Arsenal got back to winning ways with a comprehensive 3-0 win over Southampton that could have been a lot more.
All the talk before kick-off was, of course, about Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s obligatory spell on the naughty step for breaching discipline. Red lines, it seems, become a lot thicker when it’s time for a player to be moved on.
The first half of this match was pretty dull but, despite offering little for most of it, Arsenal somehow found themselves two-nil up at the break, despite only having three shots in total.
Alexandre Lacazette opened the scoring, getting on the end of a sweeping move that started with Aaron Ramsdale and annoyed Tony Gale on commentary duty.
The second was a Martin Odegaard header, from a Kieran Tierney header assist, and the midfielder seemed as surprised as anyone to be using his noggin to score his third goal in three games.
Odegaard had only scored two goals in his first 25 games for Arsenal.
Top rated players, first half
The second half was much more enjoyable and Arsenal seemed to find a little confidence in themselves from the scoreline.
Gabriel made it three with his second league goal of the season (Harry Kane has one), although it took him two goes.
His first effort was ruled out for offside. Not long after, he rose on an escalator of air to head home unopposed from an Arsenal corner. Set-piece masters, who’d have thunk it.
Arsenal hit the post twice in the game, once from Martinelli followed shortly after by Bukayo Saka pinging the other with a mirrored effort of Martinelli’s curled shot. Arsenal have hit the woodwork 10 times this season, more than any other side.
In Southampton’s goal, the returning 40-year-old Willy Caballero, signed on an emergency basis just this week, also produced a couple of good saves to keep the scoreline respectable.
That being said, Aaron Ramsdale was not completely bored throughout the match, making a lot more saves than his counterpart and ending up with the highest rating of any player on the day.
The stats at half-time told quite an even tale of possession and passing, despite the unbalanced scoreline. By the end of the second half, there was no question who had been the better side.
Arsenal finished with 406 accurate passes to Southampton’s 234, while they upped their accuracy from the mid-70s in the first half to 80% in the second. Southampton’s score went the other way, ending at 74%, thanks, in large part, to the energy Arsenal showed in winning the ball back.
Arsenal player ratings (half-time)
(G = goal, A = assist, YC = yellow card, RC = red card)
- Aaron Ramsdale 8.8 (7.5)
- Kieran Tierney 7.9 (7.3) – A
- Gabriel 7.9 (6.6) – YC, G
- Benjamin White 7.6 (7.2)
- Takehiro Tomiyasu 7.3 (6.2)
- Grnait Xhaka 6.8 (6.4)
- Thomas Partey 7.6 (6.6)
- Gabriel Martinelli 7.2 (6.5) – A
- Martin Odegaard 8.5 (7.9) – G
- Bukayo Saka 8.2 (7.3) – A, YC
- Alexandre Lacazette 7.9 (7.6) – G
- Rob Holding 6.2
- Albert Sambi Lokonga n/a
- Nicolas Pepe n/a