MX23RW : Friday, September 17 07:23:56| >> :120:31102:31102:
Jan 1, 2013 at 5.30pm UK at St Mary's Stadium
Ramirez (35')
FT(HT: 1-1)
Do Prado (41' og.)

Live Commentary: Southampton 1-1 Arsenal - as it happened

Sports Mole brings you live text coverage as Arsenal travel to the St Mary's Stadium to take on Southampton.

A lot of the talk heading into this encounter surrounded the return of Arsenal's Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to Southampton for the first time since they left the club.

However, neither England international was able to shine as the two sides played out a 1-1 draw at St Mary's.

You can find out how the match unfolded with our minute-by-minute updates below.

Evening all. Well, we've hardly got time to draw breath here. The 3pm matches have only just finished and now Southampton are about to play host to Arsenal. Not a bad way to spend New Year's Day is it?!

Before we get into all the facts, figures and pre-match talk - the teams news has been released...

ARSENAL XI: Szczesny; Sagna, Vermaelen, Koscielny, Gibbs; Arteta, Wilshere, Oxlade-Chamberlain; Cazorla, Podolski, Walcott

Well, there are very few surprises in that Arsenal lineup. Obviously the big talking point is the fact that both Walcott and Oxlade-Chamberlain have been included against their former employers. With the way that Walcott has been performing in recent weeks, you wouldn't bet against him haunting his old club tonight.

SOUTHAMPTON XI: Boruc; Cork, Fonte, Yoshida, Shaw; Puncheon, Schneiderlin, S. Davis, Guly, Ramirez; Lambert

So, where to start with that Southampton team? Well, first up Kelvin Davis has been dropped to the bench meaning that Artur Boruc will play in goal. Gaston Ramirez also plays, as does full-back Luke Shaw, who has been tipped to join Arsenal during this month's transfer window.

Although Oxlade-Chamberlain will be making his first outing at St Mary's in an Arsenal shirt, a lot of the talk leading into this match has been about another former Saint - Walcott. It's understandable as well. He's scored 10 goals in his last 10 games, pretty much proving to everybody that doubted him that he can play as a main striker in the process.

And here is a rather fresh-faced Walcott wearing the stripes of Southampton:

"It's going to be difficult and we are probably playing Arsenal at the worst possible time," Southampton legend Matt Le Tissier has just told Sky Sports Time. He has a point - the Gunners have won their last four matches on the bounce.

In contrast, the Saints have won just one of their last six encounters in the Premier League. That run has also included two defeats. As a result, Nigel Adkins's team find themselves in the relegation zone at the start of play. However, a victory tonight would lift them above Newcastle United and into 15th place.

Whatever happens tonight though, Southampton fans will be hoping that there is not a repeat of what occurred during the meeting between these two teams earlier in the season. Arsenal were unbeaten at the time and thrashed the Saints 6-1.

Right, the players are out and the handshakes are done. There's a great atmosphere inside the ground tonight. The Southampton fans are really up for it - they've missed occasions like this.

Arsenal, kicking from left to right, get this match off and running...

It's been a positive start by Arsenal, who are zipping the ball around on a playing surface that looks in very good condition for this time of year. Southampton have yet to have any real possession of the ball.

CHANCE! First real of note goes to Arsenal as Santi Cazorla tries his luck from 30 yards out. The ball deflects off of Fonte and worries Boruc in the Southampton goal, but it skids just wide of the target.

Boruc has had a couple of nervy moments already in goal. Twice now he has dropped the ball when under very little pressure. It looks as though he is trying to claim a bar of soap!

PENALTY APPEAL! Southampton want a penalty as Japanese defender Yoshida takes a tumble inside the Arsenal area. Replays show that they have a case as well because Thomas Vermaelen played very little of the ball when making a challenge. Referee Lee Probert was not interested though.

You can see why the likes of Arsenal would be interested in Luke Shaw. He's only 17 and already in this match he has made a couple of crucial interceptions, as well as getting forward well to support his teammates. Looks to have a bright future ahead of him, whoever he plays for.

You can see why the likes of Arsenal would be interested in Luke Shaw. He's only 17 and already in this match he has made a couple of crucial interceptions, as well as getting forward well to support his teammates. Looks to have a bright future ahead of him, whoever he plays for.

Credit to Southampton because they've really come into this match following Arsenal's quick start. They are now keeping the ball well and are looking to get forward whenever possible. It will be a big shock if this stays 0-0.

The home team will also be pleased with the fact that their two former players - Oxlade-Chamberlain and Walcott - have had very little involvement so far. Of course that can all change in a matter of seconds, but for now they are being well marshalled by the Southampton defence.

It's all gone a bit scrappy if the truth be told. You'd have to say Southampton are on top, but they are struggling to carve out a major goalscoring opportunity. Meanwhile, Arsenal are being uncharacteristically wasteful with a number of passes going astray.

This from Mark Bright on BBC Radio Five Live sums up Walcott's match so far:

"Theo Walcott has not had a kick yet against Southampton but he has shown his intent by making some good runs. His Arsenal teammates, however, have not been able to pick him out."

GOAL! Southampton 1-0 Arsenal (Ramirez)

It's a game that suits this match so far - a real mess! Arsenal have at least three chances to clear the danger, but take none of them. An advancing Gaston Ramirez then takes full advantage by firing the ball into the bottom right-hand corner of the net from the edge of the area. We haven't seen enough of that from Southampton's record signing this season.

Arsenal are finding it very difficult to get in behind the Southampton defence. As a result, they are going wide quite often and the Gunners are not exactly known for their prowess in the air, are they?!

GOAL! Southampton 1-1 Arsenal (Do Prado, OG)

It seems that Guly do Prado is still in giving mood - it is the Christmas period after all! Walcott sent over a free kick from wide on the left that a stretching Do Prado only succeeded in turning into his own net. The Brazilian has not scored for Southampton since January, but he now has a goal against them!

DISALLOWED GOAL! Walcott has the ball in the net following a through-ball by Cazorla, but the England international is correctly flagged offside. It was a good line from the Southampton rearguard.

HALF-TIME: Southampton 1-1 Arsenal

Well that wasn't the best half of Premier League football you will ever see. Southampton have battled hard and deserve to be level. Having said that, they would have been in front had Do Prado not sent the ball into his own net.

What will be a cause for concern to Southampton at the break is the fact that they have dropped 17 points from winning situations this season. Had they held on to those leads, they would comfortably be in the top half of the division.

From an Arsenal point of view, the first and last five minutes of the half were very good. They put Southampton under pressure and created a couple of openings. The 35 minutes in the middle were not so pretty. To be honest, they've struggled to get their usual passing game flowing.

Having seen replays of the Southampton goal - you wouldn't want to be Bacary Sagna inside that Arsenal dressing room at the moment. All he had to do was clear the danger, but with his weaker left foot, he failed to get the ball out of the box and was punished by Ramirez. Awful defending!

Here's a bit more from Opta on Southampton's failure to hold on to winning positions:

"17 - Only Reading (20) have dropped more points from winning positions than Southampton this season in the top flight. Gifts."

Back to the action as Southampton get this fixture restarted...

It's a positive start from Southampton, who created a half-chance courtesy of Rickie Lambert when he headed the ball dangerously across the face of the Arsenal goal. Unfortunately for the home team, nobody was on the striker's wavelength and the opportunity disappeared.

Every time a player has gone down injured this evening, he has been met by chants of 'Bale, Bale, Bale' in reference to the Tottenham Hotspur winger, who has earned himself a reputation recently as a diver. He's also a former Southampton academy graduate.

SAVE! Do Prado goes about trying to atone for his earlier error by firing at the Arsenal goal from 20 yards out. However, Szczesny gets across his line to tip the ball around the post. Then, from the resultant corner the Arsenal goalkeeper reacts quickly to prevent Sagna from scoring an own goal.

SUBSTITUTION: A disappointing Lukas Podolski has been replaced by Olivier Giroud. That is likely to mean that Walcott will be pushed out to the right wing in order to accommodate the French international.

Almost for Southampton as Szczesny flaps at a cross. Lambert is ready to pounce but the ball bounces awkwardly for the striker and the chance comes to nothing.

SUBSTITUTION: The first yellow card of the evening goes to Morgan Schneiderlin for a blatant foul on Cazorla. He can have no complaints with that.

CHANCE! Jason Puncheon has been very quiet so far but just now he had an effort from a narrow angle that struck the side netting. Had the chance arrived at his stronger left foot, it could have been a different outcome.

CHANCE! At last Arsenal have had a shot at goal in this half! Giroud picks out Walcott, who is just onside, to the right of the penalty area. The attacker took one touch before drilling the ball straight at a waiting Boruc. The way that he has been playing, you'd have backed Walcott to score there.

DISALLOWED GOAL! A bit of confusion here as Ramirez turns the ball into the Arsenal net for a second time from close range. It's immediately disallowed, although it is unclear why. He was clearly onside, so it may have been given for a foul on Koscielny. If that is the case, it's a harsh decision and the Uruguayan is not happy.

SUBSTITUTION: Having put in a big shift, Lambert is replaced by the sprightly Jay Rodriguez. Arsenal have also made a double switch as Aaron Ramsey and Gervinho replace Cazorla and Ox-Chamberlain. That's all three subs made by the Gunners.

SUBSTITUTION: Another change for the Saints as the young James Ward-Prowse comes on in place of goalscorer Ramires.

They may still win this match but Arsenal have been very disappointing today. Part of that is down to Southampton, because they have defended very well but there can be no denying that the Gunners have been wasteful.

SUBSTITUTION: Final change for Southampton as Arsenal goalscorer Do Prado is replaced by Dutchman Steve de Ridder.

CHANCE! The first real sight of Gervinho since he came on ends with the Ivorian cutting in from the left, before dragging his shot towards the near post into the side netting. That's a bit more positive from Arsenal.

BOOKING! It didn't take De Ridder too long to get involved did it? He's been cautioned for pulling down Sagna as he raided down the Arsenal right wing.

SAVE! A big opportunity goes a begging for Southampton. Puncheon found himself with time and space inside the area but once again the ball drops to his right foot. His shot is powerful, but it was at a good height for Szczesny, who managed to push the ball to safety.

It's Arsenal's turn to attack as Kieran Gibbs finds himself all alone to left of Southampton's area. He arguably should have shot but opted to cross the ball instead and Fonte slid in to clear. Why couldn't the entire match have been like this?!

Three minutes of stoppage time to be played...

FULL TIME: Southampton 1-1 Arsenal

Well you would have to say that a point is just about fair. Southampton were arguably the better of the two teams, but they didn't create enough clear cut chances to say that they deserved to win the match. Adkins is bound to be proud of his players, who have lifted themselves out of the relegation zone with this result. In contrast, Wenger looked extremely disgruntled at the final whistle. He would have expected his team to win this one.

That's all we have time for from St Mary's but be sure to be on the look out for our analysis, which will be coming your way very shortly. Thanks for joining us this evening and throughout the day on Sports Mole.

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Southampton manager Nigel Adkins
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