Lallana pegs back Gunners in title race as Wenger also loses Flamini for THREE matches after red
For Mathieu Flamini it was a moment of madness: he showed his studs and will serve a three-match ban. What a chump.
The consequence of this reckless challenge, when he launched himself two-footed at Morgan Schneiderlin ten minutes from time, will hit Arsenal hard.
They will be without him for Barclays Premier League fixtures against Crystal Palace, Manchester United and Liverpool.
Marching orders: Arsenal’s Mathieu Flamini, in yellow, is given a red card by referee Lee Mason
Yellow peril: Arsenal midfielder Santi Cazorla, centre, celebrates scoring his side’s second against Southampton
French connection: Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud celebrates scoring the equaliser against Southampton
Southampton: Boruc 5, Chambers 6, Fonte 7, Yoshida 5, Shaw 7, Cork 5, Schneiderlin 5, S. Davis 5 (Do Prado 90), Lallana 7, Rodriguez 6, Gallagher 6 (Ward-Prowse 70, 6). Unused subs: Kelvin Davis, Clyne, Wanyama, Hooiveld, Isgrove.
Goals: Fonte 21, Lallana 54.
Booked: Rodriguez, Ward-Prowse.
Manager: Mauricio Pochettino 7
Arsenal: Szczesny 5, Sagna 6, Mertesacker 5, Koscielny 5, Monreal 4, Arteta 5, Flamini 3, Ozil 6, Cazorla 7 (Gibbs 86), Gnabry 5 (Oxlade-Chamberlain 70, 7), Giroud 7 (Podolski 90). Unused subs:Vermaelen, Fabianski, Bendtner, Jenkinson, Gibbs.
Goals: Giroud 48, Cazorla 52.
Sent off: Flamini.
Manager: Arsene Wenger 5
Referee: Lee Mason (Lancashire) 7
Man of the match: Adam Lallana
To launch yourself at a fellow professional in the modern era is disrespectful and dangerous.
When you play for a team chasing their first title since 2004, it is also rank stupidity.
Sadly, it also means Southampton’s outstanding performance in front of 30,000 supporters at St Mary’s, is of secondary importance. More on them in a moment.
Instead it felt as though Arsenal’s season could be shaped by Flamini’s dismissal and the circumstances surrounding their mysterious display.
The advantage has swung the way of their title rivals after this result and Manuel Pellegrini’s team will go top if they beat Tottenham on Wednesday evening at White Hart Lane. Chelsea are also waiting in the wings.
Southampton played this game at full throttle, taking the lead when Jose Fonte converted Luke Shaw’s teasing left wing cross.
To Arsenal’s credit they recovered from a dreadful first half to level through Olivier Giroud and then went ahead with a delicious strike from Santi Cazorla.
Adam Lallana, who popped up in pockets all over pitch, scored Southampton’s equaliser. It was the least they deserved.
To watch Arsenal panic as they did in the first half and for much of the second, when they were unable to put their foot on the ball, was extraordinary.
Pochettino’s team were full of exuberance, feeding off the raw, rampant enthusiasm of Sam
I will take that: Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny wins the ball off Southampton’s Jay Rodriguez
Showing no fear: Southampton’s Sam Gallagher was excellent against Arsenal in his first Premier League start
Watching on: Southampton manage Mauricio Pochettino runs to the aid of his injured left-back Luke Shaw during the Arsenal match
GAMES FLAMINI WILL MISS
February 2: Crystal Palace (h)
February 8: Liverpool (a)
February 12: Manchester United (h)
At the age of just 18 he has the makings of a proper player, making life hell for Per Mertesacker and Laurent Koscienlny. The kid didn’t give them a minute’s rest.
Wenger’s team were untidy, unable to work out what was needed to break down Southampton. Pochettini’s team were in formidable mood.
Arsenal were sluggish and sloppy, careless in possession as Southampton built up a head of steam during an uplifting first half.
Gallagher’s early strike drew a save from Wojciech Szczesny, flying to his right to tip the ball away for a corner. Game on.
Schneiderlin wasted a volley that sat up nicely on the edge of the area before Southampton took the initiative with their 21st minute lead.
Opening strike: Southampton’s Jose Fonte, left, scores the first goal of the match against Arsenal at St Mary’s
Shaw put in the hard yards, buying some time and space down the left before his cross was met by the head of Fonte at the far post.
That was one and it could have been two when Gallagher’s effort inside the six yard box hit Szcesny’s post. He deserved a goal.
To play as he did, against a team with the best defensive record in the Premier League, is something special.
Making his mark: Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil keeps a close eye on Southampton’s Calum Chambers
Gallagher, pinched from Plymouth’s youth team two years ago, was picked to play against Arsenal because Rickie Lambert’s hamstring injury ruled him out.
He inspired Southampton’s opening charge, linking brilliantly with Adam Lallana, Jay Rodriguez and the lung-busting runs of Calum Chambers down the right.
On the touchline Wenger was constantly checking with the fourth official towards the end of the first half to get his team back down that tunnel. They were dreadful.
Arsenal barely got a look-in in the first half, swept off the pitch as Jack Cork, another player having the game of his life, outran everything.
At the break Arsenal’s manager tweaked his system, encouraging his team to be more adventurous whenever they were in possession. It worked.
Tough night: Wenger reacts during his team’s 2-2 draw with Southampton
Within minutes of the restart they were level when Bacary Sagna, in an advanced possession for the first time in the game, poked the ball into Giroud’s path.
The Arsenal forward improvised, turning Sagna’s ball beyond Artur Boruc for the equaliser. It was a special strike.
Southampton were stunned, conceding again when Cazorla’s sweetly struck effort on the edge of the area beat the Polish goalkeeper.
It was a remarkable turnaround for Arsenal, but Southampton responded with an equaliser of their own after 54 minutes.
Start of Saints’ march: Fonte enjoys opening the scoring against Arsenal
Lallana read Jay Rodriguez’s cut back and steered Southampton’s equaliser beyond Szczesny. It was a stunning response.
Arsenal poured forward for the winner and Boruc looked beaten when Cazorla’s chip was somehow deflected on to the top of the crossbar.
Szczesny rescued Arsenal again when he tipped Fonte’s effort around the post three minutes from time. It was another escape.
Flamini, who will start his ban on Sunday against Palace, was nowhere near as lucky.
Source : Daily Mail