if Arsenal win today, we’re top of the league.— The Short Fuse (@TheShortFuse) December 26, 2015
The proceedings, sadly, were less than enjoyable.
The first half was imperfect in buildup and clumsy in matching the physicality offered from the Saints. Cuco Martina's wonderful half-volley was a moment of brilliance the game, perhaps, didn't deserve, but my did Martina:
If anything from the first half portended what was coming in the final frame, it was referee Jonathan Moss' inconsistent and/or deficient adjudication.
While the latter contributed to the first goal in not calling Steven Davis offsides, it played a more integral part in springing Shane Long into his second goal when Long tripped Laurent Koscielny before trudging through to make it 2-0.
What followed was the general decay of a team unwilling, unprepared or simply unable to keep the game's momentum from spiraling out of control. Long tormented Koscielny and Per Mertesacker throughout the second half, while Alex Iwobi's second game action of the season is a fair indication of how seriously (or not) Arsenal was taking this game. A header off of a corner from José Fonte and Long's second finalized the scoreline.
Arsenal's goal differential lead on the rest of the table erased, the Gunners now slide back into second place in the league a point behind leaders Leicester City.
If nothing else, it's a chance to forget what we just witnessed and move on.