Wednesday 3rd February 2016
No score draws are nothing new. Over the years in fact, we have experienced many. Some came in games that saw everything but a goal. Others have been the perfect example of that ‘bore draw’. Last night’s latest example however, was right up there amongst the most frustrating.
Just over 29 years ago I remember a very similar game against the Saints. The one difference being Niall Quinn being on hand to stab home a rebound off the post giving the victory our performance on the day deserved.
The game had a real air of celebration about it from what I recall. Not only were we sitting proudly at the top of the league as George Graham built his hugely successful squad of that period, but Southampton visited on the day our great club celebrated its centenary.
The programme that day looked forward to our 100th League meeting against spurs and the all ticket trip to Reading in the FA Cup 3rd round whilst an article about one of our youth team squad Kevin Campbell will make any Gooner out there of an age to remember that time feel even older!!
Photographs include Bob Wilson presenting a cheque to the latest ‘Make money with Arsenal’ draw, George Graham being given a huge bottle of Bells whisky for being ‘Manager of the Month’, Lofty from Eastenders holding a giant teddy bear called Rocky, some quality haircuts in the Southampton pen pictures including Mark Wright sporting the mighty mullet and Jack Kelsey and his staff posing in a Gunners Shop selling items from a stadium postcard at 15 pence to a duvet and pillow set at a princely 21 quid, all fine examples of the regular treats we enjoyed in the programme from week to week.
It was a chilly night on Tuesday and losing in our last outing went hand in hand with that sense of revenge since our Christmas stuffing on the south coast in an overall package that demanded a victory.
And that sense of ‘crucial’ surrounding the fixture was enough for there to be a few nerves around pre-match.
And am I the only one that is still scratching his head as to how exactly we managed not to win?
We weren’t stunning. But we played well enough and created sufficient chances to have won by a hatful on another day. Disappointing finishing, great goalkeeping and defending and downright bad luck is the combination we can draw I feel.
Midway through the first half Mesut brought the ball down out of the sky in breathtaking fashion, the save a split second later preventing it from being one of this season’s truly great goals. So it could have been 1 nil.
A few moments later the inspired Saints goalkeeper made a quite incredible point blank save from the same player. So it could have been 2 nil.
I remember Mane having a good and pretty much Southampton’s only chance of the game just before half time. So it could have been 2-1.
Or 1-0 down of course. But it wasn’t any of those as we tried to get warm at the break.
All I can remember of the second period is wave after wave of attack and chances going begging again and again.
All in all it meant a goalless game and an extremely frustrating two points dropped.
So from being one of the leaders we are now one of the chasing pack.
Trying to be as positive as possible, despite our poor points haul in recent games, we have lost only 1 of our last 4 and that in a game where we battled hard with 10 men for 70 odd minutes.
But we need to turn that grit and determination into wins. And quickly.
Dean Court is a stadium I have visited before. A fixture as part of a weekend away a number of years ago is proof of my romantic side ;-)). The stadium has been turned round and rebuilt since then and I’ve never been there to see an Arsenal side of any level.
That novelty factor however, is nowhere near as important as us needing a result on Sunday lunchtime against Eddie Howe’s in form outfit.
Keep the faith and let’s get behind our team.