From Kevin Brown, Last Word On Football
In an important match for both sides, both Arsenal and Southampton went for the win in an exciting match. It was Arsenal who came out on top, defeating Southampton 2-1 in stoppage time.
Essential Notes from the Arsenal Home Win to Southampton
Arsenal came out poorly against Southampton on Saturday afternoon. Southampton ace Dusan Tadic was able to convert expertly from 20 yards out after a minimal contact foul given away by Nacho Monreal. Despite the unfortunate deflection off Petr Cech into the back of the net, the goal was wonderfully taken and Cech couldn’t do a thing about it.
The response was positive from Arsenal as they were able to create openings and numbered opportunities at the Saints’ half. However, the all too familiar theme of Arsenal failing to capitalise on quality chances, always seeking trying to construct the perfect goal, was evident.
No Ruthless Finishers
Arsene Wenger decided to leave forwards Alexis Sanchez and Olivier Giroud on the bench to start the game, which gave way for new signing Lucas Perez to make his debut. The Chilean only just arrived this past Thursday after putting in a great effort with his national side in World Cup Qualifiers. And with his past hamstring injuries, it was always better to err on the side of caution. The new Spanish striker, Perez, was just as big a culprit as the other outfielders. There were countless opportunities to finish off attacks, but when the chance came the players looked for the pass first. It wasn’t until the inclusion of Sanchez into the match that a more direct mentality was seen in front of goal.
Lucas Perez and Shokdran Mustafi both made their Arsenal debuts from the onset. The German defender looked confident and comfortable with his physical approach to the game. However, the former Deportivo forward struggled with the pace and physicality of the game. At the same time he was a bright spot with his movement. His nifty left foot touch was one that was able to constantly link up with teammates and advance the attack. Although there will be an adjustment period, the future looks bright for these two.
Three Points Earned
The physical nature of Giroud was able to earn a point to the penalty spot in the dying embers of the game. The cool and calm Santi Cazorla, who had already put in a man of the match shift, converted the penalty with class straight down the middle. The 94 minute goal came after goal of the week nominee from Laurent Koscielny before the end of the first half. The birthday boy was able to score a wonderful bicycle kick off a header from Perez on a corner kick. The Gunners certainly deserved the win with the amount of chances and pressure that they applied, but if they fail to convert on these chances more ruthlessly, then they will surely pay the price by dropping necessary points to compete for the Premier League title. These type of grind-it-out wins are the ones that will be necessary to win the league this year.