Arsenal Home Won 1 – 0
Following our six goal thrashing by Chelsea, there were ominous parallels when Arsenal came to town: another London team with Champions League ambitions, but on a two match losing streak. Ralph decided a different approach was needed this time and selected one recognised striker backed by five defensive players (whichever way you choose to dress up the formation). The striker was Broja, and even he was employed in a wide role that nevertheless suggested some prospects; there was no place for the accident-prone Salisu in the back unit where ‘Lyanco’ Vojnovic and Valery lined up with Bednarek. Unfortunately Valery has been known to commit the odd error himself and his mistake was behind arguably the visitors’ best chance of the game in a move that ended with Forster saving brilliantly from Sako. Forster’s saves (yes, there were more to come) might be described as the game’s most vital moments, but so was its only goal which came on the stroke of half time: after a Saints corner, Peraud, with his back to our goal, lobbed the ball over his head in what was most likely a defensive move, but Elyounoussi was first to it and pulled back for Bednarek to fire through Ramsdale from close range. Match stats show Arsenal with 75.7% possession, a figure which would have been even higher for the second half alone. With a defence that was well-organised as well as well-populated, Saints coped admirably and The Gunners’ substitutions failed to disturb the status quo, with their 23 shots at goal featuring just six on target. That target was guarded by the formidable barrier of Forster and his six saves included three ‘worldies,’ and the first half one from Sako was matched by a full length effort to keep out Smith-Rowe, with an even later one to deny Xhako having some of us now recalling the bravura performance of Ivan Katalinic at Anfield many, many years ago now. Broja rather lost his way, and occasionally his head, in the second half and his substitution seemed overdue. It gave us team-man Long for the closing stages and Shane took a yellow one for his side for time wasting and he then celebrated charging down a Ramsdale clearance for a throw as if he had scored – he was right to do so as this was the last action in a most unusual win.
LSSC Man of the Match: Fraser Forster, of course. On a more ordinary day, Bednarek might have come out on top for his many defensive headers as much as his goal.
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