Tag Archives: Southampton v. Arsenal; Theo Walcott

soton

Southampton v. Arsenal: happy new year?

I don’t really make resolutions but of the 10 or so I’ve made, the one that has been easiest and most enjoyable to keep was the one I made January 1, 2008, to start writing this blog. Maybe it was a case of picking a resolution that I knew I could keep? After all, other, less famous, resolutions that I have found easy to keep include; baking my own bread, switching to French Press instead of drip coffee, and eating a butter basted steak every Sunday.

So that’s my advice to all you resolvers, pick something you know you can accomplish. For example, my grandfather was one of the best people I’ve ever known and he drank two drinks every day. Never more than two drinks mind you, just the two. Each drink included 1.5 jiggers of Scotch (J&B), with a splash of Perrier, and a twist of lemon. He lived until he was over 90 and I’m convinced it was something in that magical elixir. That’s the kind of resolution I recommend “drink like Tim’s grandfather”.

If you picked some life-changing resolution like quitting smoking, exercising every day, or going vegan I can only say that I wish you the best of luck. Personally, I would start with something a little smaller like resolving to end world hunger but hey, to each his own. This morning I resolve to eat some eggs. Probably with bacon. Or if I’m feeling generous to the Earth, some turkey sausage. Because that’s how you save the Earth: by eating turkey sausage instead of bacon.

You will have noticed by now that the site design is different than yesterday. That’s because the old theme was breaking my site: if I published an article with any interest I got timeouts. So, I had to pare things down and start over. Look for a site re-design in the coming months.

Today, however, Arsenal play Southampton, a homecoming of sorts for Theo Walcott. I’m not sure if you know this (because you’ve been in a coma) but Theo Walcott used to play for Southampton before coming to Arsenal. So too did Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, it’s like a double date to the homecoming!

And they are both reportedly excited. So excited that Theo apparently “wrapped himself in bubble-wrap” so as not to sustain a pre-match injury. No word on whether he asked Gina to jump over him.

Theo has been on an insane run of form so I guess it’s good that he’s wrapping himself in bubble wrap, because Arsenal need him healthy for our January fire sale/January run to secure fourth place. Ha ha, just kidding (only sort of).

Since his substitute appearance against QPR, Walcott has scored 10 goals and provided 8 assists, proving instrumental in Arsenal’s good run of form against lower-table opposition. Arsenal supporters, myself included, have seen that run of form and are calling for the team to sign him up to (nearly) any terms he wants. If he wants £100k a week, a fat bonus, and that his contract includes a release clause to be activated if Arsenal don’t win trophies well that’s all perfectly acceptable! Even if the contract guarantees a certain number of appearances as center forward, thereby stripping the manager of his ability to, you know “manage”, that’s also acceptable because we can’t keep losing these players to, erm, stuff.

It’s really a no win situation. Catch-22 if you will. The more that Walcott plays either the more valuable he becomes or the less valuable he becomes, either situation doesn’t benefit the club. If he starts scoring and assisting and showing that he can play through the middle then his Bosman transfer value raises, Arsenal’s dependence on the player raises, and Arsenal fans’ ire raises with him and the club the longer he goes without signing. If his form drops back off, then he becomes less marketable and more affordable, but then we have a player that we are paying who is not very good or inconsistent at best and then we are under pressure to sign a player who is inconsistent.

Given his form against the lower-tier teams this last month, I expect him to have a great game against Southampton today. I also expect that Arsene Wenger will play him through the middle, though I suppose we’ll find out soon enough.

If Arsenal start both of the former Southampton men it could free up others to have a good game as well. If Theo ad Ox are pulling the Soton defenders all over the pitch it could create space and time for folks like Cazorla and Podolski to get on the scoresheet. Or hey, maybe even Wilshere. He could use a good goal.

I will warn that Southampton are fighting hard against relegation and have managed two draws in their last two games. The latest was a 3-3 shocker against Stoke at the Brittania. Stoke hadn’t conceded three at the Brittania since 1463 and they were hit hard in the first half from a barrage of Southampton goals. Arsenal need to show the requisite “fight” and “hustle”, need to stay focused for the full match and not switch off or pull the handbrake, and not think they can just show up and beat this team just because we stomped them in the first tie.

A sentence that could be slightly reworked and written prior to every kickoff, ever.

I’d like to see Arsenal start the year off resolving to stop making so many mental errors in games but that’s about as realistic as quitting smoking or going vegan. So, instead, here’s hoping that everyone, Arsenal FC as well, gets the new year off to a good start and resolves to just do a few little things better. Things they can achieve, like beating a relegation-bound team.

Qq