Review of the Arsenal vs Southampton game ate the Emirates and Arsenal player Ratings
After a 4-1 rout of CSKA Moscow at the Emirates, Arsenal already have one foot in the semifinals of the Europa League.
Arsene Wenger was expected to make changes in the starting lineup for the Saints trip to the Emirates as he now prioritises the Europa League campaign as it is the only way Arsenal could get back Champions League football because chances of qualification through the Premier League look bleak.
Wenger made seven changes to the team that beat CSKA Moscow. Calum Chambers and Sead Kolasinac started in place of Koscielny and Monreal respectively in the backline.
Elneny, Welbeck, Iwobi and Reiss Nelson were included in the lineup as Wilshere, Ozil were on the bench.
Ramsey was given a day off and Mkhitaryan could be out for the season after suffering a knee injury in the Europa League. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang replaced Lacazette as the striker.
Arsenal needed to win to keep the momentum for the Europa League going, whereas Southampton were desperate to get points on the board to avoid relegation.
It was a great game of football at the Emirates as the Gunners and the Saints fought their lives out on the pitch. Welbeck put in a man of the match performance and helped Arsenal to the win.
Southampton took the lead early through Long but Arsenal equalised and eventually went ahead with goals from Aubameyang and Lacazette.
The substitution of Austin gave Southampton some hope as they equalised through him. But Welbeck scored the winner with 10 minutes to go.
It all turned ugly at the end when Wilshere received a yellow for the foul on Stephens and Stephens was sent-off for his reaction. Elneny also received a red card at the end. Arsenal though eventually held on to take all three points.
Arsenal Player Ratings :
Petr Cech – 7.5
Cech had little to do in the first half after conceding the first goal due to a misunderstanding with Mustafi.
But he was made to work in the second half making good saves on a regular basis and keeping Arsenal ahead.
Hector Bellerin – 6
The right-back linked up well with Nelson on the right-hand side. Bellerin did not have any substantial impact on the game.
Calum Chambers – 7
Chambers was solid at the back and put in a decent performance in the absence of Koscielny. He was shifted to right-back after the substitution of Bellerin.
Shkodran Mustafi -6
Mustafi was to blame for the first goal as Shane Long went past him to score. He did not look assured during the game.
Sead Kolasinac – 7
Kolasinac covered up well in the absence of Monreal. He was constantly providing an option going forward but needs to improve his defensive game to start regularly.
Grant Xhaka – 7.5
Xhaka moved the ball around particularly well. He even had few attempts from outside the box, forcing an outstanding save from one of them.
Mohamed Elneny – 6
Elneny put in a good shift shielding the defense after a shaky start. The Egyptian also made a goal-line clearance preventing the Saints to get back into the game.
It all ended on a bad note for him after his actions earned him an unnecessary red card.
Alex Iwobi – 7.5
Iwobi failed to make an impact in the first half but turned it around in the second half. He provided the assist for the winner for Welbeck. He was a constant threat around the box.
Reiss Nelson – 7.5
Nelson made his first Premier League start for Arsenal. Nelson looked fairly convincing with the ball at his feet, dribbling and making good passes, finding his teammates with perfection in the first half.
Danny Welbeck – 9
Welbeck was the unlikely hero for Arsenal as he was directly involved in all the three goals scored by Arsenal. He had a great first half getting a goal and an assist to give Arsenal the lead. He followed that up with a goal in the second.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – 7.5
Aubameyang continued his goal-scoring form to take Arsenal levelband kept on troubling the Saints defence with his runs behind.
Jack Wilshere – 6
Wilshere came on for Reiss Nelson with just under half an hour to go. Wilshere was poor since then giving away possession and committing unnecessary fouls and also received a yellow card.
Alexandre Lacazette – 6.5
Lacazette replaced the goal scoring Aubameyang but did not get involved much.
Rob Holding – 7
The young centre-back had an excellent game after replacing Bellerin. Holding made a good last ditch tackle and a block to prevent the Saints from scoring.