Southampton vs Arsenal: Arsenal pick up valuable three points to keep top four hopes alive

Three points, two goals and a clean sheet was the outcome of the match between Southampton and Arsenal; as the Gunners continue fighting for maximum points that would go some way toward given them the chance in next season’s Champions League.
The match between both teams was played at St. Mary’s, and going by records, Arsenal had never won a league match at St. Mary’s since the year 2003. Given the condition at hand, the Arsenal players knew anything short of a win could possibly see them miss out on top four.
Arsene Wenger made one change to the starting line-up from the team that comfortably won against Manchester United. German defender Shkodran Mustafi came into the team for the first time in the 3-4-3 structure and replaced Laurent Koscielny who was a doubt for the fixture.
The German was impressive in his first game with the new system; he timed his tackles well enough and showed his quality in this game. He looked really sharp which was encouraging to see, something we haven’t seen since the comeback of his first injury with the club.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain didn’t quite have the day he’d love to have against his former employers, as he had to come off with an injury in the 36th minute and was replaced by Spanish right-back Hector Bellerin. I hope it’s just a slight problem in the case of Chamberlain, as he’s been one of the standout performers in the team this season, especially with the new system.
The first half was ineffective for the Gunners, managing just a half chance as the Saints kept knocking on the defence with various attempts. We were solid defensively and didn’t look to get bullied dealing with their attacks.
We came out a different team in the second half, looking good in the attack and sharp at the back. It took until the 60th minute of the game to witness it’s first sheer moment of class. A Granit Xhaka attacking pass met Mesut Ozil who laid a one-touch pass to the strides of Alexis Sanchez. Alexis turned swiftly in the Southampton penalty area; sending two defenders out of play with a fake shot, and calmly slotted the ball with his left foot into the net of Fraser Forster.
If we can go by the Chilean’s celebration, he seems like he might be staying at Arsenal beyond this summer. He wheeled his hands open, tapping the Arsenal badge on his chest, indicating Arsenal as his home.
One thing that’s for certain is Mesut Ozil can’t tackle as a footballer. The attacking midfielder who has come under scrutiny during his time in the English capital, especially this season, turned up for the match at St Mary’s alongside the other players. The team’s cohesion is growing as the games come, the togetherness is something we’ve lacked this season and is now a joy to behold seeing that again.
My man of the match is Alexis Sanchez who was hugely involved in the second goal. Having spotted the run of Aaron Ramsey in the Saint’s penalty area, Alexis delivered a sublime cross to Aaron Ramsey who headed the ball to Oliver Giroud who then headed the ball to the goalpost of Fraser Forster that left the ball goal-bound.
It was a remarkable feat for the Frenchman as he’s now scored 10+ League goals in five seasons for the Gunners. Giroud came on for Danny Welbeck in the 80th minute and was rewarded with a goal just three minutes later.
An overall standout performance from the team. Rob Holding, Alexis Sanchez, Granit Xhaka and Shkodran Mustafi particularly impressed with their performance and I hope it’s something they take into the next game against Stoke.

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