It solidifies Arsenal’s position on top of the league and provides a good start for the Christmas run of games.
Arsenal were at their best when the game was scoreless and created several good chances with Southampton’s upright saving the Saints twice.
Then Artur Boruc decided to get cute and dribble around Giroud, but Giroud brushed him aside for one of his easiest goals of the season. From that point on Arsenal appeared content to slip back a gear and not go all out for the second goal.
Southampton were able to apply some pressure, but were only able to create one meaningful chance during the game. Fonte’s tug of Mertesacker’s shirt was spotten by referee Mark Clattenburg and Giroud converted the penalty.
Arsenal won somewhat comfortably, but you sensed we could have stepped up to a higher gear if things had gone wrong.
Szczesny 7. A good game for Wojciech. He commanded the area, made a good save off Rodriguez, and didn’t make any silly moves. Boruc’s gaff was a good example and he responded by not playing with the ball.
Sagna 7. Another good game for Bacary. He kept the flank quiet and supported the attack.
Mertesacker 7. Largely kept the Southampton attack quiet and drew the hold from Fonte that won the penalty. Was a little flatfooted a couple of times.
Koscielny 8. He made several timely interventions that kept Southampton from shooting.
Gibbs 8. He got forward a lot and looked threatening on a number of occasions. He had a little problem with Clyne in the first half, but he was never badly beaten.
Arteta 6. He made a number of poor passes in the second half as well as fluffing a volley which led to a Lallana effort on goal. Improved in the second half, but went off injured.
Ramsey 7. A sublime backflick hit the upright in the first half. Otherwise, he was sloppy at times, giving the ball away in the defensive end a couple of times. However he runs and runs and plays good defence.
Cazorla 6. Flickered in and out of the game. Made a few poor passes and never managed to make an impression in the game.
Wilshere 7. A cheeky right footed chip shot came off the upright into the arms of Boruc, denying Jack a goal. He made some good runs, pressed, made some good passes … a solid game and a full 90 minutes.
Ozil 7. He was very influential in the first half where he looked threatening and full of ideas. His workrate dropped off in the second half and he was eventually substituted.
Giroud 8. Man of the match. His relentless workrate was rewarded by Boruc’s sloppy giveaway. He contested every high ball, made some defensive clearances, and was always available. Dispatched the penalty with panache.
Walcott 6. Missed playing in Giroud for a breakaway and snapped a good chance wide. Good to see him back.
Monreal 6. Another brief cameo, but he is effective coming in and shoring up the defence.
Rosicky n/a. A brief appearance by Tomas who slotted in for Ozil.
Source: Arsenal World