Southampton v Arsenal
Barclays Premier League
Kick off: January 28, 2014 7.45 PM BST
Playing before both Chelsea and City, today’s game is a fantastic chance for Arsenal to put some pressure on their title rivals. But if the second half is anything like the first, then there is little chance of that.
This is possibly the worst 45 minutes we have seen from this Arsenal side all season, half the players look switched off, and the other half just don’t seem to care. Possibly the only shining light has been Koscielny who looks the only Gunner who actually wants to be on the pitch.
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From the get go Arsenal were under pressure, Southampton dominating possession and applying some serious pressure the moment they lost the ball. We didn’t look solid defensively, and an early mistake in the Arsenal box allowed Gallagher to get a shot away which was superbly saved by Szczesny.
Arteta unsurprisingly doesn’t look fit on his return from injury. He was extremely sluggish in midfield, and his forward passing was fairly poor. And with our inability to control the midfield in any way shape or form, our defence was having to soak up a lot. They weren’t able to hold out forever, and after Mertesacker was penalized for a perfectly good tackle, the Saints went in to make it 1-0. A cross came in from Arsenal’s right, Szczesny unsure whether to come for it or not, Fonte climbing over Monreal before heading in at the far post past the Arsenal stopper. It was arguably a foul by the Portuguese defender on our Spanish left back, but Arsenal should have done better nonetheless.
Going behind didn’t seem to have any effect on the Gunners at all, Southampton looking more likely to get a second. They almost did when a poor Monreal clearance ricocheted into the path of Gallagher less than 6 yards out. The Southampton man seemed to panic thankfully, putting it wide somehow; a lucky escape for Arsenal.
Arsenal’s best (and only) chance of the half came from a corner. Özil putting a good ball in towards Mertesacker at the near post. Koscielny met the ball and directed it goalwards. Boruc managed to pull off a fantastic save, allowing the ball to be cleared. Unlucky for the Gunners, great work by the Saints keeper.
Overall it was a very poor first half display from Arsenal, who unfortunately deserve to be 1-0 down. We need a much better showing in the second half if we are to get anything from the game.
Sagna Mertesacker Koscielny Monreal
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