Arsenal salvage a point after Gabriel’s sending off

Arsenal ended their losing streak to earn a hard fought point against Southampton after being reduced to 10 men for the second successive game. Although both teams had chances to win the game at the end, Arsenal would have been the much happier side to earn a point from the encounter. Theo Walcott returned to haunt his former club and rub more salt into Arsenal’s wounds as the Gunners held on to avoid their fifth consecutive home defeat.

Mikel Arteta, who accepted the criticism for their poor form dropped Willian, Lacazette and Bellerin for Nicolas Pepe, Eddie Nketiah and Ainsley Maitland Niles. Arsenal dominated possession in the opening minutes without much effect on the final third. However, it was Southampton who opened the scoring through the former Arsenal man Theo Walcott, who raced through on goal to chip his effort over Leno. Arsenal couldn’t get a foothold on the game after Southampton’s opener as the Saints took control of the game and ensured they headed into the break with their lead.

Arsenal were on level terms within five minutes of the second half through their captain Aubameyang, who curled a shot into the bottom corner after Saka brilliantly danced his way past three Southampton defenders. Just when Arsenal looked prime to stage a comeback, things took a dreadful turn as Gabriel was sent off for his second booking after tugging back Walcott.

Southampton upped their intensity to take advantage of the numbers, and almost scored their second goal through Redmond, only to see the midfielder’s effort hit the upright. The Saints dominated possession after the sending off, but couldn’t create any chances, while Arsenal desperately tried to defend with everyone back. The Gunners could have won the game in the stoppage time, but Rob Holding’s header cannoned off the crossbar and both teams settled for a point each.

Speaking after the game, Mikel Arteta said “We didn’t have time to think, we adjusted two or three things to try and win the game. The boys came out like we did three days ago, we scored a really good goal, on top in the game, and again we shoot ourselves in the foot. When you cannot win it, you don’t lose it. Going again with 10 men and playing so long against a good side you have to take it. The boys defended with their lives and you have to take a point.”

Very disappointed with the red card because in that moment I was thinking to change the centre-back straight away – we didn’t even have time to do that. In the end, we got a point that considering the circumstances we have to accept.”

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