Arsenal took the opportunity to tighten their grip on Champions League qualification as they overtook Manchester United by dispatching Southampton with ease courtesy of Alexandre Lacazette and Henrikh Mkhitaryan goals but the real star of the show was Granit Xhaka.
Full-time: Arsenal 2-0 Southampton. pic.twitter.com/kr2CYKASwi
— TheAFCnewsroom (@TheAFCnewsroom) February 24, 2019
Following the result, we have identified five things we’ve learned from the Arsenal victory.
Bernd Leno is undisputed number one for a reason
Arsenal took the lead after seven minutes through Lacazette but it didn’t take long before Arsenal’s defence was called in question but a smart save by the German kept the clean sheet alive. The Arsenal shot stopper had a fine game today and topped it off with a clean sheet. The Gunners first in the league since beating Chelsea 2-0 a month ago.
4-2-3-1 suits this group of players
A lot has been said about Unai Emery’s approach to matches recently and when he sets the team up as a 4-2-3-1 the team look much more fluid and entertaining to watch as oppose to the five at the back he also likes to deploy. It is no secret that the North Londoners struggle in defence and by playing with the four back, it plays to their strengths which is attack which translates to results like today.
Avoid playing strikers on the wing
If today wasn’t a good enough example of why Arsenal need to stop playing their number 9’s on the wing, left or right then I don’t know what else is. Having Mkhitaryan and Alex Iwobi creating from wide areas caused the Southampton side all manner of problems just because they naturally know how to play that role unlike Lacazette or Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang who are born to finish.
Lucas Torreria and Granit Xhaka have to start
We already knew this from the start of the season but it seems the pair’s success was forgotten. It took a while for the pair to start together but both were instrumental in the 22-game unbeaten streak but ever since 19-year-old Matteo Guendouzi emerged they have not had many opportunities to reignite their partnership. Today proved just how good they can be together.
Despite winning the game two goals to nil, Arsenal missed a plethora of opportunities and this has been Arsenal’s biggest issue against the big sides because sides with more quality will punish you for not taking advantage. Arsenal have moved back into fourth but if they want to stay there, they will have to be more ruthless.