Arsenal vs Southampton: Match Notes
This game was what football is all about. Arsenal were in top gear right from the start, turning that momentum from Liverpool into even more goals. Southampton themselves, continued their poor form by conceding two own goals. They were being constantly stretched by Arsenal’s quick, incisive passing and despite a late first half goal, they just couldn’t answer back.
Nigel Adkins made a good tactical move in bringing on Gaston Ramirez and switching to a 4-4-2 in the second half but by then it was too late. Ramirez managed to bridge the gap between midfield and attack which caused us a lot of problems to start the half. Southampton had a few chances to score a second and we were lucky that they didn’t manage it. In the end, with the help of our own substitutes Arsenal were able to put the match away and log a comfortable victory which makes this one of the best starts to a season we’ve seen from this team in a long time.
Here’s a couple of key points from the match:
- Quite simply, the attacks down the left were just brilliant. Cazorla and Podolski link up like they’ve been playing for years together. Gibbs and Gervinho managed to get in on the act, making for a devastating first half for the visitors. We maybe saw a little bit of it in towards the end of the game with the team seemingly desperate to get Giroud off the mark as well. With Cazorla being the focal point of the attack, the short triangles makes it easier to dribble into compact spaces without losing the ball. Since teams tend to throw as many men in their own box as possible to stop Arsenal, this approach will definitely win us more points than we managed last season.
- As ArsenalColumn pointed out, the deep line means we’re going to see a lot of crosses come in this season. And a lot of those are going to end up in the net. But the fumble by Szczesny is unacceptable even though in the end it did nothing more than mar a perfect score. You could’ve seen Szczesny making a mistake today given that he’s just come back from a minor injury so we’ll let him get away with it. Though near the end of last season he seemed lacking in confidence and made a fair few errors then as well. Let’s just hope this doesn’t become a regular occurrence.
Even though there were big performances from the likes of Arteta, a few individual performances stuck out in particular:
- Gervinho himself did a lot better starting down the middle. It was a curious decision to play him up front but I thought it might do him some good as he just seems to isolate himself down the wing. Playing through the middle would have (and did) get him more involved in the build up play. He also instinctively drifted out wide during the match, rotating with Ox and Podolski on occasion. That made him very difficult to mark and it’s what led to his first goal after Fox just seemed completely unaware of where he was.
- The young fullbacks both showed great maturity today. We’re slowly starting to see that our “left back problem” is not such a problem anymore. Gibbs managed to assist in both humiliating own goals, although he would’ve liked to have claimed the first as his own. On top of that, he has improved a lot on the defensive end of things. He’s finally managing to balance it out with his runs up the field. Meanwhile, Jenkinson seems a lot more confident after that Liverpool game. He put in a solid shift against Southampton, rarely, if at all, setting a foot wrong over the course of the match. It’s good news for Sagna who doesn’t need to be rushed back into action only to risk injuring himself again.