22 November 2013

Let's be nice to Southampton, shall we?

What an exciting time for Southampton! Third in the Prem, only two seasons in it? Ahead of Chelsea. Man U. Man City. Tottenham. Won at Anfield. Drew at Old Trafford. League-leaders in fewest goals conceded. Gosh, it's almost enough to make me a Saints fan. I won't go quite that far, of course, but it is enough to make me wonder, maybe we should go easy on them on Saturday? You know, give 'em a little boost? I'm not saying we should roll over and let them win, but think of the surge in confidence they would feel after claming a point at The Emirates. They could quiet their critics, answer the doubters, put to rest the questions all too many have asked. "Are they for real?" some say. "They can't keep this up over the course of a full season," say others. Well, I say we lend the Saints a hand. After all, we can afford it, can't we? We haven't dropped too many points. We're in first place. Maybe we sit back a bit and settle for a 0-0 draw. Y'know, let them preserve that precious status as stingiest defense in the Prem for another week? Heck, if other fixtures go their way, they can even sit top of the table for a week or more!

They've earned it, after all, by being one of the hardest-working teams in the league. It's not like they're simply defending deep and refusing to play football (cough, cough, Pulis). They're pressing and scoring and outworking teams. It may not be attractive football, but it's getting results, and who are we to stand in their way? How long has it been since Southampton has played European football?  I'm not saying we should let them finish above us—don't get me wrong. Have they ever? They're founding members of the Premier League, for Pete's sake. Let's help them get into the Europa League, at least. They practically gifted us Theo and the Ox. We owe them, don't we? Surely, letting them take a point is a fitting way of showing our gratitude. Look at it this way, helping them stay near the top of the table makes things more crowded. Spurs will have an even tougher time catching up to us if there's another club in the mix.

I want to slum around in such ignoble thoughts, though. Far better to focus on the nobler motives. Instead of coming across as front-running bullies, we could emerge as the "bigger" team by letting the little guy claim some glory. Beating Southampton would only prove that we are bigger, wealthier, snobs. Letting Southampton draw shows that we are generous, humble, respectful. All the money in the world can't buy that kind of goodwill. Think it over before you dismiss it out of hand. That's all I ask.

Wait. What the @#$% was I thinking? Letting Southampton nick a point from us? Sweet Enola Gay. I They let Tottenham have Gareth Bale. They had the audacity to score on us last season—twice. I hope we double up their precious goals-conceded. I hope we run riotously over them like we did last season, slicing open that defense of theirs, eviscerating them, pummeling them, scoring six ways from Sunday. I want to see us get to a point that Bendtner scores. We're not in the business of doing favors or giving anyone a leg up. There's another club in London whose supporters don't seem to mind losing. Four miles north, as the capon flies. We have silverware on our mind and can take no prisoners. I want to see defenders falling left and right, helplessly tripping over their own feet as Ramsey and Cazorla and Gnabry and the rest fly around the pitch, the ball pinging back and forth like a Superball© on crack until it rockets through to the back of the net. I want Boruc to spend so much time taking the ball from the back of the net that he ends up paying rent on the space. I want Szczesny to get a chance to score only to pull the ball back off the goal-line and knock it out of bounds instead, just because he can. Last time we hosted the Saints was 14 months and a manager ago, but we put six past them then.

They've overhauled and are one of the stories of the season so far. Good on them and all. I sincerely hope they stay up and finish in the top five. However, I hope we make it a little harder for them, whether we win in a nailbiter or a rout. They'll have to find their points on another day. Come on, you Gunners—goals from Gnabry, Cazorla, and Giroud. Get 'er done!