfield, but his control let him down as he advanced and Gabriel recovered it. Lyanco then put in a cross which they cleared.

Up the other end, Ćaleta-Car was taking advantage of the ref's light touch, manhandling Arsenal players who immediately fell to the ground. Their players and Alan Bloody Smith were demanding free kicks and penalties, but the officials were not interested. Old Skool refs must've been turning in their graves.

Saints were doing more attacking now and another corner from our left saw play stopped when Gabriel and Salisu collided and both went down. From the restart we worked the ball to Adam whose low cross was almost turned in by Moi, but as he tried to sort his feet out, Ramsdale toed it away.

The high press was back and the speed with which Joe closed on their keeper caused him to hack it anywhere. Just as I was beginning to enjoy myself, Arsenal won the ball back. Two quick passes and Jesus was bearing down on goal. From way back, Moi Elyounossi charged after him and, just as Jesus was shooting, the Norwegian made a superb block tackle to save the day.

Moments like that change games. The Home fans were ecstatic and when Baz punched the corner away, Saka's follow up sailed into the crowd. On 60m with both sets of subs warming up the game went quiet for a while.

All that changed on 65m when Saints scored a superb goal. A routine ball up the left wing seemed aimed at Joe on halfway, but the former Rangers man stepped over the ball, which turned Arsenal's defenders round as Adam took it on. He looked inside before sending it crossfield to Moi. With defenders facing him the Norwegian ducked inside and sent a neat pass into the box. All the time Stu had been running diagonally towards the box and the ball came perfectly into his stride. Now wide of the post he steered the ball back across Ramsdale into the opposite corner. 1-1 and the crowd went wild…

I was ecstatic. After 15m I was fearing a stuffing but our players had got up, got back into the game and now levelled against the top side in the EPL. The table suddenly had Saints back to 15th.

For a while it was all Saints. JWP worked the ball down the left for Perraud to shoot, but he missed at the far post. Soon after we got another corner, which led to a smart passing move between Stu and the skipper. They worked the ball to Joe, but his shot went right at Ramsdale.

Both sides then made changes. Arsenal took off White, moved Tomiyasu to right back and brought on Tierney. They also withdrew Martinelli who'd been getting battered by Lyanco, bringing Nketiah on in his place. Ché replaced AA and there was a rare appearance for Theo who came on for Joe.

In pretty much their first involvement, Walcott clattered into Tierney who took time to get up. Neither side was getting forward much until Tierney raided down their left. He dragged the ball into the middle, where it was smashed home by Odegaard. Smith's celebrations were cut short by the lino with his flag raised. Replays showed Tierney had run the ball out before crossing it and it was our goal kick.

On 80m Ralph replaced Stu with Edozie. The youngster did not get much chance to run at people, but his passing was safe in the final minutes. Ødegaard then set up Nketiah but Lyanco blocked his shot. Ødegaard took the corner which Saints cleared, but our attack ground to a halt with Theo caught offside. Arteta then replaced his captain with young Viera.

Lyanco had to have his cramp massaged before Che and Perraud won another corner, The ball came to Edozie who found Theo, but Arsenal cleared his cross. We were looking the more likely to get a second, but Perraud was caught offside when Salisu's forward pass picked him out.

Bang on 89m, there was a huge clap of thunder overhead (in Ryde) and the TV screen went black. I switched the radio on and heard the ref was booking Lyanco. Why FFS? I switched the Sky Box off and on and the picture came back. Later I checked the recording and, apart from St Mary's looking like it suffered a brief Dalek attack, the rest of the game was there.

The highlight was Smith making Elyounoussi his MoM. That must have hurt. Otherwise not much happened in added time and Saints had again stopped a table topping Arsenal team on the South Coast. Arsenal looked good in the first half, but I was pleased how Saints dug in and worked their way back into the game. Either side may have won it, but a point each seemed fair. BBC's MoM was Stu but a number of our players did well as Arsenal faded after their bright start.

Man Of The Match

|There were a few good performances. Baz had one of his better games and could do nothing about the one that went by him. All the defenders contributed and there was good work further forward. However, I'm going for the man I never expected to play for 90+ minutes, who led by his rugged example and cowed the visitors' danger men.

Take a bow Lyanco Evangelista Silveira Neves Vojnovic!

Embed from Getty Images

Lyanco enquiring if Gabriel Jasus really is a girl's blouse



  • 31 Bazunu
  • 4 Lyanco - Booked 90'
  • 6 Ćaleta-Car
  • 22 Salisu
  • 15 Perraud
  • 24 Elyounoussi
  • 8 Ward-Prowse
  • 27 Diallo
  • 17 S Armstrong (Edozie 80')
  • 9 A Armstrong (Walcott 73' - Booked 89')
  • 7 Aribo (Adams 73')


  • 1 McCarthy
  • 10 Adams
  • 18 Mara
  • 19 Djenepo
  • 23 Edozie
  • 28 Larios López
  • 32 Walcott
  • 50 Finnigan
  • 61 Payne


  • 1 Ramsdale
  • 4 White (Tierney 72')
  • 12 Saliba
  • 6 Gabriel
  • 18 Tomiyasu
  • 8 Ødegaard (Ferreira Vieira 83')
  • 5 Partey
  • 34 Xhaka
  • 7 Saka - Booked 29'
  • 9 Gabriel Jesus
  • 11 Martinelli (Nketiah 71')


  • 3 Tierney
  • 14 Nketiah
  • 16 Holding
  • 17 Cédric Soares
  • 21 Ferreira Vieira
  • 23 Sambi Lokonga
  • 24 Nelson
  • 27 Oliveira Alencar
  • 30 Turner

Match Stats


  • Possession 41%
  • Shots 10
  • Shots on Target 3
  • Corners 9
  • Fouls 11


  • Possession 59%
  • Shots 12
  • Shots on Target 3
  • Corners 4
  • Fouls 8


  • Referee: Robert Jones
  • Assistants: Lee Betts, Ian Hussin
  • Fourth official: Thomas Bramall
  • VAR: Peter Bankes
  • Assistant VAR: Derek Eaton

  • Attendance: 31,145

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