By Walter Broeckx
Arsenal XI: Cech, Bellerin, Chambers, Mustafi, Kolasinac, Elneny, Xhaka, Iwobi, Nelson, Welbeck, Aubameyang
Bench: Macey, Holding, Monreal, Wilshere, Ozil, Lacazette, Nketiah
A nasty first challenge on Nelson from a Southampton player. The ref could have done something with that as it was all about making sure to foul the young player. With all the changes the team needing some time to find each other. Southampton with the first chance but Bellerin could save the goal bound ball and kick it away some 2 meters before the goal line. The resulting corner only half cleared and Chambers this time with a good interception. Southampton using Hughes’s tactics on corner with surrounding the keeper. Why shouldn’t he try it. Marinner will do nothing about it. Arsenal most of the ball but not enough speed and precision to bring down the blue Southampton wall. 0-0 after 15 minutes.
Southampton with a low cross and Mustafi stands still and Long can stick his foot against the ball and score from close range. Mustafi was waiting for Cech but it was his ball. A bad defensive error leading to Southampton taking the lead out of nothing. 0-1 after 17 minutes.
Arsenal with lots of possession but now Southampton even more defending with all their players in front of their own penalty area. So Arsenal have to play around the defence and suddenly Iwobi finds Welbeck in some space in the heart of the Arsenal defence and he flicks it on to Aubameayng who puts it past the keeper. GOAL! 1-1 after 28 minutes. Another goal for the Gabon striker. 6 goals and one assist so far for the new signing. I think no other player in history has been involved in so many goals in only 7 matches.
Arsenal keep the pressure up but Aubameyang his pass to Welbeck is too hard and the keeper is first on the ball. From a corner Chambers has two chances but he misses the inital cross and the his half volley is too weak to trouble the keeper. Xhaka with a free kick but a meter over the goal. Southampton with a short spell of possession in the Arsenal half but then Arsenal win the ball and Iwobi gives it to Welbeck who cuts inside and has a shot that loops over the Southampton keeper. GOAL!! 2-1 to The Arsenal. The shot took a deflection so a slice of luck on that goal but if you don’t shoot you can’t force your luck.
Aubameyang with a good chance but a great stop from the keeper and then Xhaka with a shot in the follow up but another great save from the keeper denies a third goal. Bellerin gets a yellow card for a little pull on the half way line. Iwobi a bith lather with a good shot but again the keeper with an equal save. Cech also with a good save on a shot from distance. Elneny with a vital clearence in front of the goal line. Don’t know if it would have gone in or would have hit the post but don’t take any chances. Still 2-1 after 60 minutes.
Long deflects the ball after a long spell of possession from Southampton against the net but he was clearly offside so his party was ended premature. Nelson goes off and Wilshere comes on after 63 minutes. After some pressure Welbeck wins the ball and is fouled but the ref lets it go and Southampton has a shot from distance but Cech palms it away.
After 70 minutes Aubameyang comes off and Lacazette comes on. Southampton get a free kick and Austin who had just come on scores on the follow up when Arsenal can’t clear their line. 2-2 after 73 minutes.
Holding comes on for Bellerin. Iwobi with a cross to Wilshere and Welbeck misses from 3 meters in front of an open goal. What a miss…. But he makes up fot it… Iwobi twisting on the right flank and then crosses with his left foot and Welbeck heads it home from close range. GOAL!!! 3-2 to The Arsenal after 82 minutes.
Bertrand pulls Iwobi like Bellerin did but no yellow card this time. Cech with a fine save when Tadic has a shot on the turn. Southampton with some pressure in an effort to score the equaliser.
Wilshere pulling the shirt ot Stephens and the Southampton player retaliates and gets a correct red card. Then the ref pulls out a red card against Elneny for the faintest of pushes…. this was clearly a case of compensating from the referee. Maybe Dean whispering something in the ear of the ref?
Arsenal can keep their advantage and another Southampton player goes in the book with a yellow card. Arsenal win 3-2 with a lot of players being given a rest and others getting a good run out.