Southampton 1 - 1 Arsenal
Following a huge win over Newcastle, Arsenal travelled to Southampton to try to secure their first win of 2013, and the Saints were hopeful of climbing out of the relegation zone. In the end, Southampton earned their valuable point, and Arsenal dropped their vital two.
Despite holding both goals, the first half was bitterly underwhelming. Arsenal were lacking any creative flair, and Southampton were happy to keep the ball and frustrate Arsenal whenever they could.
Ramirez and Lambert were particularly dangerous when the Saints moved forward, and were giving the grossly out of form Bacary Sagna a torrid time.[quote_right]”Eventually, Southampton were awarded with a hard-earned point, and Arsenal were left disappointed by the scraps of what should have been an easy three points.”[/quote_right]
In the thirty fourth minute, A loose ball in the Arsenal area was poorly cleared by Sagna, falling to Ramirez, only a few yards away. The confident record-signing blasted it past Szczesney, and it was un-arguably a deserved goal, plucked from scrappy circumstances.
Just ten minutes later, Arsenal were awarded a free-kick on the edge of the Soutampton box. Theo Walcott swung in the cross, and Guly, in an attempt to clear the ball, managed to bundle it into his own net. Arsenal had grabbed a very fortunate equaliser.
The second half was no improvement on the first, and failed to produce even a single goal for either side.
Arsenal were once again looking tired and uninterested (and possibly jaded), particularly in midfield. Santi Cazorla was uninspiring, and Jack Wilshere was struggling to create anything in the final third.
Eventually, Olivier Giroud was thrown on in place of Lukas Podolski, and Theo Walcott was moved to his traditional right-wing position, as Cazorla & Chamberlain were swapped for Ramsey & Gervinho respectively. Great.
Giroud was naturally eager to build on his two goals against Newcastle, yet was receiving almost no service. Southampton were defending well, and Arsenal simply lacked the hunger to burst through their well organised defences. It was looking like another one of those days.
The game dragged on, and eventually, Southampton were awarded with a hard-earned point, and Arsenal were left disappointed by the scraps of what should have been an easy three points.
[title]Arsenal Player Ratings[/title]
Couldn’t do much for the goal, but Szczesney made some decent stops, and gathered well from various crosses.
Today saw yet another poor performance from Sagna. He was easily beaten on two occasions, and was at fault for the Southampton goal. Jenkinson needs to be given his chance soon.
Kept Mertesacker out of the team today, yet I’m not entirely sure why. Koscielny was fine however, making good challenges and winning his aerial battles.
Nothing too much to report on Vermaelen, he had a quiet, untroubled game. However, as Captain, you have to question him for not inspiring a win when the enthusiasm is lacking in his colleagues.
Did well offensively, and was largely untroubled all game. A solid display after a poor performance against Newcastle.
Mikel did okay, but should have done more to drive the team forward or inspire them through some tough challenges. Him and Vermaelen need to step up their leadership.
Jack always works hard, but sometimes it just doesn’t work, especially when the team isn’t fighting with you. Today was one of those days.
Another lacklustre performance from Santi. He usually thrives against smaller, more technical teams, but he showed almost no creativity today.
The Ox: [6/10]
Alex was back at his old club, but didn’t make much of an impact. He made some good runs to the by-line, but failed to whip in any decent crosses.
Lukas has his good days and his bad days, and today was the latter. When things aren’t going the Germans way, he seems to take himself out of the game. Subbed.
Returned to his boyhood club along with Chamberlain, and also failed to make any impact. The service wasn’t great, but Theo had a few chances to put a goal away. Had a goal disallowed via an offside call.
Came on early in place of Podolski, but couldn’t work his magic to wriggle us out of a tight situation. it’s hard to not start Giroud, considering his ability.
Ramsey [6/10], Gervinho [4/10]
[title]Drawing No Conclusions[/title]
Southampton should be beaten by a team of Arsenal’s calibre any day of the week, yet the Gunners yet again failed to stamp their authority on the game. Arsenal have the ability to dominate teams, yet seem consistently reluctant to do so.
Arsenal now travel to Swansea in the FA Cup, who secured a victory against the Gunners in the League earlier this season. Three points today would have certainly made that trip a lot more comfortable. But that’s never been the Arsenal way.
What did you think of the Southampton Vs Arsenal match? Should we be looking into a 4-4-2 formation to combine Giroud & Walcott? Share your views in the comments section below.