The days of successful eye-of-a-needle football are long gone, it seems. Arsenal tried their speciality-style of football against Southampton and came up short. The Gunners lacked natural width and it nearly proved costly. In fact, for all their possession, Arsenal were lucky to get a point.
It started awfully, with Mertesacker, the slipper/skipper for the day, slipping at an importune moment. Charlie Austin was the grateful recipient of the gift and he doesn’t miss very often.
After that, Arsenal had a lot of the ball and proceeded to play across the Saints. It was a case of crucifixion without nails. The Saints were being hung out to dry painlessly. There seemed no way through. With Ozil slightly lacklustre, Arsenal had no one who could thread the ball through. They look threadbare, when it came to ideas. The ball sometimes went forwards, but there were no incisive passes.
Nothing seemed to have changed when the subs came on, although Giroud somehow converted an innocuous-looking Sanchez cross to equalise and make that particular substitution appear inspired.
However, this performance lacked inspiration. Defensively, Arsenal failed to clear their lines on too many occasions; they must accept that the current team simply do not have the skill set to turn defence to attack quickly. This team lacks a reliable pass-master, although Ozil is capable when he wants to be. Unfortunately, it wasn’t that kind of day against Southampton.
All in all, Arsenal should see it as a point gained, after a disappointing performance from nine committed players and two contract rebels.