Arsenal 6-1 Saints
The international break meant that Saints were unable to integrate their new signings into the starting line-up against Arsenal. It didn’t take long for the eleven we put out to fall behind: the Gunners got a player round our flanks (and not for the last time) for Davis to make a bit of a mess of Gibbs’ shot, leaving Hooiveld with something to do to prevent a score… ideally, that didn’t involve putting through his own goal, but this wasn’t an ideal sort of day.
Then on the half hour, Davis (S) made a late and unnecessary challenge on Coquelin, but the free kick was still a long way from goal: Podolski did well to get his shot to loop over the wall with pace, and although it wasn’t exactly in the corner of the goal, that was enough to beat Davis (K).
Goal number three soon followed, and it had a benefit match feel to it as Arteta simply lobbed the ball over a square defence for Gervinho to waltz through the vacant left side and shoot inside Davis’s near post – we seem to let in such a goal in every game.
Arsenal weren’t finished with their first half scoring, although it was Clyne who actually put the ball in the net for the second og of the afternoon.
Miraculously Saints weren’t finished either, although a huge assist from Szczesny, who wasn’t under any pressure when he dropped the ball into the path of scorer Fox, helped a lot.
It’s odd how Arsenal never spend their money on a decent keeper, but Southampton’s spending strategy is proving confusing as well. We’ve shown interest in a very good goalkeeper and a very good left back, but neither position has yet been strengthened significantly, while we’ve acquired creative players in Ramirez, Rodriguez and Mayuka, all of whom were on the bench.
Ramirez played the entire second half, and showed early promise, especially when what looked suspiciously like a misplaced shot found Lambert, who should have scored (Yoshida had already come on for the luckless Hooiveld and he must have wondering were he was when Arsenal scored three times in his first 10 minutes or so of English football).
It still looked pretty horrible at the back, though, and when Ramsey shot against the post, allowing Gervinho to bundle the ball in, that was enough for me – Hampshire were winning a cup final at the time at Lord’s, remember. That meant I missed number six, in the dying stages, scored by Walcott amidst an absolute shambles of a defence. Made it to the cricket in time for a far more dramatic finish, though!
LSSC Man of the Match: James Ward-Prowse, and high time too. He did fade as the game went on, however.