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28 January 2014
• St. Mary's Stadium, Southampton, Hampshire
Referee: L. Mason
• Attendance: 31284
José Fonte 21'
A. Lallana 54'
O. Giroud 48'
Thank you for joining me tonight. I hope you enjoyed it. I certainly did! I think I need a lie down after that frantic second half! Take care and I hope to bring you some more action soon. I have been Hayden Gribble and you have been most welcome! Goodnight!
FULL TIME - SOUTHAMPTON 2-2 ARSENAL. The honours are even at the whistle as the Gunners finish with ten men on the pitch and their title credentials will be questioned after a lacklustre performance from the league leaders. For the Saints - however- they were fantastic from start to finish. Pochettino's charges kept their opponents contained for most of the game - apart from a crazy period in the second half that saw three goals in four minutes. Flamini deserved his late red card on what was a disappointing night for the North London side. What a match!
90' + 7'
Yellow Card Jay Rodriguez
90' + 6'
Yellow Card James Ward-Prowse
90' + 5'
CHANCE! Lallana looks for Rodriguez in the box, but the striker fluffs his shot and the ball rolls out to the right for Sagna to clear up.
90' + 4'
For Arsenal - however - they might see the point gained here as a good point. Apart from the first ten minutes of the second half, they have been second best. A frustrating evening for the travelling fans, that's for sure!
90' + 2'
If the home side are denied the points here, it will be a travesty. The organisation, creativity and passing has been superb from Pochettino's men.
There will be SIX (yes, SIX!) minutes of added on time!
ANOTHER TOP SAVE! The Polish stopper is earning his keep tonight as a precise corner from Ward-Prowse finds the waiting Fonte but his effort is tipped away. Can Southampton grab a late winner?
GOOD SAVE! What a chance for the Saints! Shaw's shot/cross takes a deflection off Sagna and it takes a flying dive from Szczesny to palm it away for a corner. The Gunners are under the kosch!
HANDBALL? The home side are crying for a penalty after Koscielny looks to have leaned into the ball. I've seen them given...
OUCH! Oh dear. Arsenal fans, look away now. Cazorla goes down in agony following a fifty-fifty challenge with Chambers. Can he continue?
Flamini is given his marching orders for going in two-footed on Schneiderlin. Straight red from the referee and it is the right decision. Arsenal are now down to ten men!
Red Card Mathieu Flamini
With just ten minutes to go plus stoppage time, this game is in a perfect balance. Who will emerge victorious?
PUNCH! Szczesny comes rushing off his line again to clear a cross from the right from Cork and the loose ball is picked up by Arteta, who looks to start a counter attack straight away.
ONE ON ONE! A fantastic pass from Lallana puts Rodriguez clean through but Szczesny comes rushing off his line and clears the danger.
STAT ATTACK: Before this game, the Gunners have the division's best defensive record, conceding 19 goals and keeping 10 clean sheets.
OH DEAR! Arteta uses the space to put Monreal clean through, but the left-back loses his finishing instincts and fires his shot well wide when it was easier to score. That was very poor!
The intensity of this game has settled but it still maintains the feeling of a cup tie. Is there another goal in this? If so, who will get it?
HIGH, WIDE AND NOT AT ALL PRETTY! Flamini goes for glory from 25 yards but finds the top of the stand instead of the top corner of the net.
OUCH! Both physio's come running onto the pitch as there is nasty clash of heads between Sagna and Shaw. Both players are okay to continue.
WOODWORK! Ozil goes into overdrive and takes the ball past four players before looping his shot onto the bar!
The resolve that the home side have shown to get back into this after two quick goals has been extraordinary. It's the yellow shirts of Arsenal who are defending their box as Lallana continues to orchestrate.
CHANCE! The Saints' supporters are on their feet as the home side counter attack. A cross-field ball finds Shaw who draws a good save from Szczesny who tips it wide.
STAT ATTACK: The Saints have conceded 20 goals in the last 11 league games, having let in just five goals in their opening 11 matches.
I'm shell shocked. What a fantastic few minutes of football. The fate of this game is now swinging like a pendulum. Game on!
Assist Jay Rodriguez
Goal Adam Lallana
GOAL! This is crazy! Now it's the Saints who draw level! Shaw plays a long ball forward to Rodriguez, who pulls the ball back to Lallana whose crisp finish flies past the stranded Szczesny. What a game we have here!
Assist Mesut Özil
Goal Santi Cazorla
GOAL! What a turnaround! Ozil ghosts past two players and lays the ball of to Cazorla who curls the ball into the bottom left corner fron 18 yards. The Gunners are ahead!
CHANCE! A corner from the right causes confusion in the Saints' box and Sagna loops a header toward goal but Boruc plucks it from the air.
Whatever Arsene Wenger said during the break, it's worked! The league leaders have roared out of the traps like lions here. A completely different team to the one we saw in the first half.
Assist Bacary Sagna
Goal Olivier Giroud
GOAL! It's all square now! Sagna controls a looping cross well on the edge of the box and puts a low ball into Giroud, who turns it past Boruc with a clever finish!
The Gunners get us back underway!
Both teams are coming back onto the pitch. What can Arsenal do to change things here?
HALFTIME - SOUTHAMPTON 1-0 ARSENAL. The Gunners have been all sixes and sevens as Jose Fonte's header separates the sides at the break. Mauricio Pochettino's men have been so impressive in the opening 45, containing the league leaders and stifling their creative players. Ozil, Cazorla and Arteta have had no room to move and the home side are rightly applauded off the pitch. What awaits us in the second half?
45' + 2'
I don't believe what I have just seen. The league leaders were building possession on the right-hand-side but they are hearded back like sheep by a tide of red and white striped shirts all the way back to Szczesny's box. Not a good day for Arsene Wenger's men so far!
There will be THREE minutes of added on time.
SAVE! We have nearly reached the halftime break and the visitors have a corner - their first meaningful attack of the game! The corner is whipped in to Koscielny, whose powerful header is turned away by Boruc.
SAVE! Davis dances in the box and finds Gallagher, whose low shot is palmed away by the diving Szczesny.
STAT ATTACK: Southampton have created seven chances to the Gunners none in this half so far!
CHANCE! Oh, Sam Gallagher, that was your big moment! A horrible clearance from Cazorla richochets to the youngster, who is unmarked on the edge of the six-yard-box but he puts it wide with the goal gaping. It was a big chance to make Arsenal really sweat!
Southamptons back four is put under pressure for the first time in this game as a dangerous cross from Monreal on the left is dealt with by Fonte.
The Saints fans are imploring that the players put the ball out of play as Lallana was left flat on his back by a poor tackle from Arteta. The England International finally receives treatment and is okay to continue.
The foul that led to that booking for Giroud was borne out of pure frustration and it was a pitiful challenge on Chambers. Not a good half for the Gunners, here.
Yellow Card Olivier Giroud
STAT ATTACK: Arsenal and Tottenham have the joint-best away record in the top flight, earning 25 points from 11 games.
We have had nearly half an hour of play and Arsenal have not had a single shot on goal yet. This is tame stuff from the North London side.
Gallagher is caught offside after being put through by a sublime ball by Lallana. Szczesny was charging out and that could have been a bad collision if the assistant referee had flagged a second later!
WIDE! Lallana nearly doubles the lead but his low shot from distance take a deflection off the diving Flamini and out for a corner!
Assist Luke Shaw
Goal José Fonte
GOAL! Jose Fonte gives the home side the lead! A fabulous, teasing ball from Shaw finds Fonte, who leaps higher than Monreal at the back post. Szczesny came off his line and then retreated when he could have claimed the ball! It's 1-0 and its no more than the Saints deserve!
The Saints need to make this spell of possession count as they have produced few chances so far this half. And we all know how deadly the Gunners are on the break...
The travelling fans are urging their side out of this early slumber but the ball is bogged down in midfield at the moment.
The Gunners - in their changed yellow shirts - are dropping deeper and deeper into their own half. Still no further chances but Pochettino's men are playing with the league leaders!
Arsene Wenger looks pensive on the touchline as his charges continue to look sluggish. Can the Saints' capitalize?
Arteta give the ball away in the centre circle and the Saints are away! Luckily for the visitors Flamini slides in and prevents a dangerous attack.
It has been all Southampton and boy, do they look impressive at the moment! They are using the conditions to their advantage and slipping some sublime passes together in the centre of the park.
SAVE! Gallagher goes for it from close range and pulls a great save from Szczesny, who is livid with his back four for failing to clear their lines.
HALF CHANCE! Shaw takes Sagna on down the left and whips a low cross into Gallagher, who fails to react quickly and the ball bobbles out of play for a goal kick.
STAT ATTACK: Arsenal are unbeaten in their last nine matches against Southampton in all competitions since losing 3-2 at St Mary's in the Premier League in November 2002.
It is the home side who are keeping the pressure on as a Davis corner is cleared by Monreal. The Gunners are standing firm at the back soaking up the early pressure.
The Saints are keeping the ball well in these early proceedings as a through ball from Schneiderlin nearly finds Gallagher but Mertesacker is aware of the danger.
We are off! Arsenal are kicking from left to right.
The teams are emerging from the tunnel at a wet and windy St Marys. Kick-off is moments away!
TEN MINUTES TO GO! What a great game of football we have in store - well, let's hope so anyway! I'm not a betting man but it's hard not to put your money on an Arsenal win tonight. The Saints' form has been poor of late...but can they cause an upset tonight?
For the league leaders Arsene Wenger is forced to make changes as Jack Wilshere and Aaron Ramsey miss out through injury. Mikel Arteta and Serge Gnabry start for the Gunners, who need all three points to stay at the top of the Premier League table.
Mauricio Pochettino hands a first Premier League start to FA Cup goalscorer Sam Gallagher. The teenager starts up front with Jay Rodriguez. Artur Boruc, Calum Chambers, Jose Fonte and Steven Davis come back into the side.
Arsenal (4-5-1): Szczesny; Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal; Arteta, Flamini, Ozil, Cazorla, Gnabry; Giroud. Subs: Fabianski, Vermaelen, Gibbs, Jenkinson, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Podolski, Bendtner.
Southampton (4-4-2): Boruc, Chambers, Fonte, Yoshida, Shaw; Cork, Schneiderlin, S. Davis, Lallana; Rodriguez, Gallagher. Subs: Davis, Clyne, Wanyama, Ward-Prowse, do Prado, Hooiveld, Isgrove.
Good evening and welcome to our coverage of this exciting Premier League game between Southampton and Arsenal. My name is Hayden Gribble and I shall be taking you through all of tonights action. Team news is coming right up...
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