Arsenal cruised to victory over relegation-threatened Southampton on Sunday, 2-0. The win puts the Gunners one point ahead of top four rivals Manchester United and three points above Chelsea. Manager Unai Emery’s team has been playing well in the league collecting four wins from its last five.
With 11 games to play and a Champions League berth on the line, here is what we learned from Arsenal’s 2-0 win on Sunday.
Denis Suarez struggles
Denis Suarez hasn’t been the creative answer many Arsenal fans believed he would be. Fortunately, Henrikh Mkhitaryan is fit and in-form.
Suarez joined from Barcelona on loan with expectations he would provide an upgrade in the attack. Yet Suarez has played just twice in the Premier League recording no goals or assists.
The Spaniard has managed just 38 total minutes in the Premier League.
Suarez had played just eight times for Barcelona before arriving at the Emirates managing two goals and an assist in the Copa del Rey.
He hasn’t been the player many expected him to be and is being kept out of the side by Alex Iwobi and Mesut Ozil. Suarez was an unused sub on Sunday.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan star shines
Mkhitaryan’s performance against Southampton once again showed how well Arsenal’s swap of Alexis Sanchez for the Armenian was.
The midfielder scored a goal and added an assist while Sanchez came off the bench in another disappointing performance for Manchester United.
Mkhitaryan has tallied five goals and two assists in 16 league games compared to Sanchez’s one goal and three assists in 15 games. But unlike Sanchez, Mkhitaryan makes his team better rather than being a weak link on the pitch.
The Armenian’s form will make it difficult for Ozil to get back into the starting XI next week.
Gunners defence a work in progress
Arsenal’s clean sheet was just their fifth all season. Last term, Arsenal allowed 51 goals. This year, they have conceded 37 with 11 games to go.
Despite Bernd Leno arriving and taking over for the ageing Petr Cech, more defensive upgrades are needed at the Emirates.
Their clean sheet against Southampton was a positive but games against Tottenham, Manchester United, Watford, and Wolverhampton Wanderers will once again put the back four to the test.