Arsenal 2 Southampton 0: Wenger ‘very happy’ with battling win
Arsenal 2 Southampton 0: Arsene Wenger heaps praise on his side for grinding out win to move four points clear
Arsene Wenger heaped praise on his Arsenal side for grinding out a victory over high-flying Southampton to move four points clear at the top of the table.
Saints goalkeeper Artur Boruc gifted Olivier Giroud the opener in the 22nd minute at Emirates Stadium after he was caught dwelling on a back-pass for too long and allowed the striker to tap home.
And Giroud put the game beyond the visitors when he fired home a penalty in the 86th minute after Jose Fonte was penalised for pulling Per Mertesacker’s shirt.
“I’m very happy because we were against a good team and they showed why they made good results before,” said Wenger.
“We couldn’t take our chances but we took advantage of their mistakes. It’s a very good win against a difficult team. They stopped us well from playing.
“When you see Southampton play today we know why they won at Liverpool and drew against Manchester United.
“They are a good team and if they had won today they would have been level with us at the top of the league, so that shows you how good they are.”
Wenger continued: “It was a very physical game today and we had to be patient and intelligent not to make the first mistake, because it could have been a very difficult game if we had conceded the first goal.
“That is where maybe we have improved in our defensive stability when the game is difficult.
“We have a long way to go to do that but we have the ambition and I think the focus, the concentration, the desire are there.”
Meanwhile, Saints boss Mauricio Pochettino was encouraged by his side’s display at Emirates Stadium as they slipped to just their second defeat of the season.
“I’m clearly unhappy with the result and the way we lost as well, but this is football – these things happen,” said Pochettino.
“We competed well, though, in Arsenal’s ground, the league leaders. We competed until the last minute and that’s the positive. We tried our best.”