Olivier Giroud salvages late point for Arsenal at Southampton

"In the second half it was all us but they defended well".

The result meant Arsenal missed out on the opportunity to replace Liverpool in the top four, while Southampton would have been glad of a greater cushion between themselves and the bottom three than the five points they now enjoy.

Giroud, 31, is yet to start a league game for the Gunners this season, with club-record summer signing Alexandre Lacazette ahead of him in the pecking order.

"First of all I think it's in the head of the players to respect the game and to play".

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.

More news: Ball Brothers Sign With Agent And Will Apparently Try To Play Overseas

Shkodran Mustafi has been ruled out of Sunday's game with a thigh injury but Theo Walcott will be fit despite coming off with a tight calf during Arsenal's 6-0 thrashing of BATE Borisov on Thursday.

Arsenal returned to sixth place, above Burnley on goal difference.

A poor clearance from Mertesacker conceded possession deep inside his own half and then slipped as he attempted to make up for his mistake, allowing Dusan Tadic the time and space to pick out Austin's run into the box where the striker finished from 12 yards out.

The Saints got off to the flawless start as Charlie Austin combined well with Dusan Tadic before calmly slotting past Petr Cech from close range, 1-0.

Wilshere, in particular, had cause to feel hard done to with Granit Xhaka making little impression in the central midfield areas as Arsenal fought to get back on level terms. Austin also hit the post with another effort in the eighth minute with the Arsenal defence in disarray but the linesman flagging for offside. Another must-win game for the Gunners, and Arsene Wenger will be taking very few chances at a venue which has traditionally been a banana skin for Arsenal in the past.

  • Tabitha Byrd