Arsenal vs Southampton: Five things we learned

Jack Wilshere and Luka Shaw
Jack Wilshere and Luka Shaw

Arsenal made amends for a poor performance in their last outing against Manchester United with a 2-0 win over Southampton on Saturday.

Olivier Giroud netted both goals in the victory, which ensures a four-point gap at the top of the table for the Gunners. But what did we learn from the game?

Arsenal’s defensive focus

Per Mertesacker

Although the majority of praise for Arsenal this season has been directed towards their attacking stars, a solid defensive performance here will be applauded by Arsene Wenger.

Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny looked solid in the centre of the home side’s defence once more, and as a unit Arsenal restricted their opponents to only a handful of sights of goal.

If Arsenal can maintain strong defensive performances, they have every chance of winning silverware this term.

Walcott could struggle for game time

Theo Walcott returned to the fold after injury, getting 20 minutes of action from the bench in the second half.

Wenger has discussed the different attributes that the England international offers the club, namely his pace, but the winger will have a job on his hands getting his spot back in the starting XI.

With Santi Cazorla, Mesut Ozil, Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere all playing well, Walcott is not guaranteed a place from the start any longer.

Individual errors unforgiveable

Olivier Giroud and Artur Boruc

Both goals will be a major source of frustration for Mauricio Pochettino, with his side’s usual stringent defensive approach going out the window in two moments of madness.

Given the preparation and time that will have went in to training ahead of the game, to undo it in such ludicrous fashion is a real shame for a Southampton side that have excelled to date this season.

At the top level there is no room for the magnitude of these mistakes, and Artur Boruc in particular should be hanging his head today.

Southampton put in a plucky performance

Despite the nature of the goals that they conceded, Southampton still looked like a threat going forward and were not afraid to go toe-to-toe with the Premier League leaders.

There pressing game from the front was apparent once more, and as a team the side put in a plucky performance.

On another day the Saints might have gotten something from the game, and this performance shows that the south coast side have the ability to push the best sides in England this term.

Giroud puts in an industrious showing

Olivier Giroud

Regardless of getting both goals, which takes him into double figures this season, the France international looked sharp and industrious all afternoon.

The burly striker is an important player in the Gunners’ possession game, and held the ball up well here to bring others into the action.

Despite rumours of a January move for a new striker, the ex-Montpellier forward is a key feature in an Arsenal attacking unit that is as good as any in the Premier League.

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