Arsenal once again managed to put pressure on the teams above them in the race for top four after another 2-0 win.
Following the big win against rivals Man United on Sunday, we were up against Southampton yesterday and they are along with Stoke (who we incidentally face next) our bogey team away from home in recent seasons.
Last year we lost 4-0 away to them on Boxing Day in the only match I didn’t watch live and I took full responsibility for it. Fortunately this time I watched it and we managed to eventually beat them in the second half through goals from Alexis Sanchez and substitute Giroud. I was the real reason though why we won as I watched it live on a stream!
Wenger and Arsenal welcomed back Mustafi to our defence but he took the place of vice captain Koscielny who was injured for the game. Hopefully he will be back soon as he is so important for us! Apart from that though it was the same side that beat Man United.
We started the brighter team as the Ox once again caused a lot of problems down the right in his new RWB position that he has really thrived on. He has to be good to deny Bellerin the chance to start in the team.
I think Bellerin should start at RWB and the Ox either as LWB or in the middle with Xhaka where he wants to play. Is the Ox also playing really well because of his relationship with Little Mix star Perrie? If so we will have to hope they don’t break up as you can see he is more confident and happy at the moment.
So our first chance came from a cross from the Ox which fell to Ramsey who shot first time and it went wide. Cech then once again saved us as he denied Tadic and Gabbidini and kept us in the game as a result.
Just as the game really got going we suffered a huge blow as the Ox went down injured and limped off the pitch near half time. He was replaced at RWB by more than capable Bellerin. Hopefully he won’t be out for too long especially for the FA Cup final against Chelsea.
Cech saved us again right at the end of the half after Redmond’s long range shot was pushed over the bar. So it was 0-0 once again at half time and we had started another game slowly which is something that really needs to change otherwise we won’t be so lucky in other games, especially against stronger teams.
Southampton started the second half the better team as we struggled to get into the game and even Sanchez (who did a foul throw) couldn’t get us going.
Sanchez then showed why he is world class and why we have to keep him at all costs when he brilliantly scored just before the hour mark. It came from a typical pass and assist from Özil but Sanchez still had it all to do as he skilfully and completely foxed Southampton’s centre backs and slotted in his 20th league goal of the season.
This landmark is particularly impressive as he hasn’t played as a striker for that many games and he joins a top list of strikers who have got 20 league goals in a season for us. Henry, Wright, Van Persie (traitor) and Adebayor (traitor). Sanchez ended up being the man of the match but will he stay this summer especially if we don’t finish in the top four?
This goal got us going as Xhaka then came close to a second from a typical long range strike as Forster saved it and it’s nice to see an Arsenal player shoot well a lot from range, but I wonder what Wenger thinks of it!
Southampton could have still got something out of the game as Ward-Prowse came close before Boufal had another good chance which he blasted over for them near the end.
It was Arsenal who fortunately got the next goal though as substitute Giroud headed it in to kill the game off and give us the three points. Giroud only had 10 minutes to make an impact but this is what he does best as he gives us a different option and makes the opposition defence have to adapt.
Giroud’s goal came from a Ramsey nodded assist as they both silenced their critics and keep our top four hopes alive for now. These last two performances have been a lot better from us but is it too little too late? We are still playing catch up and have to win our remaining games as well as rely on other teams dropping points. Will we do it?
The result leaves us in 5th above Man United by one point and three points behind Man City having played the same games. We are also four points behind Liverpool with a game in hand. I think Liverpool is the team to catch up with and hopefully West Ham can help us out again by making them drop points this weekend.
Next up for us is Stoke away and I am nervous about it as they are our real bogey team away from home but they have changed the way they play a bit recently. It will be a tough game but I think we should win it and put more pressure on the teams above us as a result.
Will we beat Stoke away? Will Liverpool or Man City drop any points? Can we get our annual top four trophy?