If you’ve been paying any attention at all for, oh, say, the last decade, you knew a result like Arsenal’s 4-0 humbling at the hands of Southampton was coming.
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What few could have predicted, though, was how quickly such a defeat would arrive after topping Manchester City to announce their intent as serious title contenders just five days prior. That’s how it goes when the other team wants it more, so said Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger after the game on Saturday.
Speaking after the game, Wenger had the following to say about his side’s performance and just how Southampton came out four goals to the good — quotes from the Mirror:
“I believe that [St. Mary’s Stadium] is a difficult place to come. They chose to go very direct, a very physical approach, and we lost too many challenges to win the game. Shane Long made the game very physical. He got away with too much.
“We were a bit unlucky because all the goals were discussable. Especially the second one, and the third was not a corner. But what can I do about it? The score looks big, but on the other side they won too many challenges for us to win.
“We didn’t play well, I don’t dispute that, but with wrong decisions it is even more difficult to win. Well done to Southampton, decisions maybe went for them because they wanted it more than us.”
As soon as the replays confirmed Long had clipped the heels of Laurent Koscielny in the build-up to the second goal, we knew Wenger would heap part of the blame on the referees. There was also a major question of whether or not the ball actually touched Koscielny before going over the end line ahead of the third goal. Either way, the corner kick was awarded and Jose Fonte made it 3-0 moments later.
The fourth goal, though — also scored by Long — perfectly exemplified everything you need to know about this game: Southampton were quicker to every ball, much more convincing with their desire to attack and by far the more clinical of the two sides when the chances came. For that, they clearly wanted it more on Saturday, which, while not a huge surprise, will land as a bitter blow to the Arsenal psyche.