Arsenal finally got some points on the board after back to back defeats at the hands of Brighton and Manchester City.
Goals from Eddie Nketiah and Joe Willock sealed a good win for the Gunners against a dangerous Southampton side.
Mikel Arteta got his tactics right today. The Gunners were excellent for most of the first half and deserved the lead.
The biggest difference in today’s game as compared to the last two was Granit Xhaka’s presence in the centre of the park. The Swiss international was brilliant in Arsenal’s midfield and was one of the biggest reasons why the Gunners picked up the three points.
Arteta clearly was pleased with Xhaka’s performance and took the time to appreciate his display in the post-game press conference.
He was quoted by Football London (20:37) saying: “He’s a big presence, he doesn’t hide and makes a good example for rest.”
Arsenal’s midfield, without Xhaka, had little to no penetration. Matteo Guendouzi seemed to have lost his progressiveness on the ball while Dani Ceballos has lacked the attacking edge that aids the forwards.
Xhaka’s inclusion today made Arsenal’s transition from defence to attack very fluid. It was initially feared that he would miss most of the remainder of the season after he was stretchered off at the Etihad.
Thankfully for the Gunners, Xhaka’s recovery was swift. His return is a huge boost for Arteta, who will be counting on him to lead the midfield from now until the end of this season.