We were worried we couldn't score

Posted by Sam Limbert

Remember the days earlier in the season when we thought we couldn't score? They seem a long time ago. The confidence gained from the victory at Liverpool could have been lost during the international break, but you could easily have been mistaken for thinking that the players got off the bus after the journey back from Anfield, and went straight onto the pitch against Southampton. The confidence was flowing through the team, and suddenly things are looking up.

I was surprised to see Gervinho play as the central striker, but he made clever runs and scored two deserved goals. He played the poacher role well, and made space for others. I don't think playing Gervinho up front would work against a team that sits back or one that looks to physically dominate us, but in a more open match, it's a good option for the manager to have.

The Ivorian's first goal came from a great through ball from Arteta, who again performed well alongside the more defensive Francis Coquelin. His second came from good work from Aaron Ramsey. The Welshman continued to be slightly random with some of his touches, but the run and build up to Gervinho's goal showed why he's worth persisting with as a player.

Along with Gervinho, it was good to see other attackers get on the scoresheet. Lukas Podolski was excellent again on the left, and his link up play with Cazorla is continuing to look sumptuous. I didn't expect Podolski to take the free-kick with Cazorla or Arteta eyeing it up, however the German's strike was excellent. Even though Robin van Persie was a good free-kick taker, it was his way or no way at dead ball situations last season. Now we have numerous dangerous options.

Theo Walcott's goal was straightforward given the confusion in the Southampton defence, but it's good for his confidence to find the net. He's struggled this season with being in and out of the team, and has the contract issue hanging over him, so a goal can only help improve his general mood in the team.

As well as not taking chances earlier in the season, we weren't creating guilt-edged ones. That changed against Southampton, with Cazorla and others bringing in the full-backs and helping to create chances for those in the middle. That led to the own goals, and whilst they were fortunate, they came from good moves forward. Kieran Gibbs has quietly had a very good start to the season, and his balls into the box for the own goals were both dangerous.

Having run Manchester United and Manchester City close, I was pleased to see Southampton try to play attacking football as it played into our hands. The back four didn't sit on the edge of their box, and our quicker players ran riot into the space behind them. Southampton will win plenty of friends trying to play football that's good to watch, but unfortunately for them, they'll concede plenty of goals by doing that. Ahead of our difficult period of games, it was the sort of match we needed to make the new signings feel as if they're part of a successful team, and to get the forwards used to hitting the back of the net.

Of course, the one forward who didn't do that was Olivier Giroud. It's hard to criticise the team selection when you win 6-1, but I thought it would have been a good game for Giroud to start in because of the number of chances we were likely to create. Hopefully he'll be able to feed off the growing confidence of the others around him, and then he'll be able to do well in the familiar surroundings of Montpellier on Tuesday.

The only concern from the game was the goal we conceded. Obviously, I'm buzzing that we scored six goals, but there's a large part of me that is furious that we let a goal in. If it had been a screamer, I'd have accepted it, but it was a goalkeeping howler. Wojciech Szczesny has no defence for the way he dropped the ball straight to Danny Fox. I'm sure Steve Bould will give him a suitable dressing down. Szczesny is still young and prone to a mistake, but it was a reminder to him that his number one shirt isn't safe with Vito Mannone suddenly back in the frame. Apart from the howler, we looked solid again, and one goal conceded in four games is still miles better than the start we'd imagined the team would make.

Overall it was a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon, with Arsene Wenger once again reminding us that he can still construct a team that plays stunning football. We still have to take one small step at the time with this team because of the turnover of players, but now things are clicking, the days of worrying where the next goal will come from could be behind us.

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