Arsenal: Leno, Bellerin, Sokratis, Chambers, Luiz, Tierney, Torreira, Guendouzi, Ozil, Aubameyang, Lacazette
Subs: Martinez, Mustafi, Maitland-Niles, Willock, Nelson, Pepe, Martinelli
Arsenal had Alexandre Lacazette to thank after the Frenchman’s second goal of the game late in in second half injury time grabbed us a point in a 2-2 draw with Southampton at the Emirates today. In truth, it was a game we were fortunate to get anything from.
Unai Emery deployed a back three at home against the league’s bottom team, starting Hector Bellerin and Kieran Tierney together for the first time this season.
The under pressure visitors had the first attempt on goal inside the opening 60 seconds, Armstrong firing wide having caught Tierney on the ball. It was a warming because in the 8th minute, Southampton took the lead. Chambers committed a foul, the Arsenal players stopped, they took it quickly, Ings ran through on goal and finished in off the near post. 0-1.
The goalscorer had another pop a few minutes later, but pulled his shot over the bar after being set up by Obafemi, before Ward-Prowse had an effort saved.
It wasn’t looking great, but in the 18th minute we pulled level. Ozil worked it down the left to Tierney, his cross found Aubameyang unmarked in the middle, his shot was blocked, but Lacazette picked it up, turned and fired home the equaliser. 1-1.
Hojberg headed into the side netting from a corner, Torreira picked up a 23rd minute booking for a foul on Redmond to stop a Southampton break, Hojberg again had a go but shot wide, Sokratis picked up a yellow for dissent, and Ings also went into the book for a foul on Guendouzi.
It was a low quality game in which each side offered little in terms of attacking threat or control. Luiz headed well wide from a free kick, Lacazette got booked in first half injury time, and the teams went in level at the break.
Unai Emery made a change at the break, bringing on Nicolas Pepe for Calum Chambers and reverting to a back four. Leno had to save from Torreira’s good defensive work, while at the other end McCarthy made a superb save to deny Aubameyang from close range in the 50th minute.
Pepe had a chance to shoot or play in Ozil after a break, but his attempt to find the German was cut out, before Redmond forced Leno into a good save with a stinging drive. The Ivorian was involved again shortly afterwards, volleying a Tierney cross into the ground and off the crossbar as he looked for his first goal from open play for the Gunners.
It was better from Arsenal, but as the game went on frustration in the stands began to build. Pepe was booked in the 65th minute for a foul on Bertrand, and Southampton should have gone ahead a minute later. Sokratis got caught on the ball in our box, Cedric just had to square it Obafemi for a tap in but he chipped his cross and the young Irishman couldn’t get there. A huge escape.
It didn’t augur well though, and a few minutes later Southampton were awarded a penalty when Tierney fouled Ings. VAR checked for offside, but there was no changing the decision. Leno saved the initial penalty, but it squirmed back into the path of Ward-Prowse who was there to tuck home the rebound. 1-2.
Shane Long came on for Ings, Djenepo replaced Obafemi, and Arsenal struggled to get near their goal to find another equaliser. Armstrong shot not far wide, and with 7 minutes to go Emery brought on Joe Willock and Gabriel Martinelli for Bellerin and Torreira.
Ozil forced McCarthy into a fairly easy save, Willock got a header on target but the keeper was again equal to it. Boufal replaced Armstrong with five minutes to go, and only for Willock clearing off the line, it would have been game over. It was great defending by the youngster, but Arsenal had been cut wide open.
Due to various stoppages and time wasting, there were 7 minutes of additional time at the end of the game for Arsenal to salvage something. However, the visitors looked more like scoring with Tierney doing well to block a Boufal shot after we’d been sliced apart again at the back.
Djenepo somehow put it wide from 7 yards after Boufal tore us to ribbons again, but remarkably we got another equaliser. Martinelli did well down the left, crossed it, it fell for Lacazette who got his second of the game. 2-2. The celebrations from the players were as muted as you’d expect.
Even then Southampton had chances to score a winner, and all in all it was another dismal day, more points dropped and our season continues to go down the pan.
At this point it’s not even about Emery, it’s about a hierarchy that are letting this rot set in and the ire should be directed at them – not a manager who has already shown us he’s not up for the job.
Sort it out Raul, Edu, Josh and Vinai. This is your mess.