Alexis Sanchez to the rescue as Arsenal secured their 2nd consecutive league game win after a 1-0 win over Southampton at Emirates Stadium in the Barclays Premier League.
It was a big match as Southampton are enjoying one of their finest starts to a season ever so Arsenal needed to stay calm and composed. It was a tight affair with both sides cancelling one another out until the very last minute of the match. But, it was Arsenal who were able to break the deadlock in the 89th minute through an opportunistic goal from the man himself Alexis Sanchez. This win moves the Gunners up a place to 6th in the Barclays Premier League table.
Can the Gunners go on a winning run now will the the question on every Arsenal fans mind right now as they prepare to play a run of important games to end 2014.
TEAM NEWS: Monreal and Gibbs are doubts, Szczesny is still out while Debuchy and Ospina are two weeks away.
Southampton thrashed Arsenal earlier in the season in the Capital One Cup so the Gunners knows that this is a big game. Southampton are also having one of their finest start to a season as currently they are sitting pretty inside the top 4. So, after last week’s 1-0 win against West Brom, the Gunners will need to put on another positive performance if they are to beat a team that’s inside the top 4 for the first time this season.
Arsenal are out of the Capital One Cup after losing to Southampton 2-1 at Emirates Stadium. The Gunners’ boss fielded a relatively strong team attacking wise for this fixture with the likes of Sanchez and Wilshere in the starting 11. Abou Diaby made a successful return to the team and got 60 minutes playing time under his belt. Arsenal started strong. Alexis Sanchez scored another top class goal, this time from a free kick but once again his goal couldn’t get the job done as he was let down by his teammates especially Tomas Rosicky who gave away a cheap foul in the penalty area to give Southampton the equalizer through a penalty. Soon it was 2-1 to the Saints after a “one in a million” sort of goal from 35 yards out from Clyne. After that it was all about chasing a equalizer for Arsenal which never happened because of experienced players like Podolski and Rosicky who didn’t even showed any commitment or fight to make something happen. At the end, the Gunners went out of the League Cup after losing at home to Saints 2-1.
All in all, it was a good run out for the youngsters who got their chance to play in the 1st team. Players like Hayden, Bellerin were impressive. Arsenal will next face their North London rivals Tottenham Hotspur in the Barclays Premier League.
After getting back on track at the weekend against Aston Villa in the Premier League, Arsenal will next host Southampton in the third round of the Capital One Cup.
TEAM NEWS: New goalkeeper signing David Ospina is all set to debut for the club and a majority of the players who started at the weekend are expected to be rested or on the bench.
Things have settled down a bit for Arsenal after that convincing 3-0 win over Aston Villa so Wenger can give his youngsters a chance to show their skills in this League Cup fixture. I am expecting a younger back 4 with a mixture of youth and experience in midfield and attack. Players like Podolski and Campbell are expected to get a much deserved start. Southampton are also fresh off from an impressive away win against Swansea in the league at the weekend so even though Wenger has the license to make changes to his side, he must instruct his players to give their all to progress through to the next round. Although the Capital One Cup is at the bottom of Arsenal’s priority list for the season, it is important to get a win as the club has a run of big games coming up.
Complacency kills as Arsenal dropped a couple of vital points against a determined Southampton side who literally dominated the Gunners throughout the match but Arsenal somehow, someway managed to grab hold of the draw and takes a point.
It was a very sluggish performance from the players last night. Nobody looked prepared along with the bad news that we had no Jack Wilshere, Tomas Rosicky and Aaron Ramsey to give us some power in the midfield cost us. Southampton dominated the Gunners left, right and center in the first half and deservedly went ahead through a Jose Fonte header. It was our worst performance of this season thus far. Wenger needed to wake our players up at half-time which I’d like to think that he did as they came out all guns blazing in the 2nd half and quickly went ahead to lead the match 2-1 with a couple of great goals from Olivier Giroud and Santi Cazorla. But, after that we switched off again defensively which is very rare considering how well we have been defending this season and got paid for it as Adam Lallana burst through our midfield and scored the equalizer for the Saints. After conceding that equalizer, there was still about half an hour left in the game but we couldn’t create anymore clear cut chances and our hopes of winning the match went up in the air after going down to 10 men as Mathieu Flamini deservedly got sent off for a two footed tackle. Flamini’s stupidity restricted us from going all out for the win and we had to settle with a point at the end. Full time score: 2-2.
As a result of this result, Arsenal could go down to third in the league if Manchester and Chelsea wins their respective matches. So, it’s an early warning for Wenger’s men to regain their focus before heading into the nightmarish fixtures of the coming two months.
It’s going to be a tough away test for the Premier League leaders as they look to keep hold of their top of the table position by beating a well managed Southampton side. 3 points are a must for Wenger’s men looking at the tough fixtures ahead in the coming couple of months.
Team news: Jack Wilshere is a doubt while Aaron Ramsey, Mikel Arteta and Thomas Vermaelen are back to the squad.
2014 had begun in a fine fashion for the Gunners as they are on a 7-match winning run in all competitions but looking at the fixtures in February and March, it must be said that Wenger’s men can’t afford to drop points against mid-table clubs like Southampton. Southampton will be without couple of their key players while Arsenal will welcome back the trio of Ramsey, Arteta and Vermaelen into the squad after a few weeks in the sidelines through injury.
Prior to the match, Arsenal have also made a major announcement about their upcoming 5-year kit-partnership deal with PUMA which is expected to be worth over 30 million a year. That’s a major step forward for the club after 8 years of transition because of the stadium move back in 2006.
Giroud worked his socks off and put on a brilliant hard working performance as his brace gave Arsenal another clean-sheet win against the high-flying Southampton.
Coming into the game, everyone were aware of Southampton’s best defensive record in the Premier League and knew that they were in for a tough battle to continue their title chase. It was a tough game as expected but Arsenal did had the best chances and came close twice through Wilshere’s beautiful chip and Ramsey’s sexy back foot but were finally in the lead when their goal-keeper Arthur Boruc made a horrendous error as he hesitated to clear the ball when Giroud closed him down and stole the ball from his feet and netted it in. He dedicated his goal to his late grandfather who died 2 days prior to the game. In the second half, The Gunners were solid as a defensive unit and handled everything that the Saints had to offer. In the final 10 minutes of the game, Arsenal tried to kill the game and were rewarded for their efforts as the referee who wasn’t very fair towards Arsenal, gave the Gunners a penalty when Mertesacker’s shirt was pulled by Fonte. Giroud confidently scored the penalty and helped Arsenal to take a 4 points lead over 2nd place Liverpool who slipped up earlier against Everton.
With this victory, Arsenal bounced back after losing to Manchester United before the international break and showed their critics that they mean business this term and are determined to keep their focus and move forward.
After two weeks of international break, the Premier League is back and Arsenal enters into a crucial stage of the season as tough games start to pile up one after the other. The Gunners are at home to this seasons surprise package i.e Southampton who are flying high and are currently third in the Barclays Premier League table.
Team news: Theo Walcott returns to the squad after a 2 month absence with an abdominal surgery.
Before the international break Arsenal’s good start to the season as well as their strong away winning streak came to an end as they were defeated at Old Trafford by Manchester United. The Gunners needs to bounce back from this if they are to continue their title chase. Southampton are a very dangerous outfit at the moment and they already had tremendous arenas like the Old Trafford earlier in the season and they currently have the best defensive record in the league. So, the return of Theo Walcott can prove to be vital for Arsenal. So, Wenger’s men are in for a very tough battle in their fight to remain at the top of the English Premier League table.