Arsenal breezed past Southampton to get their top-four chase back on track with Alexandre Lacazette, Martin Odegaard, and Gabriel on target.
Arsenal put behind a dismal run of three defeats in four games to get three points against Southampton. The Gunners desperately needed such a victory to bring some confidence back in the side and get their top-four chase back on track.
After losing ground to West Ham United in recent weeks, Arsenal suffered defeats to Manchester United and Everton. It also allowed Tottenham and Manchester United to move ahead of the Gunners on the table. However, Mikel Arteta will hope the latest win puts them back in contention ahead of the midweek clash with the Hammers.
After a rocky start to the game, the Arsenal fans were left unhappy as Southampton tried to take advantage of their sloppiness at the back. However, after reaching the tipping point of playing out from the back, the Gunners put together a sharp team move started by Aaron Ramsdale, which ended with Bukayo Saka squaring the ball for Alexandre Lacazette to smash home the opener.
Six minutes later, Martin Odegaard headed in from close range after some good work by Kieran Tierney. Lacazette missed a few chances in the first half as the Gunners went into the break, taking a solid two-goal lead. In the second period, Arsenal came out with much more purpose and kept piling the pressure on Southampton before scoring the third goal.
Only minutes before finding the back of the net, Gabriel Magalhaes was denied a strike by the assistant’s flag. And the Brazilian made amends with a well-taken header off a Gabriel Martinelli corner. In reality, Arsenal could have added a few more to their tally before the final whistle, but a raft of substitutions caused their intensity to drop as the clock winded down.
Arteta will be relieved his team is back in shape and never missed Pierre-Emrick Aubameyang, who was dropped from the side for a disciplinary breach. The Gunners looked sharp and seemingly ready to take on top-four rivals West Ham United next week. Here’s how Arsenal’s players fared on the day.
Aaron Ramsdale: 8.5/10
Ramsdale made some good saves to keep a clean sheet. He was called into action right from the get-go, stopping a fierce shot at his near post. In all, he kept out all of Southampton’s six shots on target and did not have a quiet night by any stretch. Ramsdale was also Arsenal’s best passer on the evening.
? | FOCUS
Aaron Ramsdale enjoyed a strong afternoon at the Emirates as Arsenal ran out 3:0 winners against Southampton:
— SofaScore (@SofaScoreINT) December 11, 2021
Takehiro Tomiyasu: 8/10
If his early days at Arsenal had a more defensive approach, the Japan international is becoming more of a combative presence on the right side. Tomiyasu had a big role to play in the build-up to the two goals in the first period. Defensively he was sound, never giving an extra yard to the attackers targetting him.
Ben White: 7/10
White was uncharacteristically shaky at the onset of the game, which gave the Saints an impetus to put more pressure, leading to the initial effort by Armstrong. He steadied himself as the game went on and was part of the build-up for the first goal. This was not his best performance, but he should be happy with the clean sheet.
Gabriel Magalhaes: 7/10
Gabriel got himself booked in the early stages, and like White, he made a very shaky to the game. The Brazilian gradually settled in the contest and provided a threat from set-pieces in the second period. He had a goal disallowed for offside and made amends with a well-taken header minutes later to seal the victory for the Gunners.
Kieran Tierney: 7.5/10
Tierney is still not at his best when it comes to passing. A period of absence will have is consequences, although he might count himself fortunate those factors did not hurt the team. He got a lucky assist, although that second goal was all about his control of the ball and the subsequent cross.
Thomas Partey: 6/10
Partey produced a better performance than some of the last few games, as he looked improved despite a shaky start to the game. Still, Partey did not have the best of touches, even though he was vastly improved here.
Granit Xhaka: 6/10
Arteta clearly wants to get as many minutes under Xhaka’s belt as possible. The Swiss midfielder was dispossessed 12 times in the first half alone. Then, as the game progressed, the former Arsenal captain found his feet and kept things tight in his area. He was substituted after 80 minutes to allow Albert Sambi Lokonga some game time.
Bukayo Saka: 8.5/10
Bukayo Saka (22) is the only Arsenal player to provide 20+ assists across all competitions since the start of the 2019/20 season.
Hale End does it again. ? pic.twitter.com/P5HyCtnRtj
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) December 11, 2021
It does not matter who plays in the attack; Saka gets along with his usual rhythm to keep knocking on the door. The Englishman got a brilliant assist after a tremendous build-up behind him. He could have scored a goal himself, but Willy Caballero saved his effort. He also hit the post after some good work in the second half.
Martin Odegaard: 8/10
Odegaard seems to be improving in the no.10 position. It is a matter of allowing him a consistent run of games in a defined role, as yet again, the Norwegian was the fulcrum of Arsenal’s moves in the attacking third. As a reward, he got his third goal in as many games, although he could have also mustered an assist or two had his teammates finished the chances better.
Three games. Three goals.
Martin Odegaard's form right now ? pic.twitter.com/VEY6tyGtFk
— GOAL (@goal) December 11, 2021
Gabriel Martinelli: 8/10
Martinelli is proving his point to Arteta and forcing the manager to give him more chances. He proved to be a menace for the Southampton defenders with his direct running and pace. The Brazilian also hit the post in the second period while getting the assist for Gabriel’s goal.
Alexandre Lacazette: 7/10
A strong performance from Lacazette as he looked lively from the start until his substitution. The Frenchman scored the opening goal and could have netted a few more, only for some of his touches to betray him. Amid Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s off-field issues, he should comfortably start against the Hammers.
Rob Holding: 7/10
Holding did fine after coming on to get some minutes under his belt. Arteta worked his plan well to give Gabriel a breather as the Brazilian was also on a yellow.
Albert Sambi Lokonga: 6/10
He kept things ticking after coming on for Xhaka in the second half.
Nicolas Pepe: 5/10
Pepe got a rare few minutes under his belt after being frozen out in recent weeks.