By Douglas Leung at Emirates Stadium
Arsenal finished the weekend top of the league once again, thanks to two goals from in-form striker, Olivier Giroud to see off a stubborn Souhtampton.
After the international break, both teams were looking to carry on their form of late. The saints dominated possession in the opening exchanges without threatening, but in the after 10 minutes, Arsenal showed why they were top of the league.
Aaron Ramsey won the ball back from Victor Wanyama on the edge of the box before lobbing it into Giroud.
The ball then found its way to Jack Wilshere and his first touch allowed him to go past two Southampton defenders before expertly chipping the ball over Artur Boruc with his weaker foot. However, the ball rebounded off the post.
Seven minutes later, Ramsey nearly executed another wonderful piece of skill, only for his effort to come off the same post.
It was Ramsey who started the move and he nearly finished it with a cheeky back-heel on the volley from Mesut Ozil’s cross.
The opening goal came in the 22nd minute. A regulation back-pass should have resulted in a regulation clearance from Boruc, but it didn’t. Instead, the Polish goalkeeper dawdled on the ball, trying one turn too many while under pressure from Giroud. The Arsenal forward then tackled the Southampton goalkeeper and slotted the ball into the empty net, leaving Boruc furious with himself.
Southampton’s first real chance came in the 32nd minute when Adam Lallana stung the palms of Wojciech Szczesny from the edge of the box, after Mikel Arteta miskicked a clearance.
Two more Southampton chances came either side of half-time. Before half-time, Rodriguez’s scissor kick volley was pushed away by Szczesny. Adam Lallana also came close soon after the break. A long ball reached Mogan Schneiderlin who then brilliantly back-heeled the ball into the path of Lallana, only for his shot to be easily caught by Szczesny.
But once that period of pressure from Southampton had gone, it was all Arsenal until the final whistle.
Neat build-up play involving Bacary Sagna, Wilshere and Santi Cazorla gave Ozil space in the box. The Club-record signing from Real Madrid dummied his way past the Schneiderlin before shooting at Boruc.
Theo Walcott was then brought on, after a two-month absence from the first team. His impact was felt by the Saints 12 minutes after coming on when he combined with Wilshere, Ramsey before flashing a shot just wide.
The second goal for Arsenal came deep into the second half. A corner was whipped in by Tomas Rosicky in the 86th minute. Jose Fonte then foolishly tugged Per Mertesacker’s shirt back and the foul was spotted by referee Mark Clattenburg.
With Arteta and Ozil off the pitch, Giroud stepped up to the spot and calmly dispatched the ball into the bottom corner for his second goal of the game and his seventh goal in the league.
The goal confirmed the three points for the Gunners and increased their lead to four points at the top of the Premier League. It was a solid performance by Arsenal against an in-form team, with Southampton only threatening from long range. Arsenal will now be looking to carry continue their fine form when they visit Cardiff City next Saturday.
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