Arsenal thrashed Southampton 3-0 in the Premier League on Saturday, thanks to goals from Alexandre Lacazette, Martin Odegaard, and Gabriel.
Following a run of three defeats in a row, Mikel Arteta had to make some big decisions with his team, the most notable of which was the omission of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from the matchday squad.
As a result of the manager’s ‘disciplinary breach,’ Alexandre Lacazette started up front, as he had done at Goodison Park.
In what was an unchanged team from the 2-1 loss, Thomas Partey was given another chance to redeem himself after a string of poor performances.
Arsenal’s nerves were calmed in spectacular fashion after Alexandre Lacazette confidently finished off a sweeping back-to-front move that started with Aaron Ramsdale.
The lead was doubled just six minutes later when man of the match Martin Odegaard scored his third goal in as many games with a well-directed header from Kierney’s own header into the box.
Gabriel finally got the goal he craved when he headed home from Gabriel Martinelli’s inswinging cross, which was deserved by Arsenal after a much improved second half. It sounded like it was pulsing at times.
The importance of this victory cannot be overstated, with the team coasting to a three-point victory from there on. Arsenal had a chance to score seven or eight goals.
Aaron Ramsdale (GK) – 9/10 – Arsenal best passer. Ramsdale’s sensational delivery and cool under pressure were moments that made you want to stand up and applaud. If Martinelli had converted near the end of the first half, he would have clinched the assist of the season.
He’s a box office draw. In a positive way.
Takehiro Tomiyasu (CB) – 8/10 – Tomiyasu put in another strong performance, surviving the Saints’ early high press and making a few key passes out of dangerous areas down the right flank.
Benjamin White (CB) – 7/10 – He appeared shaky in the early exchanges, as did the rest of his teammates, as they struggled to adjust to Southampton’s high-octane start, but he settled down as the game progressed.
Gabriel (CB) – 7/10 – With only seconds on the clock, he got himself into the book, followed by a few dangerous loose passes. He settled after the opener, like the rest, and rose highest to head home with aplomb after the break.
Kierney (LB) – 7/10 – Odegaard gets another assist! He was extremely fortunate in how he collected, controlled, and got another chance to cross the ball, as he found his man at the third attempt, which will be extremely beneficial to him. However, he was frequently too negative in possession, as he, too, appears to be lacking in confidence and sharpness.
Thomas Partey (CM) – 6/10 – Sure, the game improved, but it was still not great. He’s clearly lacking in self-assurance, and it showed in the early exchanges when he wasn’t contributing to the build-up by failing to provide the options needed to break the news.
He gradually found his feet, and despite having a shaky touch, he fed a few clever one-touch passes to teammates and was much better after the break.
Granit Xhaka (CM) – 6/10 – The word is sloppy. He lost possession 12 times in the first half alone, but it was largely due to his willingness to take risks. This is someone who has obviously not played football in a long time, but it never showed in his work rate. Xhaka worked his socks off to get back and cover runners as well as provide support despite his clumsiness on the ball.
Martin Odegaard (AM) – 8/10 – Give him a few matches at No. 10 and you’ll get something like this. As a hybrid No. 8, you can no longer sit deeper.
Even if he isn’t the archetypal No. 10 because he likes to drift into pockets on the right, he can make a big difference when he’s more advanced. In this game, he found his stride and displayed some magnificent playmaking skills. He put in a lot of effort.
Exceptional all around.
Bukayo Saka (RW) – 8/10 – All afternoon, he was a thorn in Kyle Walker-Peters’ side, grabbing the assist. I had a number of spectacular runs down the right side, some of which went unnoticed, and came within a whisker of getting on the scoresheet.
Such a gifted individual.
Alexandre Lacazette (ST) – 7/10 – In the first half, he could (should) have had a hat-trick. His goal was well-taken, and he played in a more advanced role than he had previously, but his refusal to shoot underscores Arsenal’s need for a striker.
Gabriel Martinelli (LW) – 8/10 – Throughout, he was extremely bright, and he got himself an assist with a nice Brazilian connection from the corner.
He gave the forward line real pace and never gave Southampton’s backline a chance to rest. Energized, combative, and threatening. Brings something unique to the front line that no one else can.