Saints v Arsenal
St.Mary's, Thursday 1st January 2015
> Great performances all over the pitch
> Another wonderful goal from Mané
New Year's Day, got to the Farmhouse, my normal prematch pub at 1.00pm to meet up with the other lads that I sit with at St Mary’s. After getting through the NYE and hangover stories, the attention turned to the upcoming game,
An air of confidence amongst most of us for a Saints win as Arsenal were weakened, to add to the long term injuries to Wiltshire and Ramsey, they would also be without Welbeck and Giroud, A group of Arsenal fans in the pub were so pessimistic about there chances, they were telling us how this season they muck around in midfield and then give it away, so we were all even more confident of our first league win over Arsenal since Le Tissier scored the last goal at the Dell
On to the game,
Arsenal kick off, a wind blowing down the pitch which seemed to do strange things with the ball, fortunately Saints and Arsenal both like to play on the floor, or we could of had a dreadful game.
In the first few minutes Sanchez seemed to get a lot of the ball which seemed worrying as he was setting up a few chances, but the first decent chance falls to saints, Tadic puts in a cross which seemed to hang in the air for ages, it fell to Pelle who only had to direct the ball on target to score, but he heads it wide of the goal, a massive chance missed.
The game then went to a period of both sides having lots of possession without creating a lot, but after about 20 mins Forster made a great save from Cazoria.
Arsenal were starting to look dangerous with Sanchez orchestrating most of their play. Then up stepped Wanyama who took Sanchez out in the centre of the pitch. Wanyama was rightly booked but Sanchez was a lot less effective afterwards, Saints now started to look the better side.
On 35 minutes Saints took the lead. Mané found space on the right, but for some reason the Arsenal keeper came rushing out to close him down, Mané turned and chipped the ball over the stranded keeper into the net. I think the final touch came off a defender, but it was going in anyway (MOTD showed that nobody got a touch on the ball. channonite).
Shortly after scoring Mané got injured and was replaced by Harrison Reed, seemed an odd choice as Long would of been a direct replacement, but in Koeman we trust.
Ward Prowse should of made it 2-0 before the break, but the Arsenal keeper made a great save.
Half time- Saints 1 Arsenal 0
The start of the second half saw Arsenal have a lot of the ball. Sanchez had a shot well saved by Forster, but there was no real danger, as in general, after a few passes they cheaply gave the ball away. That's possibly being a bit harsh on Wanyama and Reed as they were closing Arsenal down very quickly.
On the hour Saints make it 2-0. Davis put the ball across, a mix up in the Arsenal defence, Szczesny kicks the ball straight to Tadić who has the simple chance of putting the ball in the net from 5 yards out.
After the goal it's all Saints. After a great turn to create space, Tadić put a shot just wide. Shortly after this, Pellè hit the post and Ward-Prowse should really have put the rebound away, but put the ball over the bar. A poor back pass from Arsenal gives Tadić a great chance , but with the keeper nowhere it's headed away by a defender.
Arsenal did have a breakaway when Sanchez got pulled down by Gardos. I felt it should of been a red card as Sanchez did appear to be through on goal, fortunately only a yellow was given.
FT Saints 2- Arsenal 0
Saints could easily of had another 4 goals but I think overall 2-0 seemed a fair reflection of the game.
Went back to the pub afterwards, lots of Arsenal fans, who were very complimentary of us were in there, good honest fans, so stayed for a couple more drinks.
Champions league football is no longer a pipe dream but a real possibility.
2nd January 2015
05 Gardos - Booked (Yoshida 71')
12 Wanyama - Booked
11 Tadic (Long 85')
10 Mané (Reed 42')
02 Debuchy (Akpom 84')
21 Chambers (Walcott 60')
34 Coquelin - Booked
Ronald Koeman straight after an easy win against Arsenal
Birthday Boy Steven Davis on beating Arsenal
- Mané 34′
- Tadic 56′
- Southampton 41%
- Arsenal 59%
- Southampton 13
- Arsenal 11
- Southampton 6
- Arsenal 6
- Southampton 2
- Arsenal 7
- Southampton 14
- Arsenal 7
Referee : Craig Pawson
Attendance : 31,492
Another fantastic goal from Sadio Mané
A goal for Dušan Tadić