Arsenal 2-0 Southampton: Report, Ratings & Reaction as Gunners Cruise to Reclaim Top Four Spot

Arsenal cruised to a seventh straight home win in the Premier League against Southampton on Sunday, with goals from Alexandre Lacazette and Henrikh Mkhitaryan proving to be the difference for Unai Emery's side.

The hosts went in front inside the opening six minutes following a breathtaking counter-attack when Henrikh Mkhitaryan's sliced effort was instinctively turned in by Alexandre Lacazette from close range.

The Armenia international then found the back of the net himself with a simple finish at the back post, combining well with Alex Iwobi to capitalise on a slack defensive performance from Southampton


Clear-cut chances were few and far between in the second half, but both sides had their opportunities and were only denied increasing the scoreline thanks to impressive saves from both goalkeepers.

Thanks to Manchester United's draw with Liverpool on Sunday, Arsenal have moved into the top four with three points, while Southampton remain one point away inside the relegation zone.


Key Talking Point

It certainly wasn't a vintage display from Arsenal, but Unai Emery's side showed that they can capitalise on their opponents' mistakes to devastating effect.

In possession, Arsenal were still guilty of overplaying the ball and defensively they were worrying once again. But when the Gunners turned the ball over in Southampton's third of the pitch they played brilliant one-touch football and the visitors looked lost at sea.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan

Arsenal are used to having all of the ball and limiting the options that their opponents have, but Sunday's reactive attacking performance shows that the north Londoners have another string in their bow and can still win games without passing the ball into the back of the net.

Player Ratings

Leno (8), Lichtsteiner (6), Mustafi (5), Sokratis (7), Kolašinac (9); Torreira (7), Xhaka (9*), Ramsey (7); Mkhitaryan (8), Lacazette (8), Iwobi (8).

Substittutes: Koscielny (6), Özil (6), Aubameyang (6).

STAR MAN - Granit Xhaka

He might get a bad rep in north London, but Granit Xhaka is an irreplaceable part of this Arsenal team under Emery and he showed exactly why against Southampton.


Against Ralph Hasenhüttl's side, Xhaka recycled the ball exactly as fans have come to expect from him ever since his arrival in 2016. But the Switzerland international looked to be half a step quicker than his opponents on Sunday.

The 26-year-old was key to everything Arsenal did in the attacking half of the pitch, be it with his trademark long-range passing or his ability to split a killer pass through the defensive lines.

​Lacazette, Iwobi and ​Mkhitaryan were licking their lips throughout the match at the opportunities they were getting in behind, while midfield partner Lucas Torreira provided the Swiss star with plenty of defensive cover.


Key Talking Point

This might not be much of a surprise considering Xhaka was Arsenal's star man, but given the wealth of Bundesliga experience behind him, how did Hasenhüttl not identify the former Borussia Mönchengladbach star as a danger man at the Emirates?


One thing that most teams do so well against Arsenal is they get tight to the Switzerland international to limit the amount of time he has to pick out a pass, but Southampton's midfielders played into Xhaka's hands by giving him the freedom of the pitch.

Along with things like failing to pick up overlapping runners like Sead Kolašinac, Southampton were the architects of their own downfall in north London.

Player Ratings

Gunn (5), Bednarek (5), Stephens (6), Vestergaard (5); Valery (7), Højbjerg (6), Romeu (5), Ward-Prowse (6), Targett (5); Armstrong (7), Redmond (7*).

Substitutes: Austin (6), Obafemi (7), Elyounoussi (6).

STAR MAN - Nathan Redmond

Hasenhüttl is still trying to stamp his authority on this Southampton side, but in wide man Nathan Redmond the Austrian might have unearthed the perfect centre-forward for his system.

The former Norwich star ran himself into the ground when he was leading the line in the first half, popping up all over the pitch and giving Arsenal a real headache.

Redmond even created a few chances to open the scoring but he was unable to find a way past Bernd Leno. Even though one of his missed chances actually led to Arsenal's opening goal, it was an encouraging performance from the Englishman at Emirates Stadium.

Yan Valery,Mesut Ozil

Looking Ahead

Arsenal host another side from the south coast, Bournemouth, in midweek before next Saturday's north London derby at Wembley, while the Saints have a must-win game against Fulham on Wednesday before travelling to face Manchester United at Old Trafford.

Source : 90min