Arsenal secured their second successive win of the season when Santi Cazorla scored his penalty kick in the injury time of the game. The Gunners were made to work very hard for the win as Southampton showed their quality and asked a lot of questions of the home side’s defence. Claude Puel would be very disappointed to go away without taking anything from the tie where the best chances fell to the visitors. The final scoreline read 2-1 but it was one of those lucky days for Arsenal where they really didn’t deserve to get all three points. Let’s take a look at some major talking points from the game.
Risky Team Selection
Arsene Wenger selected a very surprising starting line-up for the match, resting some of his key players and handing starting berths to the two new boys in Mustafi and Perez. It proved to be a bad decision as both of them struggled in their first match. Mustafi was expected to start in the heart of the defence with Koscielny and as expected he could complete the full 90 minutes with the presence of Koscielny beside him but Perez looked like he could have done with a bit of help up front.
Perez seemed to be someone who likes to link up with quick one two’s, meaning he would have been more effective with the presence of someone like Giroud upfront. Wenger fielded Theo Walcott and Oxlade-Chamberlain on the wings in place of Alexis Sanchez. While resting Sanchez was the right decision considering he came back from his international duty on Thursday evening, not playing Granit Xhaka with a view to the Champions League game on the mind seemed to be a bit risky. With Mesut Ozil playing poorly, Santi Cazorla had to do most of the playmaking. Xhaka would have been handy in that situation.
Wenger Needs To Get His Combinations and Formations Right
Arsene Wenger has for some time now preferred to play with a 4-2-3-1 base formation. With the new signings now in place, there seems to be a piece still missing from the first team and that is the combination. With Lucas Perez, the French manager will have an excellent provision to try out a few other formations and he should try that out for it seems to have become a lot predictable for the opposing teams when Arsenal try to attack. Putting men behind the ball and remaining compact centrally allowing space out wide is a tactic commonly used to counter the Gunner’s attacks and most of the time when done properly it works well just like it did on Saturday at the Emirates.
Arsenal’s ‘Plan B’ is now in place with the depth of the squad but they would need to refine their ‘Plan A’, a little bit. During the transitions, Southampton got some wonderful chances from which they should have scored but didn’t and Arsenal didn’t really work the visitor’s goalkeeper much. Wenger needs to get his combinations and formations right again identifying the players who should be used for the different situations.
Puel Can Do The Job For Southampton
Southampton boss Claude Puel would be very disappointed with the loss for his team didn’t play like a team deserving to lose. In fact, it was the visitors who imposed themselves right from the start and got some lovely attacking moves on to get into the opposition penalty box quickly. In the second half, things could’ve been much different if Shane Long was able to bury his chances. Southampton handed Arsenal a scare and it was a fantastically balanced performance from a visiting side’s point of view at the Emirates.
Puel has some big challenges ahead but it seems like the manager succeeded in imposing his philosophy on his team already. Southampton had a great season last year and after losing their influential players along with their manager again, the supporters would’ve feared the worst, but in Puel, they seemed to have another worthy successor who can take the team forward.