Arsenal v Southampton
Barclays Premier League
Kick off: December 3, 2014 1945 GMT
It might sound strange but it was a massive victory for The Gunners as Southampton are among Top Six and they proved tonight that they have quality. It was a regular nail-biting finish for the Gooners world-wide (as I’ve already written, bite-marks in the nail-area can help you to recognize a fellow Gooner) but Alexis’ goal made it worth going through. Here are the ratings from tonight’s game.
Damian Martinez | 7.5: A goalkeeper is not just a shot-stopper – he is also a master of his own penalty box. The Argentinian has been a dominant presence in our box lately and that’s great news given how many troubles we have had with our air defence this term. I remember our away match against Blackpool in 2010-11 – Jens Lehmann made a short come-back – and despite the fact we were going through the bad period, I was confident seeing Mad Jens between the sticks, especially when he made a gesture towards a Blackpool forward that said: “Hurt my space and I’ll eat your head off!” Martinez has completed a hat-trick – he has kept a clean sheet for the third time in a row!
Calum Chambers | 7.25: Had a good game against his former club and helped the attack as much as possible.
Per Mertesacker | 7.25: Did well and it’s obvious that Koscielny’s return has been helpful to him.
Laurent Koscielny | 7.5: Another clean sheet for us and another 90 minutes under the belt of the Frenchman.
Nacho Monreal | 6.75: Had tough times as most of the Saints’ attacks went down his flank. Nevertheless, it wasn’t a bad display given that he was substituted during weekend due to injury.
Mathieu Flamini | 7.0: His passing could have been better but his main task – protecting the back four – was completed.
Aaron Ramsey | 6.75: As usual, people are too harsh on Ramsey. I’ve seen that some people claim that Ramsey struggled to make an impact in tonight’s game. Now, I agree that his passing and unsuccessful attempts weren’t something that we expected from him but he made a bloody match-winning assist. Too bad that he didn’t grab a goal himself in injury-time but the goals will come.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain | 6.75: The Ox was under the question mark before the game and he wasn’t as impressive as he has been recently.
Santi Cazorla | 7.0: His shooting boots are still in the basement but his skill for creating chances is back. He made a great pass for Welbeck but wasn’t rewarded with an assist.
Alexis Sánchez | 7.25: He didn’t have the best game but as you might have remembered, Superman had had an awful period in “Superman II” before he kicked the asses of General Zod and his accomplices. Alexis scored a match-winning goal and proved his top-class again.
Danny Welbeck | 6.5: His touch really lets him down too often. He should have done better with Cazorla’s pass in the first half but picked the wrong way to finish the attack. Looked more lively with Giroud on the pitch – as the rest of the team – and could have scored a goal but it wasn’t his night.
Olivier Giroud | 8.0 (MOTM): The big Frenchman was the super-sub again. I use the word “again” given that with Giroud on the pitch we have scored six goals and conceded just one this term. He turned the game around, made our attack sharper, gave more sense to our passing in the final third and his attempt just before Alexis’ goal was hand-balled by a Southampton defender so he should have been awarded a penalty. He deserved to be on the score-sheet but it will happen next time.
Lukas Podolski | 6.75: He could have scored in the injury-time too. He looked dangerous and like I’ve already written, I’d like to see our scientists creating a hybrid of Podolski and Welbeck.