Arsenal 6-1 Southampton: Goals, goals everywhere

If we had to lose our clean sheet streak, we may as well do it when we score six goals, eh?

The Arsenal lined up mainly as you would expect, albeit with Francis Coquelin replacing the injured Abou Diaby. Wojciech Szczesny passed fit and thus replaced Vito Mannone, and the rest of the squad essentially picked itself.

(For the record, I'm really, really drunk right now. Take everything I say with a huge amount of salt.)

Gervinho was the nominal central forward again, but this time it all worked out. Arsenal had the vast majority of the ball right from the off, with everyone in red shirts displaying complete comfort on the ball. Not only that, but the whole team did a great job switching positions, and Southampton had little answer to what the Gunners threw at them right from the off.

Given the run of play, it was only a matter of time until the Arsenal opened the scoring. As it turned out, it was the 11th minute when the good guys took the lead. Lukas Podolski was the catalyst, as he drove through the middle, and lost the ball. But, he was determined and won the ball back, and played it out to Kieran Gibbs, Gibbs' low shot was saved by Kelvin Davis, but the rebound was played back out into the danger area. In the ensuing scramble, the ball came off of Jos Hooiveld and into the net.

So, 1-0 to the Arsenal, a lead that was just the beginning. The home side had damn near all of the ball, with Santi Cazorla running the show in midfield. The Saints' backline did everything they could to repel the Arsenal attacks, but we all knew that more goals were coming. Hooiveld came off for the debutant Maya Yoshida, but it didn't help the visitors all that much. With 30 minutes gone, Arsenal doubled their lead.

Steven Davis had committed several fouls, to the point where he was especially lucky that referee Kevin Friend had not shown him a yellow card. This time, the foul left us a free kick in a dangerous position, and now we have some options to do some damage from them. This time, it was Podolski that took it, and he curled a wonderful dipping effort around the wall and past the despairing dive of Davis and into the net. Pick that one out!

That left us two goals to the good...and in seasons past, this would be about the time where we would let a lower-end side back into the match. Not anymore, though...this Arsenal team is all about finishing matches off, and soon enough the Gunners were three goals to the good.

This time, Mikael Arteta was the architect, playing a wonderful ball over the static Southampton back line. Gervinho ran onto it, and had nothing between him and Davis. You know, a better goalkeeper would likely have come off his line, forcing the shooter into a tougher decision, a tougher shot. Luckily, our Ivorian was shooting on the worst keeper in the division by some distance, so Davis instead opted to stay on his line and dive away from his near post. That happened to be where Gervinho had put it, so the men in red were three goals ahead.

There was some talk amongst the faithful at the Pig that this wouldn't be it for the half, and this ended up being the truth. Gervinho played it out to Gibbs, whose cross was turned into his own net by Nathaniel Clyne.

The game was essentially over at this point, but we did lose our clean sheet streak right before halftime. Szczesny, obviously rusty after a while away, spilled an easy cross allowing Daniel Fox to lash the rebound into the empty net. It's a bit of a bummer, but at least it happened in a match that was completely out of control, right?

Halftime came and went, and Arsenal continued to stay in control. Szczesny had some iffy clearances, but the defense continued to hold firm and keep the Saints at bay. With twenty minutes to go, Arsenal regained a four-goal lead.

Santi Cazorla, who was awesome all game, played in the substitute Aaron Ramsey. The Welshman's toe-poke had Davis well beaten, but it hit the post. Luckily, Gervinho had chased it in, and he was left with the easiest of finishes to tap in the rebound to make it 5-1.

Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud came on late in the game, and the former tacked on one last goal late in the match to make it 6-1...again, on a rebound.

Again, I wish I could give you a more in-depth outline of how we tactically destroyed the Saints, but again, I'm hammered. Suffice to say that the Gunners continued their awesome run of form, and despite Szczesny's mistake I am beyond confident that we can give Man City a game next week.


The Modern Gooner Player Ratings:

Szczesny 5, Gibbs 7, Vermaelen 7, Mertesacker 7, Jenkinson 7, Podolski 9 (Giroud 6), Arteta 7, Coquelin 7 (Ramsey 7), Cazorla 8, Oxlade-Chamberlain 7, Gervinho 8 (Walcott 7)

Man of the Match: Lu-lu-lu...LUKAS PODOLSKI!