4 Thoughts From Arsenal’s 2-0 Win Over Southampton
League leaders Arsenal eased to a 2-0 win over Southampton at the Emirates on Saturday afternoon. Here, Gunner333 gives us some talking points from the match.
Arsenal eased to a 2-0 win over Southampton at the Emirates on Saturday afternoon. Here, Gunner333 gives us some talking points from the game.
The Saints’ annual visit to the Emirates was greeted with added spice, considering the two were currently battling in the Champions League spots. A top-of-the-table Arsenal side welcomed key man Theo Walcott back from injury, as he began on the bench, whilst the away side included last week’s England debutant’s Adam Lallana and Jay Rodriguez in their first eleven.
The game was delayed by 15 minutes due to problems with the London Underground, and the teams started in subdued fashion when we eventually kicked off. Jack Wilshere created the first opportunity of the match with his lobbed effort clipping the post after it beat Boruc. Ramsey followed up moments later but was denied by the same piece of woodwork after an audacious flick almost found the bottom corner.
The deadlock was eventually broken in hilarious fashion when Boruc tried to skilfully take the ball around Giroud, but instead he gifted the Frenchman the opener as was robbed of possession in the area to leave the striker to tap home into the empty net. We failed to really kick on and the visitors almost levelled when both Lallana and Rodriguez drew good saves from Szczesny. Özil responded by testing Boruc but we couldn’t find a way through.
Theo Walcott then appeared as a substitute with roughly 20 minutes remaining, with the 24-year-old missing much of Arsenal’s impressive early-season form through injury. The Englishman had a say in the final goal, his corner forcing Fonté to pull Mertesacker back in the box and the referee pointed to the spot. Giroud took it and cooly slotted home to make it 2-0 and seal the three points.
Full time and yet another victory for the Gunners. Here I will analyse our all-round performance and how it can be improved.
1) What will Theo bring to this team?
The obvious core of Walcott’s play is his pace and this is an attribute Arsenal’s front-line have certainly lacked in recent times. Giroud brings strength and the ability to hold up play but is often found wanting for pace.
Not only does Theo add pace to our front-line but he is also going to bring a much-needed goal threat. Before his injury, he frequently found the net in big games and was a real difference in our style of play. Perhaps his return will bring more goals and he’ll rekindle his impressive partnership with Giroud.
2) Giroud back among the goals
Often at the centre of many Arsenal critics, Olivier Giroud ended his four-game goal-scoring drought with a brace. All game long he was brimming with confidence and sniffed out half chances and turned them into real goal-scoring opportunities. His excellent work-rate forced Boruc into the mistake and he cooly slotted home his second from the penalty spot. The likes of Cazorla and Özil have the ability to bring the best out of the Frenchman but he has also showed he can grab a goal for himself through sheer determination.
3) Defence continues to impress
The fact we have a 100% record in the league at home since opening day of the season, shows that our back-line must be doing something right. Mertesacker and Koscielny have a solid partnership and are keeping Belgian Vermaelen out of the equation.
Our full-backs are getting the balance of attack and defence spot on this season. Sagna is getting back to his best and Gibbs is one of our most consistent performers, and it all adds up to a far more solid defence than we’ve been used to in recent years. Hopefully it will be a bedrock to success.
4) What is our best midfield?
With player’s returning to fitness, Wenger now finds himself facing a selection headache in the middle of the park. Ozil or Cazorla, Rambo or Wilshere, Flamini or Arteta? These are all questions stumping the Frenchman and a solution looks difficult to find.
I’m not convinced Arsene knows what his best starting eleven is yet, probably because he hasn’t had those eleven players all fit at the same time. The boss seems to like going with the Arteta-Flamini axis when possible, and with Ozil and Cazorla nailed-on starters, it only leaves one place up for grabs and you’d think Theo will get the nod to start on the right now he’s back, which leaves Wilshere on the bench. However, with the squad getting back to full fitness we now find ourselves with options and that can only be a good thing.
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