Southampton 0 – 2 The Arsenal
That was anything but sexy football but a clean sheet and two goals to the good guys cannot be poo-poohed! Arteta had a clear plan today, but the heat prevented the team to really be at their best. We were solid and sat back but were also quick with the turnovers/breaks and dangerous in front of goal. There was a lot of space in midfield at times and we struggled to make use of it, but Arteta just wanted us to be solid at the back and not give space away for the Saints’ eager runners… and it helped us to a result. More on the game later this week, but here are my player ratings.
Mature Martinez: enthusiastic, focussed and ready to make a top-notch safe when it most mattered: 8 M O T M
Tenacious Tierney: instructed to stay close to Holding as to cover for his un-left-footedness. Energetic and focussed and fought for the shirt: 7
Heavenly Holding: Did Rob need a game like this!! Solid in the air, energetic and really wanted that clean sheet: 8 M O T M
Sensible Shkodran: Benefited from playing next to a good playing Holding and seldom let the team down: 7
Balance-seeking Bellerin: If you wear a mustache you have to play like a man and I missed Hector’s presence on the pitch today. His link up play and passing were below par and he made a few too many unforced errors: 6
Super-disciplined Ceballos: Clearly instructed to stay in line with Xhaka and back and he worked hard to have an impact. Offered little going forward but I was impressed with his discipline: 7
Xuper-Xhaka: A bit rusty with his passing but then now and again he produced a beauty. Gave us shape in midfield which was an improvement on recent games: 7
Sensational Saka: Is there anywhere this young man cannot play? He adds that bit of class to our team at the moment and was a good support to Tierney (and Holding) on the left. Good link up play with Auba too: 8 M O T M
Awesome Auba: Worked hard and was a continuous threat to the Saints’ defence. Unlucky to not be on the scoresheet once again: 7.5
Peripheral Pepe: At times he went missing but still think he did his part… just about: 6.5
Energetic Eddiex3: Got the all important first goal as a reward for his attitude and energetic field play (in hot conditions). Had a goal ruled out too. It just feels like he and Auba could become a golden duo going forward: 7.5
Kola: Cannot remember him being on the pitch: ?
Joe: Came on and added energy and drive. Took his goal coolie after once again being at the right place at the right time in the box: 7
Ainsley MN: added energy but not long enough on the pitch to score him: ?
Laca: involved in Joe’s goal and he added a bit of thrust to our tired attack. Should have done better from Saka’s late good cross into the box… but headers are not his thing really: 6.5