Arsenal orchestrated a splendid first half performance which completely killed off Southampton at the Emirates.
Arsenal made three changes with Szczesny coming in for Mannone. Coquelin replaced the injured Diaby, and Giroud was left out of the starting eleven for Gervinho. Southampton remained unchanged as they continued their strenuous start to the season after putting up colossal performances against both Manchester clubs.
With that being said, Southampton started off poorly and went one behind within twelve minutes. Cazorla picked up the ball on the half way line, and played a simple ball into Podolski. The German forward trapped the ball, and managed to fall over his own feet. Whilst this was comical, it was the Southampton players that ended up with the red faces. Somehow, Podolski managed to get back up, whilst three Southampton players surrounded him, and took it past all of them. The new Arsenal number nine then slotted the ball through the middle of Clyne and Fonte for Kieran Gibbs. The attacking full back smashed the ball across the face of goal, which Davis struggled to deal with. The ball ended up bouncing through the keepers legs, and it hit the helpless Hooiveld to open the scoring.
The Gunners second came from a needless foul on the edge of the box from Steven Davis. Podolski stepped up, and lifted it over the wall into the back of the onion bag. Some may say Kelvin Davis could have done better as it wasn’t directly in the corner. However, I feel that would have been a little bit harsh.
Thirty five minutes in, Gervinho effectively put the game to bed with a powerful finish at the near post. It was fast flowing football from the Gunners, and Southampton couldn’t handle their movement. Gervinho just spun off two defenders and ran through on goal to beat the goalkeeper.
Another Saints error led to Arsenal’s fourth. Clyne ended up putting the ball past his own keeper from a Gibbs cross.
Danny Fox pulled one back for the visitors just before the break. Szczesny came for an in-swinging Puncheon cross, which dropped for Fox to pounce on.
Aaron Ramsey made an immediate impact when coming on, flicking the ball over Clyne, who hadn’t had the best of afternoons. The Welshman flicked the ball onto the post with the outside of his boot, and Gervinho tapped home the rebound.
Six of the best! Theo Walcott finished off the rout with a cool finish into the top corner against his former club.
Arsenal abuse the channels
Southampton just couldn’t handle Arsenal. This was mainly down to terrible defending. The amount of times the Gunners got through the channels was unbelievable. Take the first goal for example.
This highlights Podolski when he tripped over his own feet. How on earth Southampton allowed him to get up, and cut them into pieces is beyond me. Nigel Adkins will be furious with the way his team reacted to him tripping up. Most of his team just jogged back as the German drove through their midfield towards their defence. They showed no determination to win the ball back.
This next chalkboard shows Gervinho’s first goal. You can see for yourselves, that the defensive line is a complete and utter dogs dinner. The centre half, and the left back get drawn to the ball. Gervinho takes note of this, and spins off both of them. His team mate picks him out, and plays a lovely over-the-top through ball and Gervinho bags at the near post. Again, it’s really basic. If Southampton want to stay up, they need to stop letting goals in like this. In the Championship, this is bad. In The Premier League, this is the road to ruin. If they’re going to play 4-5-1, they need to have two solid banks. They can’t afford to be that open in that situation. The big teams will smell blood, and it’ll be game over.
Despite Southampton’s terrible defensive display, we must not take anything away from Arsenal. They look a real solid unit, and I think they could really surprise a few people this season. Despite the sale of Robin Van Persie, I think they look a more balanced side now. If they can keep Diaby fit, I can see them picking up silverware this season. They seem to be playing more direct, and they aren’t retaining possession as much. This is like the Arsenal we were used to seeing in the Invincible’s era. Southampton will be having words with the fixture computer. I think it’s bad to play all the top teams at the start of the season. If you take a few beatings, morale can drop, and you’ll struggle against the sides you need to be taking points off. Saints have been on a massive high over the last few seasons, and haven’t really lost many games. This is when Adkins will be really tested as manager. Tactically, I think they’ve been playing far too open against the big sides. If you go to the Emirates, and try and play open football, expect to be punished.