Live Commentary: Southampton 2-2 Arsenal - as it happened
Sports Mole brings you live Premier League action where Southampton entertain Arsenal at St Mary's.
By Matt Cotton, Reporter Filed: Tuesday, January 28, 2014 at 18:44 UK
Last Updated: Wednesday, January 29, 2014 at 09:01 UK
Arsenal travelled to Southampton in the Premier League on Tuesday night with the chance to extend their lead at the top of the table.
The Gunners could move four points ahead of second-placed Manchester City should they taste victory at St Mary's, while the Saints looked to try to rediscover their good early season form following a recent slump.
In an entertaining game, both sides were forced to settle for a point.
Read how the match unfolded in the live commentary below.
6.45pmGood evening and welcome to Sports Mole's live coverage of Premier League action.
6.46pmTonight, our attention is on the South Coast, where the fantastic St Mary's stadium sees local residents Southampton play host to the Premier League leaders Arsenal.
6.49pmThis match pits two teams that have their similarities: attractive style of football, strong youth development regime, relatively new stadiums and, perhaps most importantly of all, they both play in red. But in all serious, it's not hard to see why both these clubs attract plaudits for the aforementioned reasons, but they do go into this game in rather different circumstances on the pitch.
6.51pmSouthampton had started the season in brilliant fashion, and were locked in the top four for a number of month before hitting somewhat of a downward spiral which, funnily enough, seemed to stem from a 2-0 defeat to Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium in November.
6.53pmThe defeat in North London was the starting point of a six-game winless run for the Saints, which saw Mauricio Pochettino's side seemingly slip out of contention for European qualification and plant them in the middle of the top tier. Southampton have managed to steady the ship this month, largely thanks to a run of three consecutive home wins, although two of those have been in the FA Cup against Championship duo Burnley and Yeovil; they face a different kettle of fish tonight.
6.56pmOn the other hand, Arsenal have an eighth successive victory in their sights. Arsene Wenger's men have won five games on the spin in the league, and also advanced to the fifth round of the FA Cup on the back of home wins over Tottenham and Coventry City this month.
6.57pmRecent consecutive away wins over West Ham United, Newcastle United and Aston Villa have contributed to a total of 25 points on the road this term, which is a tally that only rivals Tottenham can match. Arsenal currently boast 51 points from their league 22 games to sit one point ahead of Manchester City, who are not in action until Wednesday evening, meaning that they could move four points clear tonight.
6.59pmJust quickly, there are reports doing the round that this game could be slightly delayed due to horrendous traffic. Apparently the Arsenal team bus is being held up. Although as I finish typing this, the team news has hit me, so they must be here. Nevermind, let's bring you that news, starting with the hosts.
7.10pmThat means Arsenal's rock-solid centre-back pairing of Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscielny are untouched, and German midfielder duo Mesut Ozil and Serge Gnabry also start from the off once again.
7.11pmThe bad news for Arsenal is that it seems to be one in, one out in terms of injuries at the moment. Just as they get Arteta back off the treatment table, Jack Wilshere fails to make the squad tonight due to an ankle problem.
7.11pmRegardless, here is what Wenger has in reserve.
7.18pmSo no Wilshere for Arsenal, but Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain starts on the bench at his old stomping ground.
7.18pmSo those are your two squads. Kick off is 27 minutes away.
7.26pmSouthampton will really be hoping to have the pubic focussed on matters on the pitch tonight following a turbulent few weeks off it. It has been a strange month for the Saints, firstly with the departure of chief executive Nicola Cortese and, last week, Dani Osvaldo's training ground clash with Jose Fonte. Those issues certainly haven't helped matters on the field, with Saints having been on a difficult run of results too.
7.30pmOn the other side of things, Arsenal are really enjoying life at the moment. They've been top of the Premier League pretty much all season, despite intense pressure from Manchester City, Chelsea and, at times, Liverpool. They've also booked a home tie against Liverpool in the fifth round of the FA Cup following wins over Spurs and Coventry. However, Wenger has come under a bit more pressure in recent weeks with fans crying out for a new signing or two to strengthen the side ahead of a hectic February and March fixture list.
7.39pmWe're just minutes from kick off, and the players should be emerging from the tunnel any moment now.
7.43pmOut they come then at St Mary's, Southampton in their red home kit with white socks, Arsenal wearing their away strip of yellow shirts, blue shorts and striped socks.
1 minKICK OFF! Arsenal, playing from left to right, get the match underway.
2 minSouthampton with a lot of early possession, which is just being knocked into space, mainly inside their own half.
4 minSaints starting to press forward a bit now, and Arsenal have been made to put in a few defensive headers, including one from the striker Olivier Giroud.
7 minSaints are on top at the moment, and showing one or two attacking cameos. Shaw goes down the left and puts in a good cross to the near post. Mertesacker goes for it but misses the ball, which catches Gallagher by surprise, and he can't do anything with it.
8 minSAVE! Szczesny screams at his teammates after making a fine stop from a powerful Gallagher shot from just inside the box. Arsenal lost the ball inside their own area after taking too long to clear it, and they were lucky that Szczesny was alert. Arsenal just haven't settled yet.
10 minArsenal are really pedestrian at the moment, and Saints are not giving them any time on the ball. The Gunners need to wake up.
11 minRodriguez picks up the ball after Arsenal gave it away once more, and brings it to the byline on the left. Flamini is straight over with a sliding challenge, and Saints have a corner.
12 minCHANCE! Arsenal are let off the hook here, and it stems from Szczesny's poor punch from the corner. It falls to Schneiderlin on the edge of the box, but he slams the volley into the ground and it bounces wide.
15 minArsenal continue to give the ball away, and Saints continue to pressure them on the ball. The away fans chant "Come on Arsenal!", and you can understand why.
18 minSaints are enjoying the lion's share of possession at the moment, but they haven't tested the Arsenal goal enough yet.
21 minSaints take the lead, but it's shocking defending from Arsenal. Shaw swings a cross to the far post where Fonte rises above Monreal, who doesn't put up much of a challenge, and heads the ball past Szczesny at the near post. It's a deserved lead.
22 minWill that goal wake Arsenal up? It's like they're still stuck in traffic.
23 minBrilliant play from Lallana, who lets a throw from the right roll across his body before hitting a low shot with his left foot. Szczesny gets across and pushes it behind for a corner.
25 minLooking back at the goal, as poor as Arsenal's defending was, they may have a case for it being disallowed, as Fonte appeared to be all over the back of Monreal when he made the header.
30 minYELLOW CARD: Giroud is the first man into the book tonight for a foul that reeks of frustration on Chambers. Giroud has barely had a kick so far.
32 minSlight break in play as Adam Lallana is down on the deck injured. He looks as if he'll be ok.
34 minArsenal just cannot keep the ball, it's hard to explain what is going on with them.
36 minMISS! What a chance that was for Gallagher to make it 2-0. Cazorla's clearance from inside the box deflects off a Saints man and pings across the face of goal to Gallagher, who was central and just a few yards out. However, the striker gets it all wrong and puts it wide of the post off his shin.
38 minSzczesny is down receiving treatment following that tangle with Gallagher. What a huge let off that was for Arsenal.
40 minThis is as poor as I've seen Arsenal this season. Wenger will be desperate to get his players into the dressing room and fire up a rocket ahead of the second half.
42 minThe Gunners can maybe feel a little bit unlucky that they weren't given a penalty after Fonte kicked it against own hand, but they've not had an effort on goal yet.
42 minKoscielny puts in an outstanding sliding block from just a couple of yards out to deny a goalbound shot by Gallagher. That followed a lovely passing move by the Saints, who have had a few of those so far.
43 minArsenal are awarded a free kick out on the left, can they snatch an equaliser before the break?
44 minCazorla floats the delivery in, and Fonte heads it behind for a corner.
44 minSAVE! Boruc's had nothing to do so far tonight, but he's come to Southampton's rescue here. Ozil's delivery from the left is brilliant, Mertesacker gets a wonderful flick on at the front post, before Koscielny's sliding shot is stopped by Boruc.
8.34pmThe only saving grace for Arsenal is that surely they can't get any worse? Can they? They trail at the break thanks a Jose Fonte goal, but in truth it could be more.
8.34pmGallagher had a brilliant chance to double the lead for Saints, but it could easily be 1-1 at half time had Boruc not brilliantly saved from Koscielny.
8.47pmWe're not too far from the second half now, and it will be interesting to see if there will be any Arsenal changes.
8.48pmSaints are back out, and we're just awaiting the return of the Arsenal.
8.48pmAnd here they come. I wonder what Arsene Wenger has said to them at the break. Can't be too positive.
46 minKICK OFF! Saints, playing from left to right, gets the second half up and running.
48 minGOAL! Southampton 1-1 Arsenal (Olivier Giroud)
48 minWell that didn't take long did it? Arsenal respond just three minutes into the second half and it's a clever finish from Giroud. Monreal's cross ends up with Sagna on the right, who gets the better of Rodriguez, and fires a dangerous low cross into the box. Giroud manages to shrug off his marker and finish the ball on the turn in one movement, and Arsenal are level.
49 minHow will that affect the rest of the match? Saints were coasting until the break, but the league leaders have come out firing in this second half.
50 minArsenal are well on top now, and this is the first time in this match that we've seen several yellow shirts forward. Arsenal corner on the right.
51 minBoruc comes for the Ozil delivery and misses it the first time, but manages to claim Sagna's header back into the box.
52 minGOAL! Southampton 1-2 Arsenal (Santi Cazorla)
52 minWell if that isn't just football. Arsenal now lead through Cazorla. They hit Saints on the break and Ozil goes down the right of the box and passes the ball inside to Cazorla on the edge of the D, who shoots across the ball first time and sees it creep past Boruc and into the bottom left corner.
54 minGOAL! Southampton 2-2 Arsenal (Adam Lallana)
54 minWhat on earth is going on?! Now Saints are level as Arsenal fall asleep. Rodriguez gets the better of Sagna too easily down the left and pulls the pass back to Lallana who was arriving late in the box. He's unmarked, and plants the finish between the legs of Szczesny.
55 minSaints have been ahead, behind and now level already in this second half. It's been thoroughly entertaining stuff.
57 minThe games alive that's for sure. Saints in possession at the moment.
59 minCLOSE! Brilliant run down the left from Shaw as Saints hit Arsenal on the counter. His cross takes a deflection and creeps just wide. Saints corner.
60 minGiroud bravely takes a powerful Lallana cross to the face. Rather him than me. Saints have another corner, but Arsenal can clear.
64 minOFF THE BAR! So close to Arsenal going back ahead with a brilliant Ozil effort. The German turns on the gas and bursts past four Saints players, starting from inside his own half. He reaches the left corner of the box and hits a shot, that deflects off Fonte, loops over Boruc and comes back off the crossbar.
66 minClash of heads between Sagna and Shaw leaves both men down needing treatment. That looked nasty.
70 minSAINTS CHANGE: James Ward-Prowse replaces Sam Gallagher.
70 minARSENAL CHANGE: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain comes on against his former club, with Serge Gnabry making way.
72 minMISS! That was a defender's shot if I've ever seen one. Arteta picks out Monreal on the left of the Saints box, and you can just see that the left-back doesn't fancy this. He spurns it wide of the near post and into the crowd.
73 minArsenal are enjoying the more attacking play at the moment, but both these sides are so quick on the counter that it really is end-to-end stuff.
75 minArsenal appeal for handball as Ozil floats a free kick into the box. Nothing is given.
76 minSAVE! Wonderful vision from Lallana who picks out Rodriguez with a sublime ball. Szczesny comes racing off his line and makes a fine tackle to clear the danger. That was a risk that paid off for the goalkeeper there, he could have easily been second to that and been sent off, but he got it spot on.
78 minThe momentum is swinging back into the Saints' favour as they attack.
80 minRED CARD! Arsenal are down to 10 men as Flamini is sent off for a two-footed jump at Schneiderlin. He didn't touch the Saints' man, but it's dangerous play.
81 minCan Saints take advantage with their extra man? They've got less than 10 minutes to do so.
82 minCazorla is down in pain after a fair challenge from Chambers. I think it might be the fact that the Arsenal man seemed to land on his head is the reason why he is down.
86 minARSENAL CHANGE: Defensive alteration for Arsenal as Kieran Gibbs replaces Cazorla.
87 minSAVE! Szczesny makes another fine stop. Shaw's cross takes a deflection off Sagna and is heading towards the top corner, but the goalkeeper can bat it away.
88 minSAVE! Another stop from Szczesny. Ward-Prowse puts in a superb corner which is headed by Fonte, but Szczesny can make the save to his left.
89 minSAINTS CHANGE: Steve Davis makes way for Guly Do Prado.
90 minARSENAL CHANGE: Lukas Podolski is on for Olivier Giroud.
9.46pmWell that's that. Arsenal could find themselves second or third by the week having dropped these two points, but they deserved no more than the one due to a sterling performance from the Saints. Giroud and Cazorla had turned the game on its head after Fonte gave Saints a half-time lead, but Lallana's equaliser meant that both sides go away with a share of the spoils.
9.46pmThat's it from me, but stick around for my analysis piece shortly on Sports Mole.