Wenger labels Southampton sinners over time-wasting

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The manager was not impressed with the behaviour of the home side as his team were forced to settle for a point

Arsene Wenger lamented what he perceived to be time-wasting tactics from Southampton after Arsenal left it late to secure a 1-1 draw at St Mary's.

The hosts hit the front early through Charlie Austin and Arsenal's afternoon looked set to end in frustration before Olivier Giroud performed a familiar salvage act, coming off the bench to head an 88th-minute equaliser.

But it was what unfolded between the goals that pricked Wenger's attention.

He said to BT Sport: "Happy [with the result]? No because we wanted to win, but when you cannot win at least don't lose it.

"In the second half we played in their half. The wasting of time became a real problem and the referees have not found an answer yet.

"In the first half the referee could have given a penalty and in the second half we could not take advantage of a counter-attack in the last minute."

Olivier Giroud Arsenal Southampton

Asked whether there was a solution to persistent time-wasting, Wenger said:  "The answer is the authority of the referees.

"First of all, I think it's in the hands of the players to respect the game and to play and then for the referees to act early."

Having seen Arsenal give up a two-goal deficit early in the 3-1 defeat to Manchester United last weekend, Wenger's best-laid plans were again undermined by a sluggish start on the south coast.

"We played with good sprit but unfortunately in the last two games we have dropped points for a bad start," he said.

"Of course you are concerned. You don't want to make too much of a problem of it because it takes belief and confidence away from the players

Alexis Sanchez Arsenal Oriel Romeu Southampton

"You could see last week, the players wanted to start strong and overall, it took us a while to get into the game."

Giroud now has 17 Premier League goals as a substitute – a joint divisional record alongside ex-United hero Ole Gunner Solskjaer's in terms of a tally for a single club – and Wenger paid tribute to the 31-year-old France international's mental strength.

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"I will start him [too] of course, because we play every three days," he added.

"He is mentally extremely strong and you have to be grateful that a player, whenever he is needed, comes on and delivers.

"It is a great achievement what he has done."