Arsenal 2 - 0 Southampton
After an International break which seemed to last forever, Arsenal welcomed Southampton to the Emirates, looking to extend their lead at the top of the table. The Saints however, were in great form, and were looking to cause an upset.[quote_right]”Ozil, Ramsey, Giroud and Wilshere in particular were hammering away at Southampton’s defences…”[/quote_right]
For the first time in a while, Arsenal started the game off in electrifying fashion.
Ozil, Ramsey, Giroud and Wilshere in particular were hammering away at Southampton’s defences, giving The Saints little respite in the opening twenty minutes.
Jack Wilshere hit the post before long with a beautiful chip over Boruc, which was closely followed by a Ramsey back heel which struck the very same post. The Gunners were getting close.
Eventually, in the twenty-second minute, Olivier Giroud broke the deadlock. Artur Boruc tried to Cruyff turn the Frenchman twice, but each turn got him deeper and deeper into trouble, as Giroud closed him down. Olivier soon nicked the ball, and tucked it into the open net.
The rest of the half was more quiet. Southampton began to hold on to the ball better, and managed to mount some half decent attacks on goal before the half time whistle blew.
During the second half, Arsenal continued their offensive onslaught, but were still shooting blanks in front of goal. Despite their dominance, their lead was worryingly fragile.[quote_left]”Arsenal then let the clock run down, as chants of, “We are top of the league” rang out around the Emirates Stadium…”[/quote_left]
As the clock wound down, Southampton became increasingly threatening. Arsenal soon threw both Walcott and Rosicky on the field of play, looking to finish the game off.
Despite their efforts however, Southampton stood strong.
However, in the eighty-sixth minute, Arsenal had their chance to put the game to bed. Following a corner Fonte grabbed a handful of Mertesacker’s shirt, prompting the referee to point to the spot. Olivier Giroud stepped up, and drove the ball into the right-hand side of the net, sending Boruc the wrong way.
Arsenal then let the clock run down, as chants of, “We are top of the league” rang out around the Emirates Stadium. The full time whistle soon blew, and The Gunners had completed a professional performance.
[title]Arsenal Player Ratings[/title]
Didn’t have much to do really, but did everything he had to do, very well. He tipped a snap shot over the bar in the first half, and dealt with some other efforts and crosses comfortably.
Bacary did well to provide Arsenal with some width, which they were badly lacking until Walcott came on. His crossing was average, and he also put in a shift defensively.
Per was his usual self, commanding the back line well, organising set peices, and looking a threat from corners. It was thanks to him the penalty was awarded.
Laurent was quick into the tackle, and got in front of his man on many occasions to spring-board Arsenal into an attack.
Kieran was as dependable at the back as usual, and also made some intelligent moves coming forward. He provided an outlet as Cazorla tucked in, and very nearly played in a beautiful ball into the path of Giroud in the second half.
A fair performance from Aaron. He almost bagged himself another wonderful goal, but his back-heeled finish rattled off the post instead. Was quiet for much of the game, but his engine was always running.
Not a great show from Mikel. He put Arsenal under pressure once or twice by giving the ball away in dangerous areas, and nearly assisted a Southampton goal with a bodged clearance. He’s had better days.
Hardly impacted the game at all in all fairness. His passing was on point, and he did well to tuck in and help attacks, but nothing ever really materialised. Subbed.
Jack was extremely lively at the start of the game, helping Arsenal get forward. He very nearly opened the scoring with a cheeky chip over Boruc, but the shot only hit the post. Good to see him showing spells of domination again. However, his performance cooled towards the end of the game.
Much like Cazorla, Ozil didn’t really light up the stage as you might have expected. Although he showed some great touches and passes, and probably should have had his offside goal counted, since he looked to be onside, Ozil had yet another average performance. Early days yet.
Giroud: [8/10] - MOTM
Olivier as per usual, worked very hard. He deserved his first goal due to his good work closing down Boruc, and he continued his display with good runs and passes around the area. He also took his penalty very well. A brace well-earned.
Came on for an injured Arteta and helped see the game out with some experience. Didn’t do much either way in the short time he had on the pitch, but it’s great to have someone like him on the bench.
Theo made his comeback and immediately looked a threat, as his long shot whizzed just past Boruc’s post. Good to see him back.
[title]Saints Sent Packing[/title]
Arsenal carried out an extremely professional job today, and it was a joy to see.
Wilshere and Giroud in particular were offensive threats, whilst The Gunners’ back line was once again faultless,keeping yet another clean sheet. I could definitely get used to that.
In the end, Southampton just never really got a look in. They were sent packing with their tails between their legs. After, Arsenal are big boys once again now. Don’t believe me? The Premier League table doesn’t lie.
Next up, Marseille at home. Bring it on.
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