Premier League

Southampton 1-3 Arsenal: Player ratings as Saka inspires Gunners to hard-fought victory

Matt O'Connor-Simpson
Jan 26, 2021, 10:38 PM GMT
Bukayo Saka had another excellent game for the Gunners
Bukayo Saka had another excellent game for the Gunners | Pool/Getty Images
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Bukayo Saka grabbed a goal and an assist as Arsenal secured a 3-1 Premier League win victory over Southampton.

The game got off to a flying start when Stuart Armstrong half-volleyed James Ward-Prowse's corner home inside three minutes. Their lead did last long, with Nicolas Pepe latching onto the end of Granit Xhaka's through ball and sliding it past Alex McCarthy soon after.

The Gunners then took the lead just before the break. Lacazette's fine pass allowed Saka to round McCarthy before stroking the ball into the empty net.

With 20 minutes to go, Arsenal put the game beyond all doubt. The move started with a superb ball from Cedric Soares which found Saka, who then pulled it back to Lacazette to slide home.

Here are your Saints and Gunners player rating from the south coast...

Southampton

1. Goalkeeper & defenders

Valery replaced the injured Kyle Walker-Peters at right-back
Valery replaced the injured Kyle Walker-Peters at right-back | ANDY RAIN/Getty Images

Alex McCarthy (GK) - 5/10 - Made a great save from Lacazette inside the first minute but badly misjudged things for Saka's goal. Perhaps should have saved the first as well.

Yan Valery (RB) - 5/10 - Looked a bit shaky in what was his first league start of the season. Got completely rinsed by Pepe for Arsenal's first goal.

Jan Bednarek (CB) - 6/10 - Did his best to stem the tide with an impressive four interceptions but Arsenal cut open the defence several times.

Jack Stephens (CB) - 6/10 - Overplaying at the back led to Arsenal's opener. He recovered well after that, not doing much else wrong.

Jake Vokins (LB) - 6/10 - Found Adams' head with a perfect ball in the first half but could have done a lot better in the buildup to the Gunners' second.

2. Midfielders

Armstrong opened the scoring for the Saints
Armstrong opened the scoring for the Saints | ANDY RAIN/Getty Images

Stuart Armstrong (RM) - 7/10 - His side's best performer. Took his goal very well and his delivery was exceptional.

Ibrahima Diallo (CM) - 5/10 - A little headless at times. Improved after he moved to left-back to facilitate Nathan Redmond's introduction.

James Ward-Prowse (CM) - 7/10 - His set-piece delivery was close to perfect all evening. Could have easily got more than one assist.

Theo Walcott (LM) - 5/10 - Got into some promising areas but final ball was lacking. Needed to give his team more.

3. Forwards

It was a frustrating evening for Ings
It was a frustrating evening for Ings | Marc Atkins/Getty Images

Che Adams (ST) - 5/10 - Went close with a clever header in the first half. On occasion, he was guilty of some poor decision-making.

Danny Ings (ST) - 5/10 - Did not manage to take a few half-chances before being subbed. Not his night.

4. Substitutes

Nathan Redmond - 5/10 - Little impact after coming on.

Daniel N'Lundulu - 6/10 - Put himself about but nothing broke for him.

Caleb Watts - 6/10 - A busy, if unsensational Premier League debut.

Arsenal

5. Goalkeeper & defenders

Cedric was facing his former employers
Cedric was facing his former employers | Marc Atkins/Getty Images

Bernd Leno (GK) - 7/10 - Was reliable when called into action, making four saves.

Hector Bellerin (RB) - 7/10 - Did pretty well. Not caused too many problems by the Saints and registered two accurate crosses.

Rob Holding (CB) - 7/10 - Was guilty of some loose long passing but defended pretty well. His positioning was a highlight throughout.

David Luiz (CB) - 7/10 - A couple of lapses in concentration at the end could have cost his team. Other than that, he was fine.

Cedric Soares (LB) - 8/10 - Did very well on the return to his former club. Defended well and his excellent pass started the move that led to Arsenal's third goal.

6. Midfielders

Xhaka created a goal for his side
Xhaka created a goal for his side | Naomi Baker/Getty Images

Granit Xhaka (CM) - 7/10 - His perfectly-weighted through ball created the first goal. Looked less impressive when Partey went off.

Thomas Partey (CM) - 7/10 - Combative display. He battled against Southampton's counter press valiantly and rarely looked flustered.

Emile Smith-Rowe (AM) - 7/10 - Carried the ball effectively throughout. His withdrawal through injury was worrying. Arsenal fans will be hoping it is not serious.

7. Forwards

Pepe showed good composure to level up the scores
Pepe showed good composure to level up the scores | Marc Atkins/Getty Images

Nicolas Pepe (RW) - 7/10 - Not sure what he was doing for Southampton's first goal, luckily he made up for that a few minutes later with a well-taken goal.

Alexandre Lacazette (ST) - 8/10 - Could not convert a one-on-one inside the first minute. Made up for that by setting up Saka and then putting the game beyond Southampton with an unorthodox finish.

Bukayo Saka (LW) - 9/10 - Seriously impressive run and finish at pace. His assist for Lacazette's goal was excellent as well. How is this guy only 19?

8. Substitutes

Willian came on in the second half
Willian came on in the second half | ANDY RAIN/Getty Images

Willian - 7/10 - Was involved in the third goal seconds after coming on.

Mohamed Elneny - 6/10 - Shored things up.

Joe Willock - N/A

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