Arsenal made heavy work of their win over Southampton but with Chelsea’s draw against West Ham, the Gunners are now closing in on fifth place.
If Arsenal hoped a winning run would bring the fans back to Ashburton Grove, they have seriously underestimated the depth of apathy around as thousands of empty seats once again greeted the team.
It was the topic of a sarcastic soliloquy from the Sky Sports commentator who implored people to feel sorry for this top six side on the brink of a European final. He had a point, but so do rocks sometimes.
The game was the perfect opportunity for fringe players to show that, not only do they have a future at the club ahead of the summer, they deserve to be considered for the first team for the important games.
So how did the players do individually?
Petr Cech 7.5
Started because he’s Arsenal’s only fit senior keeper. Plus, he’s the only keeper at the club fit to start.
Some people were blaming him for Shane Long’s goal but he had every expectation that a professional Premier League footballer would be aware of a striker right beside him and deal with the ball accordingly.
Had little to do for the first hour then had to make a number of good saves as Southampton really pushed at Arsenal’s defensive frailties.
Got down well to a low-driven shot that was quite close to him and will feel he might have done better with the ball but with no Southampton player was following in, so it was a good save.
Stretched well to save low again as the giant Shane Long out jumped the entire Arsenal defence and then again with an effort heading to the top corner.
Made a couple more saves, punches and well-placed clearances to round off a busier day in goal than he might have expected.
Hector Bellerin 6
Got back well to stop Southampton taking the lead in the 8th minute after Arsenal’s defence just split like the red sea.
Fronted up to Shane Long, earning him even more credit with the Arsenal faithful.
Calum Chambers 5
Along with his twin, Mustafi, got caught by balls over the top. Conspired with the German to let Charlie Austin score (more on that in Mustafi’s rating).
Being destroyed by a player called Cedric should be a career lowlight, but I suspect should Chambers remain at Arsenal, it won’t be.
Tried an overhead kick but he’s no Koscielny – at either end of the pitch.
Shkodran Mustafi 5
Fast asleep for Southampton’s equaliser, showing no awareness of anything around him to let a two-goals-in-48-games striker find the net from a few yards out.
Between him and Chambers, managed to leave Charlie Austin, who has scored every time he has faced Arsenal, to score just seconds after coming on in the second half.
Although the Saints played some Arsenal-esque football in the buildup to the goal, the defending from Arsenal’s centrebacks was clueless.
Sead Kolasinac 6
Should have dealt with the cross that led to Shane Long’s goal at source.