Arsenal: Cech, Bellerin, Mustafi, Koscielny, Monreal, Coquelin, Cazorla, Ozil, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Walcott, Perez
Subs: Ospina, Holding, Elneny, Xhaka, Iwobi, Alexis, Giroud
Arsenal rode their luck at times against Southampton at the Emirates this afternoon, but a late penalty from Santi Cazorla saw them come from behind to win 2-1.
Arsene Wenger handed full debuts to new boys Shokdran Mustafi and Lucas Perez, the Spaniard given the nod up front ahead of Olivier Giroud. Francis Coquelin returned to midfield with Granit Xhaka on the bench.
The visitors began the game brightly, Jay Rodriguez heading over after a good move down their right hand side. Arsenal’s passing was a bit careless at times, but had Mesut Ozil been on his toes, he might have made more of a situation where he found himself unmarked in front of goal.
Nacho Monreal picked up a 16th minute yellow card as he conceded a dangerous free kick just outside the Arsenal box. It turned out to be very costly when Tadic’s free kick hit the bar, and rebounded in off the back of Petr Cech to make it 0-1. It will go down as an own goal for the Arsenal keeper.
Theo Walcott tried to get us level, heading a Santi Cazorla free kick over the bar. The Spanish international was then booked rather harshly for a show of dissent, before van Dijk turned a Monreal cross/shot over the bar as Ozil got involved.
From the resulting corner, Southampton failed to clear properly, and Arsenal were level when Laurent Koscielny pulled off a brilliant overhead kick to make it 1-1.
The goal seemed to change the momentum, with Arsenal looking more dangerous. Cazorla started pulling the strings from deep, Ozil had a shot blocked after a brilliant Bellerin delivery, Oxlade-Chamberlain saw one deflected over, but the first half played itself out in a fairly dreary way, matching the North London weather.
Southampton made a half-time change, bringing on Shane Long who had tormented the Arsenal defence the last time the two sides met. Jay Rodriguez was the man to make way.
Arsenal spent most of the early stages of the second period in the visitors half, Southampton sitting very deep and trying to deny us space. Ozil’s first touch let him down after a good Arsenal break, failing to control a Walcott pass as he drove into the box.
The German turned provider then, creating a chance for Lucas but his goalbound effort was blocked by Bertrand. Cazorla made a brilliant interception to cut out Southampton danger on the break, and Bellerin fired a shot just wide of the far post, before Arsene Wenger made a couple of substitutions.
Olivier Giroud and Alexis Sanchez came on for Lucas and Oxlade-Chamberlain in the 62nd minute, the England man looking pretty downhearted as he endured another difficult day.
Southampton squandered a brilliant chance to go back ahead when Long found himself with just Cech to beat, but the Irish international miscued his shot and clipped it well wide of the post.
At the other end Ozil set up Alexis but from inside the box he fired his shot just over the bar, and he saw another effort blocked from a Giroud lay-off. The Gunners certainly looked much better from an attacking point of view with the Chilean on the pitch.
Long had another chance to get his goal heading over from a free kick, before the manager made his final change, throwing on Alex Iwobi for Theo Walcott in the 75th minute.
We should have been ahead moments later. After a van Dijk mistake Alexis set up Cazorla, but he seemed to slip as he hit the ball and when it rebounded to the back post Giroud also fell foul of the slippery surface.
A Monreal shot deflected wide but Arsenal could make nothing from the resulting corner. At the other end Cech made a good save but from the rebound Long once again made a hash of what looked like a simple tap-in to almost certainly take the three points for Southampton.
A brilliant cross from Cazorla presented a near post chance for Giroud but he couldn’t angle his header on target under pressure from the defenders. Late on a low Cazorla cross caused mayhem in the Southampton area, Koscielny was left in a heap but Arsenal played on, the ball came back in and the referee awarded a penalty for a foul on Giroud.
After a big delay for treatment for Koscielny, and some gamesmanship from the Southampton players, Cazorla stepped up and drilled it down the middle to make it 2-1.
There was some late pressure from the Saints, but in the end Arsenal hung on to take the three points. It was far from convincing and if Long hadn’t worn wellies it might have been a lot worse, but nevertheless a very welcome three points.