Southampton, Sunday @PeopleSports11
Olivier Giroud’s last-gasp header salvaged a point for Arsenal in a 1-1 draw at Southampton on Sunday as Arsene Wenger’s side avoided a second successive Premier League defeat.
Wenger’s team appeared destined to follow last weekend’s home loss to Manchester United with another setback when they trailed to Charlie Austin’s third minute goal. But France striker Giroud conjured a response with two minutes left when he directed Alexis Sanchez’s cross past Fraser Forster shortly after appearing as a substitute.
A single point, though, denied Arsenal the chance to climb into the top four. “It was a difficult game and I felt that we paid a heavy price for a slow start. We kept going. It was a game of high intensity,” Wenger said. “In the second half it was all us but they defended well. We played with many strikers.
Overall, I think the spirit was great. We were relentless to the end.” Southampton can consider themselves unfortunate to have seen Austin’s fourth goal in three starts cancelled out late on, but Mauricio Pellegrino’s side have won just one of their last seven games.
After seeing his side ship two early goals in the United defeat, Wenger had demanded concentration from the start Unfortunately for Wenger, it appears his words went unheeded. Per Mertesacker had been restored to the line-up in place of the injured Shkodran Mustafi.
But the Germany international was left red-faced just two minutes into his return as he gifted Southampton the goal that allowed Pellegrino’s side to control the first half.
A poor clearance from Mertesacker conceded possession deep inside his own half and then slipped as he attempted to make up for his mistake, allowing Dusan Tadic the time and space to pick out Austin’s run into the box where the striker finished from 12 yards out.
It was the perfect start for the home side and they should have been two up inside five minutes when Tadic and Austin again combined to open up the unconvincing Gunners back line.
This time Tadic delivered a through ball from near the halfway line, sending Austin into space with a clear run on goal, but the forward placed his shot too close to keeper Petr Cech who was given the chance to save. Arsenal looked vulnerable to every early Southampton attack and the satisfaction that followed Thursday’s 6-0 Europa League defeat of BATE.