Player ratings as Saka inspires Gunners to relentless victory

Bukayo Saka scored a goal and an assist as Arsenal clinched a 3-1 Premier League win over Southampton.

The game got off to a good start when Stuart Armstrong made a half volley to James Ward-Prowse’s corner home in three minutes. Their lead lasted a long time, with Nicolas Pepe clinging to the end of Granit Xhaka’s crossing ball and slipping it past Alex McCarthy soon after.

The Gunners then took the lead just before the break. Lacazette’s nice pass allowed Saka to get around McCarthy before stroking the ball into the empty net.

With 20 minutes remaining, Arsenal put the game beyond any doubt. The movement started with a superb ball from Cédric Soares who found Saka, who then brought him back to Lacazette to slide home.

Here is your ranking of South Coast Saints and Gunners players …

Valery replaced Kyle Walker-Peters at right-back | ANDY RAIN / Getty Images

Alex McCarthy (GK) – 5/10 – Made a great Lacazette save in the first minute but misjudged things for Saka’s goal. Maybe I should have recorded the first one too.

Yan Valery (RB) – 5/10 – Seemed a bit unstable in what was his first start to the league season. I was completely flushed out by Pepe for Arsenal’s first goal.

Jan Bednarek (CB) – 6/10 – Did their best to stem the tide with four impressive interceptions, but Arsenal opened the defense on several occasions.

Jack Stephens (CB) – 6/10 – The overplay at the back led to Arsenal’s opener. He recovered well after that, not doing much else wrong.

Jake Vokins (LB) – 6/10 – Found Adams ‘header with a perfect ball in the first half, but could have done a lot better in preparation for the Gunners’ second.

Armstrong opened the scoring for the Saints | ANDY RAIN / Getty Images

Stuart Armstrong (RM) – 7/10 – The best performer on his team. Took his goal very well and his performance was exceptional.

Ibrahima Diallo (CM) – 5/10 – A little headless at times. Improved after he moved to left-back to facilitate the introduction of Nathan Redmond.

James Ward-Prowse (CM) – 7/10 – His performance on stage was almost perfect all evening. Could have easily gotten more than one pass.

Théo Walcott (LM) – 5/10 – I entered promising areas but the final ball was missing. Need to give more to his team.

It was a frustrating evening for Ings
It was a frustrating evening for Ings | Marc Atkins / Getty Images

Che Adams (ST) – 5/10 – I went close with a smart header in the first half. On occasion, he has been guilty of poor decision making.

Danny Ings (ST) – 5/10 – Failed to take a few half chances before being substituted. Not his night.

Nathan Redmond – 5/10 – Little impact after his arrival.

Daniel N’Lundulu – 6/10 – Put on but nothing broke for him.

Caleb Watts – 6/10 – A busy, if not very sensational, Premier League debut.

Cédric Soares, Jan Bednarek
Cedric was facing his former employers | Marc Atkins / Getty Images

Bernd Leno (GK) – 7/10 – Was reliable when put into action, making four saves.

Hector Bellerin (RB) – 7/10 – Done pretty well. Not caused too much trouble by the saints and recorded two precise crosses.

Rob Holding (CB) – 7/10 – Was guilty of a long cowardly pass but fought back pretty well. Its positioning was a highlight.

David Luiz (CB) – 7/10 – Some lack of concentration at the end could have cost his team. Other than that, he was fine.

Cédric Soares (LB) – 8/10 – Did very well on his return to his old club. Well defended and his excellent pass started the movement which led to Arsenal’s third goal.

Granite Xhaka
Xhaka created a goal for his team | Naomi Baker / Getty Images

Granite Xhaka (CM) – 7/10 – His perfectly weighted through ball created the first goal. It looked less impressive when Partey left.

Thomas Partey (CM) – 7/10 – Combative display. He fought valiantly against the Southampton counterpress and rarely looked agitated.

Emile Smith-Rowe (AM) – 7/10 – Carried the ball effectively throughout. His withdrawal through injury was worrying. Arsenal fans hope it doesn’t matter.

Nicolas pepe
Pepe showed good composure to improve scores | Marc Atkins / Getty Images

Nicolas Pepe (RW) – 7/10 – Not sure what he was doing for Southampton’s opening goal, luckily he caught it a few minutes later with a goal well taken.

Alexandre Lacazette (ST) – 8/10 – Unable to convert one-on-one in the first minute. Compensated for that by setting up Saka and then putting the game past Southampton with an unorthodox finish.

Bukayo Saka (LW) – 9/10 – Seriously impressive race and finish to the beat. His assist for Lacazette’s goal was also excellent. How is this guy only 19?

Willian entered the second half | ANDY RAIN / Getty Images

Willian – 7/10 – Was involved in the third base seconds after arriving.

Mohamed Elneny – 6/10 – Things substantiated.

Joe Willock – N / A