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[Ratings] Southampton 0-2 Arsenal: Holding and Nketiah impress but Pepe anonymous

By on June 25, 2020

Rob Holding arsenal 2019

Arsenal got back to winning ways with a solid 2-0 victory over Southampton at St Mary’s Stadium this evening.

Arsenal started well and after having a goal correctly ruled out and seeing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang smack the bar, we eventually broke the deadlock in the 20th minute. Eddie Nketiah put Alex McCarthy under pressure and blocked the Saints goalkeeper’s attempted pass to leave the Arsenal striker with a simple tap-in into an empty net to make it 1-0.

Southampton improved after the break and were on top but the hosts were reduced to 10-men when Jack Stephens was giving his marching orders in the 85th minute after bringing down Aubameyang when he was clean through on goal.

Alexandre Lacazette’s resulting free-kick hit the wall and McCarthy spilled his powerful follow-up shot straight to Joe Willock who scored to make it 2-0 to Arsenal in the 86th minute. We eased through the final minutes to secure a much-needed victory on the south coast.

Here are my ratings:

Martinez  7/10 | Didn’t put a foot wrong and made a superb save to deny Long when it was just 1-0. A crucial save and he showed off his distribution with a lovely pass that sent Aubameyang clear in the second half.

Bellerin  6/10 | Still nowhere near his best yet. Passing was poor at times and didn’t offer much going forward but was solid enough defensively.

Mustafi  6.5/10 | A little nervy early on but improved as the game went on. Looks more comfortable alongside Holding.

Holding  8/10 | Excellent performance. Made a number of headed clearances to keep Southampton at bay and held the defence together. Kept everything simple and surprisingly for an Arsenal centre-back, he didn’t make any mistakes! I hope he’s given a run in the team now as he deserves to keep his place.

Tierney  7/10 | Was having a very solid game until he was forced off with cramp midway through the second half. Played a couple of lovely passes and positioning was spot on.

nicolas pepe arsenal

Pepe  5/10 | Was hoping he’d push on after his excellent goal at Brighton but was very quiet this evening. Only real thing of note was a nice pass to Nketiah. No impact at all before he was subbed.

Ceballos  5/10 | Ineffective once again. Passing was sloppy and offered nothing going forward. For a player that’s meant to make things happen he was anonymous.

Xhaka  7/10 | I’m not his biggest fan but there’s no denying we looked much better with Xhaka back in the midfield. He helped control the game and played a couple of superb forward passes that broke the lines.

Saka  7/10 | Another encouraging performance from the youngster. Played on the left side today and was a real threat in the first half.

Nketiah  7.5/10 | Showed great hunger to force McCarthy into his error for the vital opening goal. Works so hard up front and doesn’t give the opposition defence a second. Only criticism is he fluffed a great chance to make it 2-0 in the first half.

Aubameyang  7/10 | Hit the bar early on when clean through but this was a selfless performance from Auba. He put a real shift in, made some excellent runs and caused Southampton problems. His run led to Stephens being sent off resulting in our important second goal.

Subs:

Willock  7/10 | Great anticipation to pounce on McCarthy’s spill to poke home the second goal.

Kolasinac  5/10 | No real impact after replacing Tierney.

Lacazette  5/10 | His shot led to the second goal.

Maitland-Niles  5/10 | Not too much time to make an impression in midfield.

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