Arsenal 2-1 Southampton: Santi Cazorla's late penalty gives Gunners win
By Stephen Turner
Last Updated: 10/09/16 10:19pm
Santi Cazorla's added-time penalty earned Arsenal all three points at the Emirates as they came from behind to beat Southampton 2-1.
The feelgood factor sparked by the inclusion of new signings Shkodran Mustafi and Lucas Perez was in danger of dissipating completely when Petr Cech's own goal put a lively Saints side in front.
But Laurent Koscielny's scissor-kick levelled the scores before the break and Cazorla kept his nerve to win it from 12 yards after Jose Fonte was penalised for dragging down substitute Olivier Giroud.
It was harsh on Saints, who had to dig in after half-time as Cazorla's catalogue of shimmies and sleights of foot sparked attack after Arsenal attack, but who also wasted two clear opportunities to score a second on the break.
Claude Puel is still searching for a first Saints win, while his former Monaco mentor Wenger can celebrate back-to-back victories that will go some way to settling the unrest of the opening-weekend defeat to Liverpool.
The Gunners boss' decision to spend before the deadline met with the obvious approval of the home crowd, and there were signs of promise from both new signings.
Mustafi's appeal to Wenger was obvious as he showed composure in possession - a little too much for comfort, at times - and a willingness to pass out from the back.
It was less clear on first look how much of an impact Perez might have in the longer term: if the Spaniard is to succeed as Arsenal's central striker he will have to find a way of adapting to the deep starting point often taken up by opposition centre-halves at the Emirates.
The blueprint laid down by Virgil van Dijk and Fonte worked in negating the threat of Perez's pace and will be followed to the letter by many a visitor to north London this season.
Saints' game-plan looked like it might cause an upset even after they had surrendered the lead, earned when Dusan Tadic's free-kick was tipped onto the bar by Cech, only for the ball to cannon off his back and over the line (18).
Koscielny produced a cracker on his 31st birthday to even it up, executing a textbook overhead kick after Saints failed to clear a corner (29), and the momentum was with Arsenal heading into the second half.
But Fraser Forster was rarely called into action as Hector Bellerin and Alexis Sanchez - starting on the bench after an arduous international break and with Tuesday's trip to Paris in mind - missed the target and Giroud headed the outstanding Cazorla's chip into the side netting.
The clearer openings came at the other end, Long dinking Tadic's smart backheel six yards wide of Cech's goal and then scuffing a follow-up after the Arsenal 'keeper had beaten out Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg's drive.
Referee Bobby Madley's contribution to the winning goal may be questioned by the visitors, who complained long and hard about the penalty award and also felt Long had been fouled in an incident that kick-started Arsenal's surge upfield.
A succession of Saints attempted to distract Cazorla as treatment for Koscielny delayed the kick, but the Spaniard spotted Forster's hasty move left, and fired the other side to settle the argument.
Cech (6), Bellerin (7), Koscielny (7), Mustafi (7), Monreal (7), Coquelin (7), Cazorla (8), Ozil (6), Walcott (6), Oxlade-Chamberlain (6), Perez (6)
Sanchez (6) Giroud (6) Iwobi (7)
Forster (6), Cedric (7), Fonte (7), van Dijk (7), Bertrand (7), Clasie (6), Romeu (7), Davis (6), Tadic (7), Redmond (6), Rodriguez (6)
Long (6), Hojbjerg (6), Ward-Prowse (5)
Man of the match: Santi Cazorla