Editorial

Stevie Bould’s yellow and blue army?

By Kevin Whitcher

Online Ed: Arsenal vanquish Southampton in FA Cup 4th Round

In the quarter finals of the 2004 FA Cup Arsenal visited the south coast and gave their hosts a football lesson in winning 5-1. Thierry Henry and Freddie Ljungberg each scored twice with Kolo Toure netting the other. A certain Teddy Sheringham popped up with a consolation goal in the 90th minute

Yesterday evening Arsenal went one better – this time against Southampton, by scoring five and keeping a clean sheet. It was a thoroughly enjoyable 90 minutes, and whatever the doubts about what the team can achieve under Arsene Wenger this season, games like this can only be enjoyed.

Sure, Southampton put out a very weak team. The decision to charge £15 for adult tickets was a surefire sign that this was going to be the policy. And with the match sandwiched between their League Cup semi-final second leg and a visit to Swansea three days later in the Premier League, it was no great surprise. Arsenal, for their own part, made ten changes, only Shkodran Mustafi remaining from the side that started against Burnley. But in spite of fielding a couple of youngsters of their own in the form of Maitland-Niles and Reine-Adelaide, the visitors had by far the stronger starting eleven. Southampton’s starting line-up were weaker than the team that eliminated Arsenal from the League Cup back at the tail end of November.

Significantly, Maitland-Niles, in the Coquelin role, had a generally excellent game and showed good football intelligence in his decision making. The more experienced Ospina, Gibbs and Oxlade-Chamberlain made errors in their own half that might have led to Southampton goals, but it was a night when mistakes were not punished. When I saw the midfield in the line-ups, I thought, this is a mix of indiscipline and inexperience. Yet, they ran the show yesterday.

The Ox was the man of the match because of his attacking play, threading balls through to forwards with precision. The goals were all delightful to watch, often involving a runner exploiting space after some crisp passing before cutting back to a team-mate to finish.

Both Theo Walcott and Danny Welbeck started the game. Neither had featured in the starting line-up for a while, the latter obviously far longer – and between them they scored all of Arsenal’s goals. The combination play was as good as we have seen from the team this season, which, given the number of second stringers out there, give cause for optimism. That both Walcott and Welbeck looked good in front of goal could be timely given at this time of the season Olivier Giroud often hits a dry spell. We wait to see who will be selected in the next two matches.

Jeff Reine-Adelaide contributed, but had a quieter game than most of his attacking colleagues. The lack of Arsene Wenger on the bench seemed to make no difference whatsoever, and for most of the game Steve Bould did not leave his seat to influence matters verbally. Mind you, he hardly needed to.

One for a future trivia question. Was this the first time a starting Arsenal eleven began with three players who had double-barrelled surnames? A surefire sign of the increasing gentrification in the game? (That’s a gag by the way). It was good to see Bellerin return and one imagines that he will retain his position. Overall, the defenders didn’t have too much work to do, such was the paucity of the Saints’ display. If only it could be like this when the Gunners return in the rescheduled Premier League fixture later in the season.

Sanchez, like a dog on a lead wanting to chase a ball, couldn’t wait to get on and join the fun. On one hand, why risk him at 3-0 up? But currently, the club are trying to keep the player sweet, which seems to indicate there is a chance he might yet sign a new deal. If they knew he were going, they probably would have not indulged him. He created two goals when he came on.

A chant of “Stevie Bould’s red and white army” (so what if they were playing in yellow) rang out loud from the away end and the home fans drifted into the night before the final whistle. Good luck to them at Wembley at the end of February, when I have little doubt we’ll see a very different eleven to face Man United in the League Cup Final.

Arsenal wait to see who they face in the last 16, but I’d be very surprised if they have an easier game than this for the rest of the season. Tougher tasks lie ahead, but there is no question that there is depth in the squad, that the manager has options in selection. A good evening’s work and whatever you think of Arsenal in 2017, highly enjoyable to watch.

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29th January 2017 08:27:21

(9.6/10)

Comments and Reaction

User comments on this article are now closed. If you want to continue the debate, why not do so on the Gooner Forum.

GoonerRon  9:10am 29th Jan 2017

When they beats us in the League Cup I was really pissed off because our squad players didn't do anywhere near enough to stake a claim for a place in the first XI. Yesterday was the opposite, with most of those coming in making a case for further inclusion. I was sceptical about the midfield but to be fair they bossed it. I really like the look of Lucas, such a clever player with a great blend of pace, vision and precision. Delighted to see Welbeck back with such a polished performance - he could be a huge asset for the rest of the season. Interesting to see the starting line up against Watford, let it not be said we don't have strength in depth. - Post No. 103378


Leesmith  9:23am 29th Jan 2017

Good win- big shout must go out to Perez, we really need to give him more game time, a very intelligent creative player.Big respect to Danny also - he will be a big player in the business end of the season.dd - Post No. 103379


John F  9:36am 29th Jan 2017

Agree with GR about Perez he looks impressive and so did Welbeck but will Wenger play them instead of his old favourites.If the F A by showing they have no respect for the fine traditions of the F A cup by changing the kick off time of the final,playing semi's at Wembley,playing ties at times that have no thought for visiting supporters,then it is hardly surprising that this feeds down to the clubs in their team selections.It should be called the F R cup(Football reserve cup). Southampton are a mid table team so why place a match against Swansea above the FA cup.My first game at Highbury was 1977 FA cup tie against Coventry,a 42,000 crowd 20 above the league fixture such was the draw of the FA cup. - Post No. 103380


Rob Admin  10:46am 29th Jan 2017

Thought Maitland-Miles had a great game, looked strong and seemed to get in the way of a lot of the Southampton attacks, breaking them down. A very mature performance imo - Post No. 103381


jeff wright  10:53am 29th Jan 2017

The Southampton side looked rather lightweight and the way the game panned out suited Welbeck and old Saints boy Wally making them look world class ! Anyway onwards on upwards as someone used to say .With old stressed out Wengo seated safely in the stands instead of berating or attacking physically the ref and linesman or opposition manager the game was played in a friendly spirit of bonhomie it was like watching kids jumping about on a bouncy castle laughing and having fun with old grumpy grandad away for the day.Sigh...if only it was for permanent. - Post No. 103382


GSPM  11:47am 29th Jan 2017

Good win , helped by a weak saints team , great for confidence going into Feb which will decide when our season ends . I thought team had a a bit more pace about it, with Lucas showing speed and done great touches . , all in all a good win but let's not get carried away, if Lfc can take points off cfc and we beat watford, it sets up next weeks game as an all or nothing game...COYG . - Post No. 103383


jeff wright  12:53pm 29th Jan 2017

Strange but true... there is a new movie out starring Nicholas Cage called... ARSENAL he plays a deranged weird old American obsessed with making money by all sorts of nasty nefarious means and who wears a wig and a dodgy moustache . You couldn't make it up. Warning not for the squeamish. - Post No. 103384


Wear Your Colours  12:58pm 29th Jan 2017

I thought Perez had a fantastic game playing some incisive passes in the build-up for the 1st, 3rd and 5th goals. It was a little unfortunate he hit the keeper late-on for what would have been our sixth. It was a really uplifting performance by the whole team; great to see both Danny and Theo return in such good scoring form. Let's hope we keep up the momentum with a win at Emirates on Tuesday. COYG! - Post No. 103385


Bard  13:05pm 29th Jan 2017

A decent result. it is clear that Arsenal's second string players are better than Sotons. I agree Perez played a couple of killer balls around the box, looks really good. Interesting watching the Jeff. He is a big lad these days but insists in trying to play like Messi. He needs to use his size and strength and become more of a powerhouse rather than a barca lite type. - Post No. 103386


David1  14:55pm 29th Jan 2017

Good to see registration; it was getting real bad. I think someone mention that watching arsenal was like watching Federer play - he might reach the semis but he would never win a grand slam event again. Hope springs eternal. - Post No. 103387


mbg  15:46pm 29th Jan 2017

I didn't see the game to be honest and only caught it on motd obviously not high up in Southampton's priorities but good result, well done bouldy, TOF will not like him receiving the praise I didn't see any post match interviews or pressers either did TOF even allow him to take them and the praise ? such is his ego or did he shove bouldy out of the way to take the praise with a smile like a Cheshire cat. Well done good performance it just goes to show how the players could/would perform under a new manager, I bet they loved yesterday. - Post No. 103388


mbg  16:05pm 29th Jan 2017

Stevie Boulds red and white army, love it, i bet wenger hated that, lets hear a hell of a lot more of it in the next three games along with good results, and bouldy out of his seat barking orders, maybe the AKB's will even realise their messiah isn't needed. - Post No. 103389


Up For Grabs Now  17:17pm 29th Jan 2017

Now that this website has finally taken action against all the wind up merchants and trolls, it has encouraged me to occasionally contribute again. Nothing new to say right now, other than that regardless of yesterdays undoubted good result, like most, lets see what happens against Chelsea next weekend, as after all that will determine how seriously Wenger will take the FA Cup in the latter stages. My money would still be on finishing in the top four, but as per usual be eliminated at the last 16 stage of the CL. Hardly an insightful prediction is it, but that's what it's like supporting Arsenal these days - predictable failure in the only two competitions that matter. Roll on next season, when we can do it all again, assuming Wenger extends his lucrative no pressure to achieve contract once more, yawn!! - Post No. 103390


markymark  17:26pm 29th Jan 2017

Perez had some lovely touches I'm surprised he's played such little part in our season so far. - Post No. 103391


mbg  19:17pm 29th Jan 2017

The count down clocks up again on Sky Sports all we need now is Jim White licking his lips while having an Organism over some second rater from the French lique 2 and of course Big ben and the AKB's congregating outside the Emirates, but I suppose the result yesterday means we don't need anyone, there again if Stevie Bould was in charge maybe we wouldn't. - Post No. 103392


CORNISH GOONER  19:43pm 29th Jan 2017

Meaningless game in a way as it is clearly apparent that only a handful of PL sides are giving the FA Cup serious attention - but there are 3 other heavy hitters remaining. I think Clouseau sees it as his only real opportunity for silverware & justifying his new contract. It is also very clear that we do have greater strength in depth than most sides but the real weakness will always be The Old French Pensioner - but, at the moment, he is enjoying huge slices of good fortune. When will his luck run out? - Post No. 103393


Paulward  20:08pm 29th Jan 2017

Think most of us looked at our fixture run between Man City away and Chelsea away and predicted a decent points harvest. We all know that we have to beat Watford and Chelsea before any thoughts of a title push can be seriously entertained.Winning the cup would be nice of course but would not be a game changer as far as the managers future is concerned. - Post No. 103394


mbg  21:31pm 29th Jan 2017

CORNISH, good post as always, yes he's enjoying good fortune alright (does't he always) and still he whinges, now he's enjoying even more and he probably didn't even know/realise he had it, Steve Bould, it's most certainly a face saver, a deal maker, a job saver (again) remember when him and his followers used to treat it with distain, how it has saved his arse and there's a good chance it will again. And if it does but as you say there's still some big hitters, but if it does lets hope he has the decency and dignity to piss off. - Post No. 103395


Arseneknewbest  22:00pm 29th Jan 2017

I can't believe he's really gone...Maybe I shouldn't get my hopes up just yet. Soton put out a ridiculously weak team yesterday (although it was not too disimilar from the one that beat the canaries in the third round replay). And there were no genuinely heavy hitters on their bench either. It makes you wonder whether Puel seriously underestimated Asano or if he actually intended to lose, a la Leeds, Brighton, Liverpool(?) in order to focus on other meaningless/unlikely trophies. Baffling considering they beat the bin dippperz in the week. All very odd - the entire tournament is skewed by money and tactics involving ulterior motives. In the current cash dominated climate you can almost imagine managers having quiet, off-the-record conversations in which they reveal to each other the type of team they're planning to pick, E.g. Let's both have 6 or 8 players who have played less than 5 first team games this season, or we should both agree to make x number of changes from our last starting eleven in the PL. This would also take a huge leap of faith for say, Puel, to believe the chihuahua about his planned team. In much the same way that it's happened to us in recent years (sheff wed, blackburn, watford etc.), there must thousands of fans all over England who have banged another nail in the coffin of a club they once admired. Leeds, Liverpoo, newcastle and indeed southampton among them (and a close call for the spuds). In essence, when one or other team is not fully going for it, the currency is entirely devalued. The Stan-K and wengo effect. I had a dose of FA cup action at Burnley where their second 11 beat Bristol City. Turf Moor is a small ground and was only 60% full. All a bit underwhelming, although I did apologise to a small group of their fans in the boozer aferwards for the way in which Arsenal mugged them twice this season. Very civic minded of me I thought. Can't say I'm missing him. There's only so many ways to insult someone as thick as he is. - Post No. 103396


John F  8:17am 30th Jan 2017

Great post AKB,the F A would have to increase the prize money per round substantially to get the clubs to take the Cup seriously again.There is talk that the winners should get a champions league place,I hope they do not go down that road. - Post No. 103397


Arseneknewbest  9:00am 30th Jan 2017

John F - I agree mate. If the money was right, they'd all be scurrying like rats to win it. My hunch is that the current CL format - with qualification from as far back as fourth - sounded the FAC's death knell. For a club like ours and many others in the PL, a top 4 finish is the holy grail. They'll sacrifice anything, including their own and the fans' dignity to get there. Long and wasted journeys for N'castle and Leeds fans this weekend (is if their clubs hadn't already heaped enough shi'ite onto them in the past 10 years). They must feel thoroughly conned. Still, it all helps to keep the cash where it belongs - in the pockets of the top four. A terrible state of affairs. The answer must be for a universal boycott of the CL - about as likely as stan having a full head of hair. - Post No. 103398


John F  10:51am 30th Jan 2017

Totally agree Akb ,The premier league is also doing its best to undermine the F A Cup by organising a full fixture list this week.I get the impression that the Premier league views the FA cup as an inconvenience.It is not only fans who are being cheated but people who like a punt on games.There was a time when clubs were threatened with fines for fielding a weakened side.I went on a Southampton forum and most are perplexed and upset by Puels team selection as they are not in any danger in the prem and the cups are their only realistic target. - Post No. 103399


Bard  10:51am 30th Jan 2017

I cant quite get my head around the euphoria surrounding Sat's reserve team game. It was a jolly romp but in the grand scheme of things means nothing. It is a sign of how low expectations are these days that Sat is somehow celebrated as if we are on the verge of world domination. I enjoyed it in the way i enjoy an u/18 game. As many have stated the FA cup is now an irrelevance judging by the way most teams put out understrength sides. If we beat Chelsea 5-0 then we will really have something to shout about but that ain't going to happen. Agree its good to have that muppet Jamerson et al off the site. - Post No. 103400


TonyEvans  12:47pm 30th Jan 2017

What more has Perez got to do to get a regular starting place? No doubt he will be benched again tomorrow in favour of one of Wenger's 'pet players'. As for the game, meaningless really and, as others have said, such a shame that the FA Cup is being treated with such contempt by so many teams. It seems to get worse every year and I feel sorry for the likes of Newcastle's fans - yes obviously promotion is key, but would a cup run really be so bad - not for the fans I am sure! - Post No. 103401


jjetplane  13:15pm 30th Jan 2017

It really was a walk in the park on saturday and hard to fathom why the saints at home did not want to go all outbut this is where the FACup is almost meaningless and when you hear the media trying to big it up it is laughable. Tides are turning though and there is a creeping narrative that the PL is not quite the best league in the world. It is basically a TV product and the half empty grounds everywhere are backing that story. I was at a 9th tier match on saturday and it struck me that earlier in the season when we crashed out of the FA Cup prelims we were hoping for the tiniest of runs in the cup.This coupled with early exits from the Vase and County cup becajuse we cannot compete with the big boys is a perspective worth airing. For my county team to finish in the top 4 would be a miracle. We have been in the top 6 all season so here is still hoping. Watching Arsenal walk the ball into the net on saturday does little for my cup passion. Glad I have still got some though. - Post No. 103403


Issue #264 - Out Now!

Gooner Editorial

19th March 2017

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