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January 1, 2013
• St. Mary's Stadium, Southampton, Hampshire
Referee: L. Probert
• Attendance: 31743
G. Ramírez 35'
Guly 41' (own goal)
FULL TIME! Arsenal's run of four wins on the bounce comes to an end, and they really were second best today. They were lucky to finish level, with only one shot on target all night - not including the own goal from Guly do Prado, of course.
90' + 3'
Puncheon looks to smash another shot from long range, but it is well-blocked. And that's your lot folks.
90' + 2'
Arsenal have a free kick and an opportunity to get the ball in the box, but Walcott's delivery hits the only man in the wall on his knee. Poor delivery from him.
90' + 1'
That looked like it could be a goal. Gibbs is found on the overlap inside the area by Arteta, but his cut-back for Wilshere is well-cleared by Yoshida.
Arteta threatens to find Giroud with a ball over the top, but Fonte does well to block him off then prevent a corner.
Puncheon twists and turn past Gibbs, but his right-footed effort is straight at Szczesny and the keeper beats it away.
It is not fully cleared by the hosts, but when Giroud can only head Vermaelen's cross up in the air, Boruc collects well.
Yellow Card Steve de Ridder
Free kick from wide on the right for Arsenal...
Rodriguez has a header, but he was moving in the opposite direction to goal and could not generate enough power to trouble Szczesny. Puncheon then has a go from distance, but it is low and straight at the keeper.
Gervinho cuts in from the left and fires a shot at the near post, but it hits the side netting. Boruc looked to have it covered as well.
Guilherme Do Prado
Steve de Ridder
Sagna now lets the ball roll under his foot and out of play. It really has not been a great game for the right-back.
Jay Rodriguez gets in down the flank but cannot find anyone with his cut-back. At the other end, Aaron Ramsey fails to find Theo Walcott with a simple pass and the ball rolls out.
The ball breaks to Mikel Arteta on the edge of the area, but he drags his left-footed shot wide of the upright.
Szczesny punches clear from a corner under pressure. Puncheon then has the ball on the wing and after a dummy sends Gervinho sprawling onto his backside. One for the ever-growing bloopers reel for the Gunners marksman.
A whole host of substitutions here. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is given a nice round of applause as he leaves the field following a pretty average display against his former side.
Ramirez has the ball in the net and it is beautifully taken, but it is ruled out. The midfielder is found in space, and chests the ball down before swivelling and volleying into the bottom corner. However, the linesman says he shoved a defender in the build up. It looks a soft decision, but he did have his hands up.
Having said that, Arsenal go up the other end and Theo Walcott lashes a shot goalwards, but it is low and straight at Boruc.
Arsenal are being cheered on by their fans but really aren't creating anything. Southampton are dominating and the only side that look likely to score at the moment.
The Uruguayan then whips in a free kick from around 40 yards out and centrally, towards the penalty spot. It beats everyone but Szczesny, with the keeper making a routine stop down to his right.
Ramirez the next player to get a shot in, this one a powerful effort from 25 yards that flies over the crossbar.
Steven Davis finds Puncheon on the right side of the area, and he aims a shot at goal but it flies into the side netting on his weaker right foot.
Yellow Card Morgan Schneiderlin
Schneiderlin is played in down the right and Szczesny can't decide whether to come for the ball or not. He stays and palms the low cross out in the direction of Lambert, but the Saints striker slips at the vital moment.
Arsenal fans are singing the praises of Olivier Giroud, who has just entered the fray in place of Podolski who was pretty anonymous, to be fair. Walcott is out on the right and attempts a cross but it flies a long way over and wide.
Walcott bears down on goal from the left wing, but after he cuts inside he cannot get any power on a shot and it is easily blocked. A pass might have been the better option there.
Do Prado, attempting to make amends for his own goal, wheels around and hits an effort from distance that Szczesny tips wide. From the corner, the ball hits Sagna and flies towards his own goal, with the Polish keeper making a good stop on the line to prevent the Saints taking the lead again.
Szczesny just about gets away with a pass to his defender. Lambert was closing him down and almost got to it on the stretch.
Arsenal the team on the front foot at the moment. They're closing down their opponents quicker in the second half and are playing a higher line in defence.
Jack Wilshere takes a boot to the face from Gaston Ramirez. The Uruguayan seems to be claiming that he did not make any contact, but it looks like there is a little bit of blood and the midfielder receives some treatment before continuing.
Jose Fonte almost allows Walcott in with a poor back-pass, but Boruc is alert to the danger and hurriedly clears.
Oxlade-Chamberlain attacks down the right and gets to the byline, but his cross ends up on top of the net.
Puncheon gets in behind the defence and loops a cross over to the back post where Lambert is lurking. The striker heads it back across goal, but there is no-one on hand to knock it in.
The second half is underway.
And that's half-time. Southampton have been the better team over the first 45 minutes, and can count themselves a little unlucky to go in at the break only level. Arsenal are looking threatening now though, and it will take another big effort from the Saints in the second half to make sure they take something from the game.
45' + 1'
Theo Walcott has the ball in the net after being slotted through by Wilshere, but he is correctly given offside by the official on the near side.
Shouts for handball on the edge of the area from the Arsenal players after the ball bounced up at a Southampton defender. They looked pretty convinced, but nothing given.
Ramirez plays a wonderful back heel to give Puncheon space in the box, but he cannot pick out a pass to a team-mate and Arsenal clear.
Own Goal Guilherme Do Prado
OWN GOAL!!! Guly do Prado knocks the ball into his own net from a Theo Walcott free kick wide on the left. The midfielder puts in a mixture of a jump and a slide at the near post, but gets it all wrong and sends it in at the near post past a helpless Artur Boruc.
Sagna is having an absolute nightmare. He failed to clear the ball for the goal, gifted possession straight to Ramirez again just a minute after in a dangerous area, and then hit a five-yard pass to Oxlade-Chamberlain out of play. He does not look very confident at the moment.
Assist Jason Puncheon
Goal G. Ramírez
GOAL!!! Gaston Ramirez opens the scoring, and it was farcical defending from Arsenal. Podolski gifts possession to Southampton in a dangerous area, Schneiderlin tries to put Lambert through but can't find him - Sagna looks to clear it but only hits it to Puncheon who (after a mis-hit shot) lays it off to Ramirez to sweep home past an unsighted Szczesny. Really bad defending from Arsenal.
Arsenal's front three not really getting involved in the game so far. Southampton are now dominating, and they're under very little pressure on the ball.
Gaston Ramirez is sent off-balance by a challenge from Laurent Koscielny and eventually falls over, but there's no free kick given. It was a strange one, the Arsenal defender hung his leg out but did not quite make enough contact for it to be a foul. He certainly unbalanced the Southampton man as he was sprinting towards the area, though.
Luke Shaw is rumoured to be the object of Arsenal's attention for the January transfer window. He's played pretty well so far, getting forward to support the attack and preventing too much from happening down his flank.
Southampton have actually dominated the possession in the last 10 minutes, surprisingly. They're keeping the ball rather well.
Wilshere is back on the pitch now after a long walk to the sidelines. One of those injuries that just makes you wince.
Jack Wilshere goes down after a challenge from Gaston Ramirez. It looked a fair tackle, with the Uruguayan nicking the ball, but he may just have caught the England midfielder in a sensitive area, and he hobbles off the pitch.
A few players slipping over so far on what looks a zippy surface. The game has settled into a slower rhythm now, with Southampton allowing Arsenal room at the back to pass it about, but countering well when they get the ball.
Wilshere finds Podolski in the box, but the German striker's shot is blocked before he can really get it away. The Saints' backline are staying strong so far.
Wilshere loses possession to Gaston Ramirez, who then breaks but is crowded out by the Gunners defenders eventually. The hosts aren't sitting back, to their credit. Some exciting football at the moment.
Rickie Lambert is poked through on goal, but Wojciech Szczesny beats him to the ball. Decent move by Southampton, but the striker was flagged offside anyway.
Boruc comes for another cross and he drops the ball again under no pressure. Nervy display from the Saints keeper so far. A straightforward catch and he just messes it up. Arsenal get a corner and this time the keeper grabs it in well.
Santi Cazorla has the game's first shot, a drive from over 30 yards out that takes a wicked deflection and whirls just wide. From the corner, Artur Boruc sees the ball slip through his hands under no pressure at all, but it flies to safety.
The game is momentarily paused following a clash of heads between Steven Davis and Bacary Sagna, but both players are fine to continue.
Arsenal dominating the early stages, but have not been able to create anything thus far.
Arsenal kick off.
Arsenal line-up: Szczesny; Sagna, Vermaelen, Koscielny, Gibbs; Arteta, Wilshere, Cazorla; Chamberlain, Walcott, Podolski. Subs: Martinez, Mertesacker, Coquelin, Ramsey, Rosicky, Gervinho, Giroud.
Southampton: Boruc; Cork, Yoshida, Fonte, Shaw; S Davis, Schneiderlin, Ramirez; Puncheon, Lambert, Do Prado. Subs: K. Davis, Hooiveld, Rodriguez, Ward-Prowse, Richardson, Mayuka, De Ridder.
Good evening and welcome to Goal.com's LIVE! coverage of Southampton against Arsenal at St Mary's.
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