Austin nets again in Arsenal stalemate

By SFC Media Sun 10 Dec Saints v Arsenal
Photo by Matt Watson | Charlie Austin
Sun 10 Dec 12PM
Premier League
Southampton
1
Arsenal
1
Austin [3']
Giroud [88']
Stephens (82') Romeu (84')
Bellerín (78') Wilshere (90')
Referee: Robert Madley | Venue: St Mary's Stadium | Attendance: 31,643

Charlie Austin’s fourth goal in as many games earned Saints a hard-earned share of the spoils with Arsenal at St Mary’s on Sunday lunchtime.

The in-form frontman’s third-minute strike looked to have earned his side all three points – of which they would have been very deserving – only for substitute Olivier Giroud to turn home Alexis Sanchez’s cross late on.

Four changes were made to the side held by Bournemouth the previous week with Jack Stephens, Pierre-Emile Højbjerg, James Ward-Prowse and Nathan Redmond all returning.

The switch handed the creative reins to Dušan Tadić, with the Serb pushed further up the field in behind Austin and the pair’s connection in the early minutes set the tone for a promising first-half showing.

And it quickly paid dividends after just three minutes following the game’s opening goal.

Tadić’s clever reverse pass sent Austin in behind Per Mertesacker to take a touch and lift the ball over the onrushing Petr Čech on the half-volley for his eighth goal in 11 Premier League starts.

Such was their early dominance, the hosts may have been 3-0 up inside seven minutes. Another Tadić pass sent Austin through again moments later, a low shot this time finding the gloves of Čech.

With the Gunners defence reeling, a third effort on the slide at the near post from Redmond’s low centre bounced off the upright, albeit with the offside flag raised.

Early attacking menace was followed by prolonged defensive resilience from Pellegrino’s men.

Interceptions from Redmond and the combative Højbjerg – a superb goal-saving tackle on the slide on Alexandre Lacazette - brought roars of approval from the home crowd as Saints rode the Arsenal response throughout the first half.

Austin and Redmond celebrate the game's opening goal

An excellent save from Fraser Forster, low and to his left, prevented Aaron Ramsey’s shot from levelling the scores on the half-hour mark at the end of a sustained spell of pressure on the well-drilled home defence.

Nathan Redmond and Ward-Prowse threatened to extend the home advantage on the counter attack from Austin passes as Saints went into the interval deservedly a goal to the good.

The second period began in much the same vein with Arsenal firmly in control of territory and possession.

A slick passing move required Stephens and Ward-Prowse to converge on Sead Kolasnic to prevent the Bosnian from picking out Lacazette in the middle immediately after the interval but again it was Saints who continued to pose the greater threat on the break.

After braving spells with almost of the away side’s players camped around their box, Southampton tested the nerves of Čech on three occasions before the midway point of the half.

The best of Saints was now coming down the unguarded Arsenal right as Redmond drove inside to shoot straight at the keeper from distance, Romeu rattled the crossbar and the influential Bertrand chipped wide with the goal at his mercy.

Wenger reacted by introducing Danny Welbeck, Jack Wilshere and Olivier Giroud in quick succession as the Gunners prepared a final assault in the closing 15 minutes.

With blue shirts swamping the Southampton half once more, the Frenchman was soon rewarded with an equaliser four minutes from time.

The ball was worked left to Sanchez whose delicately delivered cross was glanced into the far corner by Giroud.

One point for Saints but it so easily could have been three.

Today's match sponsor: Virgin Media
Southampton

Head to Head Stats

Arsenal
  • Possession (%)
    33
    67
  • Shots
    6
    11
  • Shots on target
    3
    6
  • Corners
    4
    5
  • Passes Complete
    296
    664

Southampton

44
Fraser Forster (GK)
21
Ryan Bertrand
3
Maya Yoshida (C)
5
Jack Stephens
17
Virgil van Dijk
23
Pierre-Emile Højbjerg
11
Dusan Tadic
Steven Davis (88′)
14
Oriol Romeu
22
Nathan Redmond
Sofiane Boufal (74′)
16
James Ward-Prowse
10
Charlie Austin
Manolo Gabbiadini (86′)
19
Sofiane Boufal
18
Mario Lemina
8
Steven Davis
6
Wesley Hoedt
26
Jérémy Pied
13
Alex McCarthy
20
Manolo Gabbiadini

Arsenal

33
Petr Cech (GK)
4
Per Mertesacker (C)
Danny Welbeck (64′)
18
Nacho Monreal
6
Laurent Koscielny
31
Sead Kolasinac
8
Aaron Ramsey
29
Granit Xhaka
Jack Wilshere (69′)
24
Héctor Bellerín
7
Alexis Sánchez
11
Mesut Özil
9
Alexandre Lacazette
Olivier Giroud (72′)
17
Alex Iwobi
30
Ainsley Maitland-Niles
12
Olivier Giroud
13
David Ospina
23
Danny Welbeck
10
Jack Wilshere
34
Francis Coquelin
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