Arsenal back to winning ways after comfortable victory over Southampton

Gunners captain Aubameyang misses comfortable home victory after disciplinary

Saturday, 11th December 2021 — By Tom Foot at the Emirates

Arsenal jab 2

FA Premierleague

ARSENAL 3 (Lacazette 21, Odegaard 27, Gabriel 62)

SOUTHAMPTON 0

THE Gunners’ captain missed this confidence-boosting victory over league stragglers.

Pierre Emerick Aubameyang was banned by manager Mikel Arteta for breaking club rules.

It is not yet clear what the “disciplinary breach” was, but the striker has been breaching basic code of footballing conduct with a string of hapless performances.

Few fans will have missed him.

Alexandre Lacazette was subbed off to big cheers after another energetic performance and a well taken finish in the first half.

The Arsenal number 9  buried first time a squared pass from Saka after a slick passing move that began with keeper Aaron Ramsdale.

If ever there was an advert for passing it out from the keeper, this was it.

The goal came against the run of play and the visitors were looking far more likely to score.

Adam Armstong low drive drew a diving save from Ramsdale who read his near post shot well.

Gabriel and Saka had been booked early on for sloppy tackles. Saka’s foul left James Ward Prowse with a free kick in a very dangerous position, but he lifted it just over the bar. Again, Ramsdale had it covered.

Within five minutes of the opener, Martin Odegaard nodded in from Keiran Tierney’s headed cross. Southampton defenders had been too slow to react after the full back’s first cross was blocked.

The midfielder had a decent game but he is by no means the finished article. His decision making is questionable and he does not look like he has total awareness of what is going on around him, a requirement of any midfielder maestro.

Astray pass here, an overhit through ball there. But he has had three goals in three appearances and his confidence is building.

Ramsdale has surely secured his place in the Match of the Day highlights package once again with what will likely be goalkeeper pass of the season.

His 70 yard raking ball faded like a golf drive perfectly into the path of a racing Gabriel Martinelli. But the striker, who looks a little lost on the wing, took too many touches and eventually ran out of space.

In the second half, Ramsdale pushed Nathan Redmond’s shot up over the bar before pushing out Tella’s strike, with a low sprawling save at the bottom corner.

After the match a fan ran on the pitch and stole his shirt. Give the outstanding Aaron Ramsdale the armband.

Gabriel had a goal disallowed by VAR before getting on the score sheet minutes later, nodding in from a corner.

He grabbed the ball and putting it under his shirt doing the dummy thumb suck celebration and gesturing love signs towards one of the Arsenal boxes.

While the first half had been an edgy affair, the second half was a total one-way onslaught.

In one passage of play, Martinelli hit the post with curling shot from outside the box before Odegaard’s follow up was smothered, leading to two corners before Saka hit the post and Gabriel tried an overhead kick.

There were oohs and ahhs and a good time was had by all. But Arsenal will face few opponents in the Premier League as poor as Southampton, who this year look like they are in a relegation battle.

Meanwhile, rumours are circulating that Aubameyang could be eyeing up a move to in the winter transfer window to cash-rich Newcastle United.

Before the match, Arteta had said he had been left out due to a “disciplinary breach”, adding: “I think we have been very consistent, that we have certain non-negotiables in the team that we have set ourselves as a club.”

Arsenal: Ramsdale, Tierney, White, Partey, Tomiyasu, Gabriel (Holding 67), Saka, Xhaka (Sambi Lokonga 84), Martinelli, Lacazette (Pepe 83), Odegaard,
Subs not used: Okonkwo, Smith Rowe, Maitland-Niles, Holding, Soares, Tavares, Nketiah.

Southampton: Caballero, Walker-Peters, Stephens, Ward-Prowse, Armstrong, Redmond, Broja (Lyanco 69), Livramento, Tella, Diallo, Bednarek.
Subs not used:
Lewis, Vojnovic, Long, Perraud, Djenepo, Smallbone, Elyounoussi, Walcott, Valery.

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