Sunday, September 16, 2012

Arsenal 6-1 Southampton

The opening day frustration of a scoreless draw at the Emirates was washed away in the second home game of the season, as Arsenal demolished Southampton through a mixture of flowing football, clinical finishing, and a bit of self-harm by the opposition.

Cazorla's influence continues to grow. It took a season to happen, but it seems that Arsenal now have a genuine and worthy replacement for Fabregas in the number 10 role. Cazorla is a slightly different player to Fabregas but has quickly assumed a similarly central role in the team.

When you consider that Spain can choose from the Barca boys, Alonso, David Silva and Cazorla in those midfield positions, it leads you to wonder if there has ever been an embarrassment of midfield riches quite like it.

The Spaniard was influential again, as was Podolski, whose drive and determination set up Gibbs on the left in the 11th minute. The full back fired a cross-shot that Davis could only parry into his defender, and the ball trickled into the net for an own goal.

The German then curled in a free kick to make it 2-0 and further cement his solid start to life at Arsenal.

Southampton at this point were failing to provide much solid resistance and the third goal was staggeringly simple in its execution. A Saints defender tried to anticipate a ball into feet and Arteta, who might as well have had a fat cigar in his mouth, clipped the ball through to Gervinho, spinning into the vacated space. The Ivorian smashed the ball in at the near post for his first goal of 2012, player and supporters breathing a sigh of relief.

He was having a good game, as was Gibbs down the left, and the two combined to force Southampton's second own goal shortly afterwards.

Just before half time, a clanger from Szczesny saw Arsenal's first concession of the season, but late on the Gunners roused themselves again. Ramsey worked an opportunity from Cazorla's pass and struck the post with Gervinho gobbling up the rebound.

Then, with minutes to go, Walcott got his first of the season against his old club.

The season is well and truly up and running, but greater tests await. Montpellier in midweek will be followed by a trip to play the champions.

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