The scoreline hints at a comfortable victory for the Gunners, but in truth Southampton made Arsenal work hard for the three points that doubled our advantage at the head of the Premier League.
The early signs were encouraging as Arsenal settled into their smooth passing game. The same post denied Jack Wilshere, with a deft chip, and Aaron Ramsey’s superb flick. Midway through the half we were ahead courtesy of an astonishing lapse of concentration by Artur Boruc. Olivier Giroud harried the ‘keeper into a mistake and plundered the simplest of openers.
Cue a sprited response from Southampton, demonstrating why they are currently occupying a Champions League qualifying berth. Wojciech Szczesny was at his best to deny Lallana and Rodriguez and we reached the interval with the slenderest of advantages.
The Saints opened the second half as they ended the first and Szczesny was called on again to save from Lallana. Arsenal weathered the storm and with the introduction of Theo Walcott started to regain the initiative. Theo went close with a drive when teed up by Ramsey, before the points were secured by Giroud from the penalty spot after Per Mertesacker was fouled at a corner.
So a potentially tricky game was safely navigated and once more we saw spells of sumptuous passing football from the Gunners midfield. The defence also survived a searching examination and it is probably fair to say the difference between the two sides came down to the two goalkeepers. Szczesny is having a very good start to the season and is thoroughly justifying his new contract.
A word too for the ‘holics who turned up in numbers. It was great to see a couple of new faces. The three points were an added bonus.
Bring on Marseille.