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Arsenal 1-0 Southampton: Closing Time

Arsenal left it late but won 1-0.

Julian Finney/Getty Images

1-0 Alexis 89'

Arsenal have drawn too many times at home this season, and you could be forgiven for thinking the worst when Fraser Forster morphed into 1970's Gordon Banks to deny Olivier Giroud's looping header from finding the back of the net. Arsenal had been the more threatening of both teams--Southampton's only real chance was a neat one-two between Steven Davis and Graziano Pelle that the latter thrashed wildly over the bar--but they'd been unable to find the finishing touch, between a combination of some excellent Forster saves and some wayward finishing, particularly from Danny Welbeck.

Welbeck, chosen ahead of Olivier Giroud, had the best chance in the first half: played behind by a fantastic through ball from Santi Cazorla, he was unable to put his left footed shot past the advancing Forster, slashing horribly wide. Arsenal were unable to create many better chances, with Southampton midfield pressure, led by the unbookable Victor Wanyama and blunt Arsenal passing thwarting attacking ambition. With Southampton's midfield getting the better of the Arsenal attack, Olivier Giroud came on the hour mark for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, the removal of whom was booed by some of the Arsenal fans present. Giroud, though, quickly forced Forster into action with a great left-footed shot.

Southampton had used all three substitutes when Toby Alderweireld had pulled up with a hamstring problem, so with 5 minutes left, they went down to 10 men. Arsenal pressed looking for the advantage, and it finally came with a minute left: a Giroud shot was parried by Jose Fonte's hand, but before Andre Marriner could fail to give Arsenal the penalty, the maligned Aaron Ramsey cut the ball back for Alexis Sánchez to stroke home. Arsenal had another chance to make the scoreline prettier late on, but Ramsey, who had a good game despite many on Twitter asserting the opposite, had his shot parried by Forster.

It'd be nice to get Ramsey scoring again, because Arsenal need another scoring threat, but the important thing right now is that Arsenal are keeping clean-sheets and winning games. That's 3 in a week now, and although they left it until closing time, they got 3 points in the end.