Arsenal stretched their lead at the summit of the Premier League standings with a hard-fought 2-0 win over Southampton at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday.
The Gunners were gifted their first goal as a calamitous from Saints goalkeeper Artur Boruc let Olivier Giroud tap into an empty net. To their credit Southampton pushed the league leaders hard and had some great opportunities to draw level through Jay Rodriguez and Victor Wanyama.
Late on Arsenal sealed the win when Giroud scored from the penalty spot, as the Gunners wen four-points clear of second-placed Liverpool and six points ahead of Southampton in third.
After the kick off was delayed at the Emirates Stadium due to problems on the London Underground, visitors Southampton took the game to the Gunners as the Saints took the game to the home side.
The first chance of the game almost produced a goal as Jack Wilshere surged into the box and his delicate chip towards the back post got the faintest of touches from Southampton ‘keeper Boruc who deflected the strike onto the post and away to safety.
In the 17th minute the Gunners hit the woodwork again as Mesut Ozil cut in from the right and found Aaron Ramsey with a delicate cross. The Welsh international performed a terrific back heel flick towards which looked to be going in but clipped the far post.
Shortly after Southampton shot themselves in the foot with an absolute howler from Polish goalkeeper Boruc. The ball was played back to him and instead of launching it upfield or out of play, he tried a Cruyff turn to get around Olivier Giroud three times before he was dispossessed by the French striker who then tapped home the opener into an empty net.
Arsenal looked quite comfortable after they were handed a 1-0 lead but the Saints did press forward and Adam Lallana forced Wojiech Szczesny into a fine stop as the England man volleyed a superb effort goalwards. Shortly after Lallana’s fellow England international Jay Rodriguez forced Szczesny into making another great stop.
Saints came back into the game as the half time whistle went but that costly mistake from Boruc proved the difference at the interval.
After the break Saints had the majority of the play as Daniel Osvaldo came on and the South Coast club threw the kitchen sink at Arsenal. Both Rodriguez and Lambert went close as Arsenal planned to pounce on the counter attack.
The Gunners, as always, looked controlled in possession but Saints looked incredibly dangerous from set pieces and in the 78th minute a James Ward-Prowse corner was cleared to the edge of the box and Victor Wanyama hammered a shot just over the bar as Southampton pushed for an equalizer.
Late on Arsenal opened up their legs and substitute Theo Walcott almost wrapped up the win against his former side but his rasping shot went wide of the far post in the 82nd minute.
In the 85th minute Arsenal did seal the win as Giroud scored his and Arsenal’s second from the penalty spot following Jose Fonte’s tug on Per Mertesacker in the box.
The Saints were their own worst enemies as the Gunners marched on at the top of the table, with a ninth win from 12 PL games this season.
Arsenal: Szczesny, Sagna, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Gibbs, Arteta (Rosicky, 74), Ramsey, Wilshere, Ozil (Monreal, 81), Cazorla (Walcott, 70), Giroud
Goals: Giroud (21), Giroud (85)
Southampton: Boruc, Clyne, Fonte, Hooiveld, Shaw (Davis, 45), Wanyama, Schneiderlin, Ward-Prowse, Lallana (Osvaldo, 54), Rodriguez, Lambert.