Lowell Hornby on Arsenal captain Aubameyang's disciplinary issues after Gunners ease past Southampton

Loyal Gooner Lowell on Arsenal: Back to winning ways and enjoyable football

Lowell Hornby on Arsenal captain Aubameyang's disciplinary issues after Gunners ease past Southampton

Lowell Hornby reflects on Saturday's game, the first league match he's missed this season, after contracting Covid


Back to winning ways, and back to genuinely enjoyable football.

Given that it was enjoyable, it’s only right that I wasn’t there for the first time this season.

Having contracted the scouse variant of the virus, I have been ruled out of both today’s game and Wednesday’s.

Of course this situation will be monitored but until then I’ll be training without the squad.

Seriously though, in a pandemic, is it legally possible to do a 38 game season?

Surely the odds are that you’d catch it sooner than later and unfortunately for me, my time came for two games that involve no travel whatsoever… Great. 

I felt sick not being there. Genuinely, sick. I speak from the privileged perspective of having always been able to yes, but when you’ve never missed a home game whilst in London it does feel inexplicably weird.

Especially in the pouring rain, I felt like I was letting them down. 

The build up to the game was burdened by drama.

One normal day as an Arsenal fan, one!

All I ask for, just one. Aubameyang was left out of the squad due to ‘disciplinary issues’ and not for the first time.

Surely you can’t have a club captain being left out for disciplinary issues? Just as we couldn’t have Granit as captain whilst he told us all to F off!

When asked about how long the ban would be, Mikel said “It starts today”… This might be the last we see of Auba, especially given his consistently poor performances this season.

I was worried about finding a stream particularly, with watching Gillette Soccer Special not a viable option in my mind - given recent performances though it presented as the more sensible option.

If we were all ‘sensible’ though we wouldn’t follow football at all. 

I was glad I did find a stream in the end, although the first 15 minutes were unnervingly bad.

Southampton had penned us in and we were unable to break out by playing as we usually like to do. A better team may have dismantled us in that first 15.

However well they’d penned us in, there was always space behind. That space was exploited in the 21st minute. A delightful counter, and nearly the whole team were involved in a move that was finished off unerringly by Lacazette. That’s how Arteta wants us to play; quick, flowing football as the opposition are invited into a press. It’s a recipe for goals, if you can get it right. 

The game changed after that goal.

Ødegaard was again brilliant, Martinelli and Saka too. It was no surprise that the second came 5 minutes later.

Tierney comically miscued the ball which resulted in actually quite good control, his cross was then blocked before he nodded the ball across the box for Ø to flick home. 3 in 3 for the Norwegian, who is finally looking like the player we all thought he might be. We are infinitely better with him in the side. 

The second half was much of the same. It felt like proper old school Arsenal.

Not old school George Graham Arsenal (that doesn’t come onto the scale of age for me) but 2010s Arsene Wenger Arsenal. Fantastic football, and constantly threatening to overwhelm an opposition of lesser quality.

Something we don’t often see nowadays. Gabriel had a goal ruled out, before nodding in from a corner 5 minutes later to make it 3-0. He’s now scored more league goals than Harry Kane this season :). 

It’s amazing that it finished 3-0. Both Martinelli and Saka hit the post in potentially the most exciting 15 minutes of the season. A period of unwavering pressure and infinitely pleasing quality.

Just a shame that it wasn’t four or five as it very well could’ve been. Something I didn’t think I’d be writing after that opening quarter of an hour. 

A win for the Gunners, and how we needed that. How Mikel needed that. It would have been very easy to drop all 11 of those players after the performance at Everton on Monday.

He stuck with his guns though, and his players repaid this faith he showed in them.

We’ve seen it enough now this season, they CAN play.

As I said, Mikel has more to answer for than I thought but Saturday was a brilliant start to the batting away of these questions.

Tomiyasu and Ramsdale again were fantastic, with Martinelli and Ødegaard making it as hard as possible for Mikel to drop them to bring ESR back in.

A good result and performance, and the ‘fans’ that hide in the shadows until we lose in order to get onto the manager are kept at bay for another week, or three days…

West Ham await, until then Gunners.

Lowell Hornby features in the pages of the current Gooner Fanzine. Buy it here 

Lowell plans to attend every Arsenal Premier League game this season and will be writing about it for the Gooner Fanzine. 

Read the brilliant Lowell's previous pieces below:

Lowell on Arsenal's defeat to Everton: Absolutely inexcusable

Lowell reflects on Arsenal's 3-2 defeat at Manchester United

Back to winning ways against the Magpies 

Lowell analyses loss to Liverpool

Arsenal's victory over Watford at the Emirates on Invincibles Day

Arsenal's stirring victory over land and sea and Leicester

Gunners outclass and overwhelm the Villa

Arsenal's frustrating evening against Palace

Arsenal's rain-check at wet and windy Brighton

My word Arsenal were good against Spurs  

Burnley are the new Stoke 

A welcome win over Norwich

Shambles at City 

Another disappointing performance

Brentford: my first ever away game 

...............

Learn more about Lowell in his own words.

My name is Lowell Hornby.

I’ve been a devout Gooner for all I can remember. I was taken to my first Arsenal game in 2007 and never looked back.

I’ve never really thought of football being in my life as a conscious choice, more of a genetic deficiency.

The relationship my Dad (who some of you may know: Nick Hornby, author of Fever Pitch) has developed with football inevitably has rubbed off on me.

It feels like it’s a lot more than results; it’s the club, the feeling, the fans, the friends - everything.

In my year off, after an unimaginably painful 18 months of fan-less football, I can’t think of anything I’d rather do than follow my beloved Arsenal up and down the country as I attempt to go to every Premier League game this season.

The pieces I write will document not just the games, but my experiences, the cities, the journeys, the people.

I hope in doing so I can capture, express, articulate and transmit the visceral emotions of myself, fellow Gooners and football fans as a whole.

I live and breathe football, and I hope these pieces and my project this season can convey that in a way that’s enjoyable to experience vicariously.

If you’d like to be following me more casually, and be notified of any pieces of course, my Twitter handle is @weststandlowell and I’ll be tweeting over there. COYG


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