Home » EPL, Latest » Match Report: Arsenal 2 Southampton 0

The Arsenal fans were clear what this meant. As Olivier Giroud scored his second goal of the afternoon from the penalty spot, the Emirates denizens chanted something which has not been often heard in recent seasons: “We are top of the league”.

In truth, their position was reinforced by a couple of Poles. While Wojciech Sczesny saved the home side with a couple of crucial interventions (one stop from an Adam Lallana volley was particularly crucial) his opposite number appeared to have been inspired by the Monty Python reunion. Midway through the first half, with Arsenal not yet having chugged out of second gear, Artur Boruc made a handy job application for the Ministry of Silly Goals.

The keeper had about half an hour to deal with a back pass from Nathaniel Clyne that defined the term routine. Confronted by Giroud, the Pole tried to dribble his way past, not once but twice essaying a Cruyff turn that Ronaldo might consider a little fancy in the circumstances.

While he did his pirouette Giroud simply pinched the ball from him and rolled it into an empty net. The keeper complained bitterly to Mark Clattenburg, the referee, but there was nothing wrong in the challenge. He was just utterly hopeless. Talk about dropping a Boruc.

In truth, Arsenal were grateful for his rush of blood to the head. Southampton arrived with a clear game plan, to stifle and snap at the home side’s vaunted midfield wh9ch looked to be working for much of the first half. As Victor Wanyama went about his business, Santi Cazorla and Mesut Ozil looked decidedly off the pace.

Jack Wilshire attempted to provide some forward momentum, but too often he too found his way blocked by dogged and persistent Southampton interceptions.

And the away team had their moments. With five minutes to half time, Lallana juggled the ball through the home defence, volleyed at Szczesny, who made a great save. The ball was parried out to Ricky Lambert who blasted across the goal. There was some terrific interplay too between Roicky Lambert and James ward Prowse.

But ultimately Arsenal were too strong. Buoyed by a return for Theo Walcott (whose arrival from the bench produced almost as loud a cheer as Boruc’s every touch following that first goal), with Kieran Gibbs in peerless form down the left side, they sealed the points with seven minutes to go. Jose Fonte tried to remove Per Mertesacker’s shirt as the pair jostled for a Walcott corner and Clattenburg gave the decisive decision. Boruc was nowhere near Giroud’s penalty. By then he was presumably trying to hide his head in embarrassment.

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