Saints denied by last-gasp Arsenal

By SFC Media Sat 23 Nov Arsenal v Saints
Photo by Matt Watson
Sat 23 Nov 3PM
Premier League
Arsenal
2
Southampton
2
Lacazette [18' 90+6']
Ings [8'] Ward-Prowse [71']
Torreira (23') Sokratis (28') Lacazette (45+2') Pépé (65') Tierney (69') Guendouzi (89')
Ings (31') Bertrand (81')
Referee: Stuart Attwell | Venue: Emirates Stadium | Attendance: 60,295

Southampton suffered late heartbreak away to Arsenal, as Alexandre Lacazette's goal deep into added time denied them a first Premier League win at Emirates Stadium.

Goals from Danny Ings and James Ward-Prowse, who was making his 250th appearance for the club, looked set to end a painful run of seven matches without a win, but Lacazette netted his second of the game in the fifth additional minute to deny Saints what would have been a richly-deserved three points.

The visitors had the better of much of the game, creating far more chances than their opponents, but they were left to rue a host of missed late opportunities that would have put the game to bed.

Still, when the dust settles, there will be positives to take for manager Ralph Hasenhüttl, as he and his side now embark on a crucial five-game run through to Christmas that sees them play many of the teams immediately around them in the table.

Hasenhüttl made three changes to his line-up from the 2-1 defeat to Everton, with Michael Obafemi starting his first Premier League game of the season – and his first since December last year – while left-back Ryan Bertrand returned from suspension and captain Pierre-Emile Højbjerg was reinstated following a concussion that kept him out of the previous match.

It was a tremendous start to the game from Saints, who came close to scoring within 30 seconds. Pressing Arsenal high up the pitch, Stuart Armstrong won the ball off Kieran Tierney deep in the hosts’ territory, before flashing a shot just wide of the far post from the edge of the box, with Bernd Leno at full stretch.

Still, Hasenhüttl’s men didn’t have to wait long before getting the opener that their early efforts merited.

The breakthrough came in the eighth minute via Ings, with his seventh goal in eight games, but it owed much to the quick-thinking of Bertrand.

It was the left-back who sent him through one-on-one with a quickly-taken free-kick, after Nathan Redmond had been fouled out on the left wing, midway inside the Arsenal half. Ings rarely passes up such opportunities, and he made no mistake here, striking a crisp low shot past Leno and in off the near post.

Danny Ings celebrates his seventh goal in eight games for Saints (Photo: Matt Watson)

Having gained an early lead, there was no apparent desire from Saints to simply sit back and protect it. Instead, the visitors were quickly on the offensive again, in search of a second.

It almost came in the 14th minute, as Obafemi was released down the right, before picking out Ings on the edge of the area with a cutback. The striker took the bouncing ball first-time, looping a shot over Leno, only for it to fly just over.

Ward-Prowse then tested Leno with a shot from distance moments later, but, just when it looked like Saints might be on course to double their lead, Arsenal struck back.

Tierney’s cross from the left found an unmarked Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the centre and, although his shot was blocked by Bertrand, the rebound spun kindly to Lacazette, who swept home.

The game picked up an edge after that, with a series of yellow cards exchanged – Lucas Torreira, Sokratis and Lacazette himself being cautioned for the hosts, while Ings went into the book for Saints.

Højbjerg also threatened to restore the advantage for Hasenhüttl’s side in among all that, bouncing a header at the back post into the side netting from a Ward-Prowse corner.

Michael Obafemi in his first Premier League start in almost a year (Photo: Matt Watson)

But there was nothing between them as the half-time whistle blew, although it was Saints who probably would have felt least satisfied with the 1-1 score at that point, given how much trouble they had caused Arsenal.

They continued to give the hosts a headache in the early stages of the second half too.

With just over a minute of it gone, Ings broke forward and played the ball to Obafemi, who was in support to his right. The youngster drove into the box and cut inside, where he was met by the challenge of a back-tracking Torreira, who almost put the ball past his own keeper, with Leno diving low to his left to tip the ball round the post.

At the other end, Alex McCarthy produced a fine save from Aubameyang, diverting his close-range effort wide, after a Cédric clearance had cannoned off Lacazette and dropped to him just outside the corner of the six-yard box.

The game was becoming end-to-end now, with Jan Bednarek making a brilliant intervention to deny a threatening Arsenal breakaway, before Redmond saw a dipping effort from 25 yards tipped over by Leno. Nicolas Pépé, on as a half-time substitute then completed a frantic opening ten minutes of the second half when he bounced a shot against the crossbar following a cross from Tierney.

Saints then worked a glorious opportunity on 66 minutes to retake the lead, as Cédric pressed brilliantly in the Arsenal area, winning the ball off Sokratis deep in the box. As he looked up, Obafemi was stood all alone, a few yards from him, in the centre, but his square pass had too much on it and was just out of reach for the young striker, as a wonderful chance slipped away.

James Ward-Prowse celebrates putting Saints 2-1 ahead (Photo: Matt Watson)

It wasn’t long until another one came along, though, as Saints won a penalty with 20 minutes left.

It came via a brilliant move involving Bertrand and Obafemi, ending with the latter slipping a pass through for Ings, who was tugged down by Tierney. A lengthy VAR check ensued, as it was determined whether Ings had ben offside or not, but it went in Saints’ favour, allowing Ward-Prowse the opportunity to cap his 250th appearance for the club with a goal.

The midfielder is normally as reliable as it gets from 12 yards, although on this occasion his low effort was saved by Leno. Fortunately, though, the ball rebounded straight back to the midfielder and he stroked home with his left foot to put Saints back in front.

Hasenhüttl then made his first change, as he withdrew Ings in favour of Shane Long, before quickly making another, as Moussa Djenepo was sent on for Obafemi.

With less than ten minutes left, Armstrong almost settled it, only for his low drive from 25 yards to whistle agonisingly wide of the post. The midfielder was then taken off, with Sofiane Boufal sent on.

With three minutes left, Saints really should have sealed it, as Redmond broke into the area and laid the ball off to Djenepo, but, although his low shot beat Leno, Arsenal sub Joe Willock was somehow in the right place to block it.

As the game wore into seven minutes of added time – an announcement met by plenty of groans from the away section – Boufal was denied by a fine Tierney block after Long's cutback had found him in a good position.

Djenepo then missed an even better chance from a Boufal cutback, firing wide from a brilliant position in the third minute of added time, as Saints missed another golden chance to put the game to bed.

They were made to pay for it as, five minutes into the additional time, Lacazette was picked out by Gabriel Martinelli's cross, and he controlled and prodded home at the back post to leave Saints with only a point and a broken heart.

Arsenal

Head to Head Stats

Southampton
  • Possession (%)
    61
    39
  • Shots
    12
    21
  • Shots on target
    5
    6
  • Corners
    6
    8
  • Passes Complete
    404
    235

Arsenal

1
Bernd Leno (GK)
23
David Luiz
21
Calum Chambers
Nicolas Pépé (45′)
5
Sokratis
11
Lucas Torreira
Joe Willock (83′)
29
Matteo Guendouzi
2
Héctor Bellerín
Gabriel Martinelli (83′)
3
Kieran Tierney
14
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (C)
9
Alexandre Lacazette
10
Mesut Özil
20
Shkodran Mustafi
19
Nicolas Pépé
15
Ainsley Maitland-Niles
35
Gabriel Martinelli
24
Reiss Nelson
26
Emiliano Martínez
28
Joe Willock

Southampton

1
Alex McCarthy (GK)
35
Jan Bednarek
2
Cédric Soares
21
Ryan Bertrand
5
Jack Stephens
23
Pierre-Emile Højbjerg (C)
16
James Ward-Prowse
22
Nathan Redmond
17
Stuart Armstrong
Sofiane Boufal (86′)
9
Danny Ings
Shane Long (73′)
20
Michael Obafemi
Moussa Djenepo (76′)
43
Yan Valery
12
Moussa Djenepo
3
Maya Yoshida
14
Oriol Romeu
7
Shane Long
28
Angus Gunn
19
Sofiane Boufal
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