Southampton 3 Arsenal 2: Austin and Ings end Gunners' long unbeaten run

Danny Ings' double and Charlie Austin's late header gave lowly Southampton a precious victory over in-form Arsenal at St Mary's.

Charlie Austin gave Ralph Hasenhuttl his first victory in charge of Southampton and ruined Arsenal's 22-game unbeaten run with an 85th-minute winner in a 3-2 triumph on Sunday.

Danny Ings and Henrikh Mkhitaryan both hit braces before Bernd Leno came and missed Shane Long's cross to allow substitute Austin to head the hosts to their first victory in 15 outings.

Much of the build-up centred on the role Laurent Koscielny, starting his first top-flight match since April, would play in stabilising a makeshift three-man defence, yet it was he who twice lost Ings for a pair of first-half headers.

Mkhitarayan replied with one of his own before the break and levelled for the second time with a deflected 53rd-minute shot, but the Gunners' second-half fightback stopped short on this occasion as they were left three points adrift of the top four.

Arsenal's unfamiliar rearguard first came unstuck in the 20th minute with Matt Targett afforded too much time to measure a delightful left-sided cross to the near post for Ings to break the deadlock.

Hasenhuttl consciously restrained his touchline celebrations and it was clear why as, eight minutes later, Nacho Monreal mirrored Targett's assist, expertly finding Mkhitaryan for a fine nodded finish.

The Austrian was more willing to indulge in delight when Liverpool loanee Ings ghosted between Koscielny and Stephan Lichtsteiner and deftly headed Nathan Redmond's dinked delivery beyond Bernd Leno in the 44th minute.

Alex McCarthy foiled Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang soon after the restart but there was nothing the goalkeeper could do about the second equaliser, Mkhitaryan's effort taking a thick deflection off Jannik Vestergaard.

Shane Long was soon introduced in place of Ings and the fit-again forward provided the cross that fatally exposed Arsenal's aerial vulnerabilities, Austin's winner lifting the struggling Saints out of the bottom three.
 

What does it mean? Saints have hope under Hasenhuttl

Former RB Leipzig boss Hasenhuttl made a pitch for popularity by sending free drinks vouchers to Southampton's season-ticket holders before the match and his worshippers will grow if these results continue.

For a team that has long lingered around the danger zone, they were impressively free of fear and dangerous going forward against an in-form opponent.


Ings essential to fight for safety

If the Saints are to stay clear of danger then they must simply keep Ings fit.

The 26-year-old showed why he was taken to Anfield in 2015 with two excellent headers that boosted his Premier League tally to six goals and set the platform for Austin to eventually steal a share of the spotlight.


Koscielny struggles on comeback

The experienced Koscielny's return from a long-term Achilles injury was celebrated widely as the ideal tonic for Arsenal's ailing defence, but the centre-back's careless marking raised more questions than answers for Unai Emery.

He lost Ings for both Southampton goals and was evidently unable to organise the Gunners throughout a chaotic 90 minutes.


Key Opta facts:

Southampton picked up their first win in all competitions since beating Crystal Palace in September, ending a streak of 14 games without a victory.
- Arsenal have lost their first competitive match since August versus Chelsea, ending a run of 22 games without defeat.
- Southampton are the first team to score three headed goals in a Premier League game since West Brom did so versus Swansea in December 2016. Saints last achieved this themselves in October 2001 (vs Ipswich).
- Arsenal haven’t led at half-time in any of their 17 Premier League games so far this season. The Gunners have scored a league-high 27 second half goals in 2018-19.
- Southampton’s Danny Ings scored two headed goals in an English league game for the first time in his career. They were also Southampton’s first two headed goals in the competition this season.
- Southampton’s Charlie Austin has scored in all five of his Premier League games against Arsenal - only Raheem Sterling versus Bournemouth (6 games) has a better 100% record of scoring against a specific opponent in Premier League history.
- Henrikh Mkhitaryan has scored more Premier League goals for Arsenal in 25 games (6) than he did for Man Utd in 39 appearances (5 goals).


What's next?

Arsenal will have to regroup in time for a north London derby date with Tottenham in the EFL Cup quarter-finals on Wednesday, while Southampton will look optimistically to Saturday's trip to Huddersfield Town.