Arsenal snatched all three points from a resilient Southampton side today, with us needing to three goals to secure all three points.
Our side started the game out of sorts, and we were duly punished just after 15 minutes of play, although had Shkodran Mustafi had done his job properly we wouldn’t have fallen behind.
The defender allowed a cross to come across into the nine-yard box, and Shane Long pounced on the ball to knock it past both him and Cech, and you can understand the goalkeepers frustrations with his most experienced defender on the pitch.
Luckily enough that goal woke up the rest of the team, and we began to control the game and started to show our class, and not before long we found ourselves level. Thierry Drogba AKA Danny Welbeck supplied Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang with a neat chipped ball for him to toe poke past the defender, and bounce just over the goalkeeper’s outstretching leg and into the net.
We continued our dominance throughout the remainder of the half, and completed the turnaround through a sublime bit of close ball control from Danny Welbeck, although what looked like a perfect finish turned out to be a deflected effort, which left the opposing shot-stopper with no chance of saving.
We started the second half confidently, and forced McCarthur into a few saves including some sublime efforts by Granit Xhaka from distance, but failed to build on our goals from the first half.
We were soon punished for our failure to put the game to bed, and once again a goal for our opponents had to get our team going again. Cedric Soares found Charlie Austin inside the box to smash it past Cech, leaving us just over 15 minutes to get the three points our performance has deserved.
Thankfully Danny Welbeck didn’t come here to disappoint, and he gave us the lead once again with 10 minutes to play, but the excitement wasn’t over yet…
Southampton brought the fight to the Emirates today, and that told as Jack Stephens got himself sent off after over-reacting to a shirt pull by future Arsenal captain Jack Wilshere, who was in turn booked also. This interaction spilled into a mass altercation with a number of players making their presence felt, but Mohamed Elneny somehow finds himself sent off for the mad fracas, supposedly for raising his hand at Soares…
That scuffle did slow the advances of our rivals, and the match did succumb to a 3-2 defeat for the Saints, but I feel we could have given ourselves an easier match had we kept our concentration throughout the 90 minutes.
Was Elneny’s red card warranted? Did we deserve a more comfortable result? Was the win needed to keep our run of positive results going ahead of Thursday night?