Southampton halted Arsenal’s run of five consecutive Premier League victories, but the league leaders were fortunate to hang on with 10 men after Mathieu Flamini saw red for a two-footed lunge with 10 minutes remaining.
A fourth goal of the season from Jose Fonte put the Saints ahead after they dominated the opening half but two goals in three minutes just after the break from Olivier Giroud and Santi Cazorla looked to have put Arsenal on their way.
But the hosts hit straight back with a goal of their own from Adam Lallana only two minutes later, and both sides had chances to win the match - though Southampton finished the stronger following Flamini’s bad challenge on Morgan Schneiderlin.
Arsenal arrived late at the ground when their bus was caught in traffic and they may as well have stayed put as a rampant Southampton dominated the early exchanges and deservedly took through Fonte’s back post header.
Fonte’s goal failed to stir any kind of response from the visitors and Southampton continued to dominate. Only wasteful finishing from debutant Sam Gallagher and a decent save from Szczesny from the same player keeping the difference to a single goal at the break.
All that changed immediately after the break, Arsenal scoring twice within the space of three minutes. But Southampton hit back through Lallana and had chances to win at the death following Flamini’s red card.
The draw sees Arsenal remain two points clear at the top, but Manchester City could go top if they beat Spurs on Wednesday.
PRE MATCH: Arsene Wenger is forced to rest two of his key players in Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere. Sam Gallagher starts a senior match for the first time.
6’ – CHANCE FOR GALLAGHER - Shaw whips in a dangerous cross and Mertesacker completely misses it. It catches Gallagher by surprise and deflects off his knee and just wide.
7’ – ANOTHER CHANCE - Adam Lallana bears down on goal. The angle to shoot is tight and he crosses instead. It deflects out to Gallagher who shoots first time and Szczesny makes a smart save to his right.
20’ – GOAL: Southampton 1-0 Arsenal – It has been coming and Fonte climbs well at the back post to head past Szczesny who was practically in his own goalmouth already!
36’ – CHANCE FOR GALLAGHER - The ball ricochets straight off Davis and into his patch but he snatches at the shot a few yards out and it’s wide of the post.
44’ – ARSENAL'S FIRST CHANCE - They haven’t been in the game but Boruc makes a point blank save from Koscielny’s scrambled effort via Ozil’s corner.
48’ – GOAL: Southampton 1-1 Arsenal – Sagna whips in a first time cross and Giroud flicks it past Boruc.
48’ – GOAL: Southampton 1-2 Arsenal – Arsenal take the lead as Ozil feeds Cazorla who rifles home.
54’ – GOAL: Southampton 2-2 Arsenal – Rodriguez gets away from sagna and crosses in for Lallana to equalise
64’ – OZIL GOES CLOSE - His shot is deflected just over the bar from Fonte.
86’ – GOOD SAVE SZCZESNY - Shaw’s cross loops off Sagna and the keeper tips it over the bar
87’ - ANOTHER GOOD SAVE - This time Fonte forces the save with a side foot that is creeping in.
Southampton halt Arsenal’s run of five straight wins
Jose Fonte scores his fourth goal of the season
Olivier Giroud has now scored in each of Arsenal’s last three PL away matches
Santi Cazorla scored his first away goal since Arsenal’s 1-0 PL win at Sunderland in February 2013.
Southampton have still not beaten Arsenal since November 2002
Flamini’s red mist could cost Arsenal. His late two-footed lunge means he’ll miss three games in a crucial period for Arsenal and Wenger will need Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere back as soon as possible.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Jay Rodriguez (Southampton): A close toss-up between him and Adam Lallana. Terrorised the Arsenal defence with his buccaneering runs and got balls into the box with alarming regularity.
Southampton: Boruc 6, Chambers 6, Fonte 7, Yoshida 6, Shaw 6, Cork 6, Schneiderlin 7, S. Davis 6, Lallana 7, Rodriguez 8, Gallagher 6. Subs: Ward-Prowse 6, Guly 6.
Arsenal: Szczesny 7, Sagna 6, Mertesacker 6, Koscielny 6, Monreal 6, Arteta 5, Flamini 4, Ozil 7, Cazorla 7, Gnabry 6, Giroud 6. Subs: Gibbs 6, Oxlade-Chamberlain 6, Podolski 6.
MATCH IN A TWEET
- Sports & Recreation
- Adam Lallana
- Jose Fonte
- Mathieu Flamini
- Olivier Giroud
- Santi Cazorla
- Sam Gallagher