Arsenal Away Lost 3 – 2
The state of the current squad means that team selection announcements are awaited with varying degrees of anticipation and trepidation – for instance, who would get the blame for the West Ham calamity? The answer would seem to be the forwards as only Long lined up at Arsenal leaving Austin and Gabbiadini on the bench and Carrillo nowhere to be seen. It’s a more familiar formation for the players and they responded well enough with Ward-Prowse’s scuffed shot beating Čech but not the player on the line. No matter: the team took an early lead anyway when Long finished off Soares’ cross very nicely – maybe the manager has told him what the nets are for? Sadly the situation was reversed before the break, with Aubameyang poking home the Gunners’ equaliser from a situation which every time you look at it seemed to be in the control of McCarthy and Soares. With this game coming between European fixtures, this was a good time to be playing Arsenal, but a shame about Aubameyang who was assured of a place as he is cup-tied. A shame about Welbeck too: not a regular starter these days, but he usually seems to score against Saints, even if his first that gave his side the half time lead needed a deflection off Yoshida to find its way in. The visitors found the going tough when the game resumed, but suddenly they found Long putting the ball in the net, diverting Soares’ wayward shot past Čech, only to find himself inadvertently offside. Time for Charlie to see what he could do, and almost immediately after replacing Yoshida, Austin tapped in from another Soares assist on 73 minutes. We really need wins rather than draws and gaining all three points did seem a realistic possibility, but we went home with nothing after Iwobi’s cross found Stephens, Soares and McCarthy wanting as Welbeck bundled the ball home from close range. Stephens maybe needs a bit of a rest, and he’ll get one during the next game after giving Wilshire a bit of a clout when trying to shake off the midfielder’s illegal attentions. Somehow Elneny decided to get involved in the resulting ‘handbags’ and it was ten-a-side by the time Saints got round to taking their free kick, which came to nothing just before the game ended.
LSSC Man of the Match: Oriol Romeu. We always need him to play well when conceding possession 65:35.