Premier League

Southampton 1-1 Arsenal

By Mike HensonBBC Sport
Olivier Giroud
Giroud is yet to start a Premier League game this season

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said his side's slow start in games is becoming a problem, after they scraped a draw against Southampton.

Substitute Olivier Giroud glanced in a superb late header to salvage a point after the Gunners had trailed since the third minute.

"In the last two weeks unfortunately we are losing points after a bad start," said Wenger, who saw his side concede twice in the first 11 minutes of the 3-1 defeat by Manchester United eight days previously.

"I felt the Manchester United game played a bit of a part in the head of our defenders," he said.

"They were a bit apprehensive to start well again and that's why it is sometimes not good to talk about the problem because you create a bigger one."

Charlie Austin clipped home an early opener for the home side with the away defence mere onlookers.

The Southampton striker drilled a stinging shot into Petr Cech's gloves shortly after, then hit the post from an offside position.

A sharp save from Aaron Ramsey apart, Southampton goalkeeper Fraser Forster had little to do as the visitors struggled to carve out clear-cut chances before Giroud climbed above Virgil van Dijk to steer home Alexis Sanchez's cross and make Arsenal's possession finally pay.

Southampton were left to rue several wasted chances on the counter attack, with Ryan Bertrand missing a fine opportunity and Oriol Romeu's long-range effort glancing off the bar in the second half.

A draw briefly moved Arsenal level on points with fourth-placed Liverpool, but the Reds edged back a point clear with a 1-1 draw against Everton.

Southampton broke into the top half of the table, until Everton's point meant the Saints slipped back to 11th.

History repeats on Arsenal

Charlie Austin scores the opener against Arsenal
Arsenal's defenders failed to pin down Austin in a chaotic opening 10 minutes

Wenger made one change from the line-up that started with so many errors against Manchester United, but Per Mertesacker's inclusion did not remove that flaw at St Mary's.

The German centre-back gave possession away cheaply and was made to pay as Dusan Tadic's cute reverse ball picked out Austin, who clinically found the net.

It could easily have been worse for the Gunners in the opening 10 minutes too, as the visiting defence lacked any cohesion or organisation collectively.

Southampton 1-1 Arsenal: Arsene Wenger admits game was difficult

Individually, Mertesacker, Laurent Koscielny and Nacho Monreal failed to track runners or show the commitment of the Saints attackers.

Just as against United, Arsenal spent plenty of time on the ball in the second half, with 70% possession after the break - but moments of real concern for the Southampton defence were rare before Giroud's equaliser.

The Frenchman's celebration, pointing to the name on the back of his shirt, might have been a reminder to his manager that he is available from the start.

He has scored four league goals in 13 substitute appearances during this campaign yet is still to make his first start.

Wenger said afterwards that he considered Giroud "a regular player" with "the right attitude and ability".

A goal every 80 minutes from Austin

Charlie Austin
Austin has been denied regular starts this season

Like Giroud, Austin is another striker making a case for more game time.

The 28-year-old, in only his third league start of the season, showed the clinical finishing touch the Saints lacked in scoring only nine goals in their opening 12 games.

After clipping over Cech for the opener, he brought a good save from the Arsenal goalkeeper and hit the post from an offside position as he ran the Gunners ragged in the opening 10 minutes.

He has spent much of the season behind Shane Long and Manolo Gabbiadini in Saints boss Mauricio Pellegrino's thoughts, but eight goals in his past 11 league starts and an overall strike rate of a goal every 80 minutes in this season's top flight are a robust case for his inclusion.

Indeed, if it continues, England manager Gareth Southgate might yet take note with a view to next summer's World Cup.

Saints fans can look on sunny side

Arsenal's Arsene Wenger with Southampton counterpart Mauricio Pellegrino
Pellegrino (right) arrived at Southampton last summer after a spell at Spanish side Alaves

Since beating Everton convincingly at the end of November, the Saints have been a matter of seconds away from taking a point from Manchester City and came from behind to do so at Bournemouth.

As at Etihad Stadium against City, their concentration and discipline lapsed towards the end, but Southampton did not rely only on defensive doggedness for their point.

Southampton 1-1 Arsenal: Mauricio Pellegrino says Saints 'controlled the game'

They were lively and inventive in attack throughout, with Tadic always looking for an incisive pass and Nathan Redmond providing a quick outlet.

The Saints have lost once in their past four games, yet won only once in their past seven matches.

This performance was one to convince Saints fans to look on the sunny side of those statistics.

Man of the match - Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg
The former Bayern Munich youngster had more touches and more passes than any other Southampton player. His passing accuracy of 93% was better than any other starting player on the home side.

'We paid a price for slow start' - manager quotes

Southampton manager Mauricio Pellegrino: "When you play against Arsenal you need to be 100% excellent at almost everything.

"We didn't control the ball much but we controlled the game. We had to reduce the space because they have quality in key areas, we competed well but it's a pity we conceded at the end.

"We are upset about that but it's part of football. Against Arsenal, in one action, everything can change."

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger: "It was a difficult game and I felt that we paid a heavy price for a slow start. We kept going. Overall, I think the spirit was great. We were relentless to the end.

"I consider Olivier Giroud as a regular player. We have to be grateful that he is part of a great team and one who can come on and make a difference with the right attitude and ability. He is a talent."

Austin off the radar and on the scoresheet - match stats

  • Austin has scored in all three of his Premier League appearances against Arsenal.
  • Since the start of 2014-15, only five Englishmen have scored more Premier League goals than Austin (30).
  • No player has scored more substitute goals for a single Premier League team than Giroud - level with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Man Utd (17).
  • Only Jermain Defoe (23) has scored more substitute goals overall in the competition than Giroud (17).
  • Tadic provided his 26th assist for Southampton in the Premier League - only Matt le Tissier (64) has more for the club in the competition.
  • Arsenal have conceded 32 Premier League goals away from home in 2017. Only West Ham (35) and Stoke and Watford (33 each) have shipped more.
  • Southampton have only lost one of their past seven home Premier League games against Arsenal (winning two and drawing four).
  • No team has gained more points from losing positions in the Premier League this season than Arsenal (10 - level with Manchester City).

What's next?

Southampton welcome former manager Claude Puel and his new side Leicester to St Mary's on Wednesday. Arsenal travel to London rivals West Ham on the same night.



Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 44Forster
  • 5StephensBooked at 82mins
  • 3Yoshida
  • 17van Dijk
  • 21Bertrand
  • 14RomeuBooked at 84mins
  • 23Højbjerg
  • 16Ward-Prowse
  • 11TadicSubstituted forDavisat 88'minutes
  • 22RedmondSubstituted forBoufalat 74'minutes
  • 10AustinSubstituted forGabbiadiniat 86'minutes


  • 6Hoedt
  • 8Davis
  • 13McCarthy
  • 18Lemina
  • 19Boufal
  • 20Gabbiadini
  • 26Pied


Formation 3-4-2-1

  • 33Cech
  • 6Koscielny
  • 4MertesackerSubstituted forWelbeckat 64'minutes
  • 18Monreal
  • 24BellerínBooked at 78mins
  • 8Ramsey
  • 29XhakaSubstituted forWilshereat 69'minutesBooked at 90mins
  • 31Kolasinac
  • 11Özil
  • 7Sánchez
  • 9LacazetteSubstituted forGiroudat 72'minutes


  • 10Wilshere
  • 12Giroud
  • 13Ospina
  • 17Iwobi
  • 23Welbeck
  • 30Maitland-Niles
  • 34Coquelin
Robert Madley

Match Stats

Home TeamSouthamptonAway TeamArsenal
Shots on Target

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Southampton 1, Arsenal 1.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Southampton 1, Arsenal 1.

  3. Post update

    Attempt saved. Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Sead Kolasinac with a cross.

  4. Post update

    Sead Kolasinac (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  5. Post update

    Foul by Pierre-Emile Højbjerg (Southampton).

  6. Post update

    Corner, Southampton. Conceded by Mesut Özil.

  7. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Pierre-Emile Højbjerg (Southampton) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Sofiane Boufal.

  8. Booking

    Jack Wilshere (Arsenal) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  9. Post update

    Foul by Jack Wilshere (Arsenal).

  10. Post update

    Manolo Gabbiadini (Southampton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  11. Post update

    Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  12. Post update

    Foul by Manolo Gabbiadini (Southampton).

  13. Substitution

    Substitution, Southampton. Steven Davis replaces Dusan Tadic.

  14. Goal!

    Goal! Southampton 1, Arsenal 1. Olivier Giroud (Arsenal) header from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Alexis Sánchez with a cross.

  15. Substitution

    Substitution, Southampton. Manolo Gabbiadini replaces Charlie Austin.

  16. Post update

    Attempt saved. Alexis Sánchez (Arsenal) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner.

  17. Booking

    Oriol Romeu (Southampton) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  18. Post update

    Jack Wilshere (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  19. Post update

    Foul by Oriol Romeu (Southampton).

  20. Post update

    Offside, Southampton. Sofiane Boufal tries a through ball, but Charlie Austin is caught offside.


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