Arsenal Player Ratings vs Southampton: Bukayo Saka Sparkles

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Arsenal, Nicolas Pepe

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND – JANUARY 26: Arsenal player ratings as Nicolas Pepe opens the scoring away at Southampton in the Premier League (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)

Arsenal won 3-1 away at Southampton on Tuesday’s Premier League clash at St. Mary’s to temporarily move them up to eighth in the Premier League table.

Heading into the clash on a run of five matches undefeated in the top-flight, Mikel Arteta opted to field a different looking side from the FA Cup fourth round loss on this ground last time out, although Nicolas Pepe kept his place in the side.

The first chance of the evening fell to Alexandre Lacazette, who was found one-on-one from Granit Xhaka‘s pass but failed to beat the onrushing goalkeeper when he had to score.

Arsenal were made to pay for that miss when Nicolas Pepe was caught napping from a Southampton free-kick, with Stuart Armstrong smartly finishing the neat training ground move.

Arsenal player ratings vs Southampton in the Premier League

Enjoying some decent spells in the game, Pepe then made amends with a very cool finish, before Alex McCarthy to nod the visitors in front before the break.

Building on their lead from the first half, the Gunners were mostly untroubled up until Cedric’s superb switch of play found Saka, who excellently laid the ball off for Lacazette to touch home for the third. Arsenal saw out the game in relative comfort ahead of an engrossing home clash with Manchester United.

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Arsenal Goalkeeper & Defenders Ratings

Bernd Leno (GK) – 6/10 – Made a couple of strong saves and despite getting a touch on the opener, it was hit at such pace that it would have been a wrist of steel to keep it out.

Hector Bellerin (RB) – 6/10 – Created plenty of dangerous overloads when combining with Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe on the right flank. They caused Southampton to be outnumbered, particularly during a spell in the first half.

However, he was caught out on too many occasions by Stuart Armstrong, not just when Arsenal were evaded pressing high.

Rob Holding (CB) – 7/10 – It has gone under the radar in the midst of all the young players breaking through and stealing the headlines, but Holding has played an awful lot of football this season. As the only reliable right centre-back at the club he’s been subject to regular minutes.

Despite that, he still looks solid enough. Good night on his 100th appearance.

David Luiz (CB) – 5/10 – He’s not suited to left centre-back. He can deservedly earn criticism for holding onto the ball too long and for questionable decisions on the ball, but the necessity to shift onto his favoured foot when looking for a low pass can be to Arsenal’s detriment. Wasn’t as secure as one would like and his usual ability on the ball was lacking. A couple of mindless brain farts, too.

Cedric Soares (LB) – 8/10 – Worried about balance pre-match, Cedric’s lack of a threatening left foot didn’t result in Arsenal being less potent down that flank.

Not being an actual left-back does cut Cedric a fair bit of slack in terms of some of his attacking movements, due to the adjustments he has to make, but what about that pass for the third goal? Excellent switch. In fact, his second half display was all-round superb.

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