Rob Holding has revealed that Arsenal were aware of a weakness on the edge of their box from opposition corners so he was particularly annoyed that Southampton took advantage to open the scoring in last night’s 3-1 win at Saint Mary’s.
Arsenal have been impressively tight defending set-pieces so far this season but were caught out inside the opening four minutes when James Ward-Prowse found Stuart Armstrong with an out-swinging corner that the Scot, who was completely unmarked, swept home first time.
Nicolas Pepe’s quick-fire equaliser meant the Gunners didn’t have to dwell on the situation for too long before strikes from Bukayo Saka and Alex Lacazette sealed the points.
“We were disappointed to concede from a set-piece and it was something we looked at after the game on Saturday,” Holding told Arsenal.com.
“We saw the edge as a weakness of ours and they exploited it, so it’s a bitter one to take.”
Despite the early setback, Mikel Arteta’s looked determined from the off to produce a better performance than the one on Saturday that resulted with an FA Cup exit at the hands of the Saints.
For Holding, who was making his 100th appearance for the club, the weekend’s disappointment was certainly a motivating factor.
“After the weekend we knew we wanted to get them back because they celebrated and we were disappointed to go out of the FA Cup. It was a good bit of revenge.
“We were angry about the weekend’s result and we wanted to get back at them, so everyone was fired up for it. We came out the blocks straight away and Laca was unlucky in the first minute straight through on goal. But he got his goal towards the end which made him happy, and his effort and work rate was top today, so he deserved the goal.”
Cedric was equally pleased with the fight he saw from his teammates who have now secured 16 points from the last 18 available. Against his old club and fielded at left-back, the Portugal international played one of his best games for the club since joining last January. Afterwards, he admitted the squad are in form.
“In the Premier League anything can happen and right now we are in a good moment,” the
31 29-year-old told Arsenal.com.
“We need to use it because every point is important and we need to keep fighting for every point and every game. This is what we’re doing and we know we didn’t have the best start to the season, but now there, we’re working, the team is in great form and I hope we keep going.
“It’s the best league in the world, so this is great, honestly. The football becomes so much more competitive and it’s harder to win, but Arsenal is here to compete and we have our goals to achieve a high position in the league. We need to keep working to achieve it.”