By Adeniyi Samuel (@seynx)
Arsenal started their quest for the much craved Premiership Title as they stormed to a sensational 6-1 home win against Southampton. It wasn’t meant to be an easy fixture for the Gunners because judging by previous fixtures, the Saints had given both Manchester clubs runs for their money.
Arsenal’s boss Arsene Wenger came out with a surprising starting eleven by leaving out his French striker Olivier Giroud on the bench. The Gunners started with Wojciech Szczesny, who returned in goal for Vito Mannone, Carl Jenkinson, Thomas Vermaelen, Per Mertesacker and Kieran Gibbs in the back. Francis Coquelin, who deputized for the injured Abou Diaby, Mikel Arteta and Santi Cazorla completed the midfield trio while the front trio was composted of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Lukas Podolski and Gervinho.
Arsenal came out smoking in the first half like a wounded lion looking for prey. It wasn’t long before the game came to life. Fine work from the midfield by Lukas Podolski in the 11th minute who then teed up fast rising left back Kieran Gibbs whose low cross was deflected into his own net by Jos Hooiveld.
The Gunners did not take their foot off the gas as their persistent work was rewarded when Francis Coquelin was brought down a few meters away from the edge of the area. Lukas Podolski stepped up to take the free kick and what a free kick it was. He superbly curled the free kick round the Southampton’s wall to beat the Saints’ goal keeper Kelvin Davis.
Arsenal’s third came in the 31st minute through Mikel Arteta’s brilliantly orchestrated pass to Gervinho who scored his first goal of the season by beating Kelvin Davis at his near post. Two minutes later Gervinho released Kieran Gibbs on the left flank whose cross was deflected again by Nathaniel Clyne for the Saints’ second own goal of the afternoon.
The most annoying part of the afternoon came in the closing stages of the first half when Arsenal’s goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny dropped a routine catch to gift Southampton a consolation goal which ruined the run of Arsenal’s clean sheets. Steve Bould and Arsene Wenger’s expressions spoke volumes.
At the start of the second half, Southampton altered their formation from 4-5-1 to 4-4-2 thereby allowing the Saints to attack more. The Gunners took their feet off the gas a little bit by allowing the Saints’ to dominate the possession in the early exchanges of the second half.
Arsenal’s first change came in the 67th minute when Aaron Ramsey replaced Francis Coquelin. His impact was instantly felt when the collected a fine pass from the ever reliable Santi Cazorla, His dinked effort hit the post and Gervinho was on hand to score one of the simplest goals of his career. Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud came in for Lukas Podolski and Gervinho, respectively.
Former Saint man Theo Walcott added the icing on the cake by scoring Arsenal’s sixth after Thomas Vermaelen shot was parried.
Who is your MAN OF THE MATCH?
Who says there is no life after the departure of Van Persie and Alex Song? Who says we can’t score goals?
Next stop will be on Tuesday against Montpellier…what do you think the score line will be? Who will be our hero?