Olivier Giroud’s late headed goal snatches a point for Arsenal
Southampton and Arsenal drew 1-1 in their Premier League clash at St Mary’s this afternoon.
Olivier Giroud’s late goal in the 88th minute snatched a point for Arsenal.
They had trailed for most of the match to a Charlie Austin goal in the 3rd minute.
Southampton have now only lost one of their last seven home Premier League matches against Arsenal
The draw moves Southampton up to 10th position in the Premier League table, with 18 points from 16 matches.
The point takes Arsenal back into 5th position in the Premier League, with 29 points from 16 matches. They are one point above north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur.
Arsenal’s Premier League form away from the Emirates Stadium has been poor. They looked to be heading for a fifth away defeat of the season before Giroud’s late goal.
The Gunners tally of 11 league defeats in 2017 is their worst in a calendar year under Arsene Wenger and includes nine away losses.
Per Mertesacker came into Arsene Wener’s starting eleven in place of the injured Shkodran Mustafi.
After conceding two early goals to Manchester United the last thing that the Gunners wanted was to concede early again.
That’s of course exactly what happened, with Charlie Austin putting the home side ahead after just three minutes.
Again it was a goal that was of Arsenal’s own making.
Mertesacker played a loose pass out of defence straight to Austin, who played the ball into Dusan Tadic.
The Serb ran forward before playing a pass back into Austin’s path, with the striker clipping the ball past Petr Cech into the net.
It was the Austin’s fourth goal in his last three Premier League starts and his eighth in eleven starts in all competitions.
It could have got worse for Arsenal as the Saints pressed for an immediate second.
Cech did well to get down to his right to save an another Austin effort.
Cech then had to react quickly in the 29th minute to keep out a header from Ryan Bertrand that deflected off Granit Xhaka from going into the net.
At the other Fraser Forster keep out a low shot from Aaron Ramsey just after the half-hour mark, diving low to his left to deny Arsenal an equaliser.
Oriol Romeu nearly doubled Southampton’s lead in the 62nd minute, but his shot from 25 yards out hit the crossbar with Cech beaten.
Bertrand then nearly took advantage of Laurent Koscielny giving the ball away, but his effort on goal went narrowly wide.
With time running out Alexis Sanchez had a free kick punched away by Forster, as the match headed into its final five minutes.
Just when it seemed that Arsenal were going to suffer back-to-back Premier League defeats, substitute Giroud was on hand to rescue a point for Arsenal in the 88th minute.
Sanchez crossed from the left, with Giroud rising to head the ball past Forster’s dive and into the bottom corner of the net.
The goal draws Giroud level with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer for the most goals by a substitute in Premier League history.
Forster has now conceded six goals in his six Premier League matches against Arsenal.
The goal also denied Southampton back-to-back home league wins for the first time this year.
Both sides pressed for a late winner, but each had to settle for a point.
This is what Giroud had to say when speaking to BT Sport after the match.
“I always try to bring something for the team when I come on. Today we missed players in the box so I tried to bring it. It was a good cross. I tried to be at the right place at the right time. Since the beginning of the second half we were pushing. It is difficult to play here.
“The boss said we want to start and finish strong. At the beginning we were caught. Charlie did well. Fortunately for us we could come back and get a point.”
Next up for Arsenal is a Premier League London derby with West Ham United at the London Stadium on Wednesday.
Arsenal: Cech, Bellerin, Kolassinac, Monreal, Mertesacker (Welbeck), Koscielny, Xhaka (Wilshere), Sanchez, Ozil, Lacazette (Giroud)