Thursday 8 December 2016

Koeman hails 'dangerous' Shane Long as brace sinks Arsenal

Published 28/12/2015 | 02:30

Shane Long applauds the fans after his decisive performance for Southampton against Arsenal Photo: Clive Gee/PA Wire
Shane Long applauds the fans after his decisive performance for Southampton against Arsenal Photo: Clive Gee/PA Wire

Shane Long offered a reminder of his quality by tormenting the Arsenal defence as Southampton registered a stunning St Stephen's Day victory.

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The pace of the Ireland attacker gave centre-halves Laurent Koscielny and Per Mertesacker a torrid night, with Ronald Koeman admitting that his side had adapted their usual style to suit his £12m striker.

Long scored twice in the second half, with Arsenal consistently caught out in their attempts to chase a game that was turned on its head by a spectacular opener from Cuco Martina.

It was only the Tipperary native's fifth league start of the season, with a setback for Graziano Pelle meaning that he will get the opportunity to build on his display. The brace brought his tally in all competitions for the Saints this campaign to seven - which equals his entire return from last term.

"They did not like the pace in behind from me and Sadio (Mane) and we played on that," said the 28-year-old, who bounced back from missing a one-on-one before the break.

Arsenal felt that Long had tripped Koscielny in a coming together before he slotted home his side's second. The Gunners had already waved the white flag when he burst through at the death to add insult to injury.

"We know the qualities of Shane. He is a different attacker to Graziano," said Koeman.

"Everybody needs to improve. Shane was one of the key players to win this game. He creates a big problem for defenders because he has a very good offensive movement and is very dangerous.

"In the second half, the long balls in behind the defenders was the game-plan for Shane. He does so much running that he can cause every team problems."

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