By Walter Broeckx
Arsenal made again no changes in the starting line up for this match. So Flamini and Ramsey stay in the centre of the midfield with the Welsh player celebrating his 25th birthday.
The starting line up : Cech, Monreal, Mertesacker Koscielny, Bellerin, Ramsey, Flamini, Campbell, Ozil, Walcott, Giroud
On the beach: Ospina, Chambers,Gabriel, Gibbs, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Reine-Adelaide, Iwobi
A first attempt from Arsenal but the header of Giroud was well over and wide. Arsenal with most of the ball and Southampton defending and speculating on the counter. After some 10 minutes Southampton with a little spell of possession but nothing dangerous. At the other end a ball from Ramsey to Moreal but his cross took a deflection that took it just over the crossbar. Southampton then with a dangerous looking cross but Per headed the ball away. Still 0-0 after 15 minutes.
Özil with a cross, headed away but only to Monreal but his right footed shot was straight at Stekelenburg. Davis from Southampton heads the ball in offside but the assitant keeps his flag down, the attack continues and Per clears but in the foot of Martina who curls it in the goal. A goal that shouldn’t have counted. 1-0 for Southampton after 19 minutes. Against the run of play but that doesn’t matter on the score board.
Arsenal a bit shocked and Southampton trying to capitalise of a few moments of weakness from Per and Kos. Luckily they can’t. Cech being alert on a long ball and first to it to prevent any danger. Ref Moss then being a bit difficult when wants a free kick to be taken on the exact cm². Still 1-0 behind after 30 minutes.
Long pushes Mertesacker in the back and Moss calls it a foul and cancels a goal and that was a correct decision. Arsenal, not for the first time at Southampton, not finding their feet yet. Walcott then with a run from the right but his left footed shot was too weak to really trouble Stekelenburg. A cross from Ramsey but Southampton can clear for a corner. Walcott header but touches the wrong side of the side net. Arsenal not rushing forward blindly as there is still time in this match. Stekelenburg can claw a cross from Monreal away in front of Giroud. Long at the other end with a counter but he lobs it over the Arsenal goal. Arsenal go in the dressing room being 1-0 behind.
Southampton with the better start in the second half with Arsenal again not being very sharp. Virgil scores but he was offside so the assistant ruled it out and Cech needing some medical attention after the collision. Wanyama uses his arm against the head of Giroud and Moss finds nothing wrong. Arsenal still playing too slow for the moment and not enough precision.
Southampton counter and when Long brings down Koscielny without the ball he can get an easy tap in from a pass from Mane. 2-0 in favour of Southampton after 55 minutes. Both goals with a lot of help from the blind referee staff.
Oxlade-Chambarlain preparing himself to come for Campbell after 63 minutes. Southampton then get a corner… er was it a corner ? No it wasn’t. And from the resulting corner Southampton scores their 3rd goal. A third goal that has a strong referee smell all over it. Fonte scored the 3-0 after 69 minutes.
Iwobi came in the place of Walcott who was very much invisible against the club that formed him, not for the first time when facing them. Iwobi with a cross but Giroud cannot proper connect and Southampton can clear a meter in front of their goal line.
Long hitting the post in the final minutes. But in the extra time he gets away and scores through the legs of Cech.
Arsenal had a complete off day. Not for the first time over there. As strong as we were against City, so weak was today’s performance.
For some strange reason Arsenal seems to freeze when they play at Southampton in the last seasons. I really cannot remember us playing our usual game in this stadium. We always play slow, our legs look tired… Southampton in their ground is a bête noir for us.
But of course playing bad is no excuse for the officials to assist Southampton to score goals. The 4th goal was the only one without an assist from the referees.
We had a total off day, (as did the refereeing trio) time for the players to do better next Monday.
The good thing is we are still second in the league.