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Premier League - Manchester United vs Manchester City

Soccer Football - Premier League - Manchester United vs Manchester City - Old Trafford, Manchester, Britain - December 10, 2017 Manchester United's Romelu Lukaku has a shot saved by Manchester City's Ederson Action Images via Reuters/Carl Recine

Premier League - Manchester United vs Manchester City

Soccer Football - Premier League - Manchester United vs Manchester City - Old Trafford, Manchester, Britain - December 10, 2017 Manchester United's Romelu Lukaku has a shot saved by Manchester City's Ederson Action Images via Reuters/Carl Recine

Premier League - Manchester United vs Manchester City

Soccer Football - Premier League - Manchester United vs Manchester City - Old Trafford, Manchester, Britain - December 10, 2017 Manchester United's Jesse Lingard in action with Manchester City's Fabian Delph Action Images via Reuters/Carl Recine

Golden Knights issue an apology for tweet insulting Nashville media

During the third period of the Golden Knights' game against the Predators Friday, a tweet intended as an apparent joke from Vegas' Twitter account rubbed members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association the wrong way.

Golden Knights issue an apology for tweet insulting Nashville media

During the third period of the Golden Knights' game against the Predators Friday, a tweet intended as an apparent joke from Vegas' Twitter account rubbed members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association the wrong way.

Golden Knights issue an apology for tweet insulting Nashville media

During the third period of the Golden Knights' game against the Predators Friday, a tweet intended as an apparent joke from Vegas' Twitter account rubbed members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association the wrong way.

Golden Knights issue an apology for tweet insulting Nashville media

During the third period of the Golden Knights' game against the Predators Friday, a tweet intended as an apparent joke from Vegas' Twitter account rubbed members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association the wrong way.

Golden Knights issue an apology for tweet insulting Nashville media

During the third period of the Golden Knights' game against the Predators Friday, a tweet intended as an apparent joke from Vegas' Twitter account rubbed members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association the wrong way.

Josh Gordon scores first touchdown in four years

The Browns receiver scored his first touchdown in four years on Cleveland's opening drive of Sunday's home game against the Packers.

Blues score 4 times in 5-shot span, beat Red Wings 6-1

Jaden Schwartz knocked home his own rebound and the Blues scored four times on only five shots on the way to beating the Detroit Red Wings 6-1 Saturday.

Blues score 4 times in 5-shot span, beat Red Wings 6-1

Jaden Schwartz knocked home his own rebound and the Blues scored four times on only five shots on the way to beating the Detroit Red Wings 6-1 Saturday.

Blues score 4 times in 5-shot span, beat Red Wings 6-1

Jaden Schwartz knocked home his own rebound and the Blues scored four times on only five shots on the way to beating the Detroit Red Wings 6-1 Saturday.

Blues score 4 times in 5-shot span, beat Red Wings 6-1

Jaden Schwartz knocked home his own rebound and the Blues scored four times on only five shots on the way to beating the Detroit Red Wings 6-1 Saturday.

Blues score 4 times in 5-shot span, beat Red Wings 6-1

Jaden Schwartz knocked home his own rebound and the Blues scored four times on only five shots on the way to beating the Detroit Red Wings 6-1 Saturday.

Blues score 4 times in 5-shot span, beat Red Wings 6-1

Jaden Schwartz knocked home his own rebound and the Blues scored four times on only five shots on the way to beating the Detroit Red Wings 6-1 Saturday.

Southampton 1 Arsenal 1: Olivier Giroud rescues a point after Charlie Austin terrorises chaotic defence

The Arsenal supporters who were delayed prior to kick-off at least had a good excuse. A combination of the typically erratic Sunday rail service and weather-induced traffic chaos was their explanation but, for the second successive week, their team’s defence was also inexplicably absent at the start of the match.  Yes, super-sub Olivier Giroud did later arrive to rescue a point with an 88th-minute header, but it was no exaggeration to say that Charlie Austin could have scored four times for Southampton in an extraordinary eight-minute opening burst. The similarities to Arsenal’s match against Manchester United last week were impossible to ignore, and after seeing his team drop valuable points despite again having around 70 per cent of possession, manager Arsene Wenger even admitted that the problem may have been psychological. “I felt that the Manchester United game played a bit of a part in the heads of our defenders,” he said. “They were a bit apprehensive to start. That’s why sometimes it’s not too good to talk about a problem because you create an even bigger one.”  Per Mertesacker endures a torrid return to the starting XI Credit: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images The positive for Arsenal was the benefit again of having such a distinct option off the bench as Giroud, whose goals to minutes ratio continues to overshadow most of his team-mates. With the January transfer window fast approaching, Wenger again also reiterated his opposition to the French striker leaving. “Why should we lose an important player?” he asked. “It’s up to us. He will start games.”  Austin had been similarly frustrated at a lack of starting opportunities at Southampton until his recent recall coincided with a wider improvement, and he finished emphatically here after three minutes. Arsenal captain Per Mertesacker had come back into the team following a thigh injury to Shkodran Mustafi but was easily dispossessed by Austin who then exchanged passes with Dusan Tadic before shooting confidently past Petr Cech.  The presence of Mertesacker seemed to have disorientated Arsenal defensively, and Southampton could and should soon have been further ahead. Austin was then released by Tadic after Mertesacker had again been caught, but Cech got down well to save his low shot.  Southampton celebrate Charlie Austin's early opening goal Credit: Action Images via Reuters/John Sibley  The Southampton striker was then only marginally offside after again getting behind the Arsenal defence before also hitting the post from a narrowly offside position after running onto Ryan Bertrand’s cross.  Austin has now scored four goals in his past four games but admitted that Southampton missed their big chance in that opening salvo. “We get the second and it’s over – one’s not enough in the Premier League,” he said.  Arsenal remained defensively vulnerable throughout, but they did eventually at least settle into a passing rhythm that allowed them to dominate possession.  Alexandre Lacazette had again been preferred to Giroud as the main striker and wasted an excellent counter-attacking chance when his heavy first touch just gave Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg sufficient time to make a goal-saving block. Southampton vs Arsenal shots on goal Aaron Ramsey did also almost equalise, but his low shot was quite brilliantly saved at his near-post by Forster following Sanchez’s cross.  The pattern was set, and while Arsenal continued to have most of the ball, Southampton’s defence was solid and they also always retained their threat. Cech made another save from James Ward-Prowse, and from the resulting corner, a header back across goal by Bertand was almost inadvertently turned in by Granit Xhaka. Oriol Romeu also shook Cech’s crossbar with a powerful dipping shot from 25 yards.  Arsenal’s supporters were becoming increasingly frustrated, and there were persistent chants for Jack Wilshere. But Danny Welbeck was Wenger’s choice when he did make his first change after 64 minutes, predictably replacing Mertesacker as Arsenal switched to a more attacking 4-2-3-1 formation.  They were almost immediately punished, with Laurent Koscielny and Nacho Monreal getting themselves into a mess and fortunate that Bertrand just lofted his finish wide after lifting the ball over Cech. Wenger did then bring on Wilshere for Xhaka in an attempt to add some cutting edge. Southampton, however, are a class above BATE Borisov, and Wilshere had nothing like the time or space that had allowed him to exert such influence on Thursday.  The more telling change was Giroud, whose introduction for Lacazette was still greeted with groans from Arsenal fans. Sanchez, who again kept losing possession, had just tested Forster with a curling free-kick before producing a perfectly weighted cross for Giroud to glance his header past Forster.  “We missed players in the box so I tried to bring it. This was a good point,” said Giroud, whose 17th goal as a substitute places him level with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on the all-time Premier League list.  It was just about what Arsenal deserved – but there is little doubt now that their Premier League season will again be about no more than fighting for a top-four place. 1:53PM Full time Arsenal salvage a point after looking all at sea in the first 15 minutes. They spent most of the second half huffing and puffing, probing around the box, and eventually made the breakthrough by virtue of a substitute's skill in the air. Plenty of positives for Saints, not so many for Arsenal who scrapped for their point but did little to persuade they can go any higher than fifth.  Credit: Catherine Ivill/Getty Images   1:51PM 90+3 min Gabbiadini goes up for the corner but is taken out by Cech who claims the ball before toppling the Italy striker. Arsenal break and are awarded a free-kick.  1:50PM  90+2 min Francis Benali anoints Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg as man of the match and it is he who earns Saints a late corner with a fizzed pass from centre down the left.  1:48PM 90+1 min The first of four minutes of added time end with Wilshere charging down a Boufal shot.  1:48PM 90 min Ozil dawdles on the ball during a break, taking too long to assess his options and ending up lost down a cul de sac when Welbeck had peeled off into a promising position on the left. He was waiting for Bellerin, I assume, who was detained 1:46PM 89 min Wilshere goes through Gabbiadini from behind and cuts him off the the ankles. Yellow card.  Olivier Giroud leaps to steer the equaliser past Van Dijk and Forster Credit: REUTERS/Dylan Martinez   1:46PM 88 min That's a terrific header from the substitute, who leapt to steer it deftly inside the left post when picked out by Sanchez's artful inswinging right-foot cross from the left.  Southampton 1 - 1 Arsenal (Olivier Giroud, 88 min)   1:44PM GOAL!! Southampton 1-1 Arsenal (Giroud) 1:43PM 86 min Gabbiadini on for Austin who leaves to a hero's ovation.  1:43PM 84 min Daft, yellow-card worthy foul from Romeu on Wilshere gives Arsenal a free-kick maybe 23 yards out, just left of centre. Sanchez takes it and bends it over the wall. Forster leaps to his right to claw it away as it threatened to sneak in under the crossbar.  1:41PM 82 min Arsenal try to pass their way through the crowd in the Southampton box, first Wilshere, then Sanchez, then Ramsey but to no avail and Southampton break briskly. Boufal takes it on and hurries through the centre-circle. He should take it on but instead passes to Austin, who was offside and then inadvertently, I think, elbows Monreal in the face when the centre-back was trying to get the ball back to restart quickly.  1:38PM 81 min Stephens is booked for dallying over a throw-in.  1:37PM 79 min First booking of the match goes to Bellerin for manhandling Boufal with an octopus armed block after being beaten on the inside. Saints chip it into the box, beyond the Arsenal defensive line that let Van Dijk through solo. But the ball eludes him too as it sails towards Cech. Possession: Southampton vs Arsenal   1:34PM 77 min Arsene Wenger is involved in a heated discussion with the fourth official but I can't see anything to quibble with the referee about. Quibble with his own players, yes. Ah, it's timewasting he's protesting. Fair enough but even educated bees do it.  1:32PM 75 min Southampton sub: Boufal replaces Redmond. Van Dijk is awarded a free-kick when he has his achilles clipped with an impolite stab of the boot.  1:31PM 74 min Rubbish cross from Welbeck on the right, beats everyone in the box bar Ward-Prowse whose first touch flick it over Kolasinac and sets him off on an upfield run. He then picks out a tremendous pass up to Austin whose first touch from his suddenly cemented boots bludgeons it too close to Cech.  1:28PM 73 min Last Arsenal sub: Giroud on for Lacazette.  1:28PM 72 min Tadic shoulder barges Wilshere, cutting across the Arsenal midfielder and catching him in the chest to send him sprawling. Free kick.  1:26PM 70 min Wilshere's second touch is a chip over the top for Ozil's run. He was about five yards offside. Giroud is stripping, too.  1:26PM 69 min Arsenal substitution: Wilshere on for Xhaka.  1:25PM 68 min Monreal has a dig and bends a shot on to the left post and behind for a goalkick.   Miss: Southampton 1 - 0 Arsenal (Ryan Bertrand, 66 min)   1:24PM 66 min Bertrand misses from 12 yards. A difficult chance after being found by Tadic's lovely reverse pass in from the left. Cech was closing him down as he hit it on the angle with his left and it flashed wide of the post. Koscielny's errors again to blame.  1:22PM 65 min Welbeck goes out to the right and Ozil drops into a central No10 role. Koscielny gives the ball away and invites Southampton on to them.   1:20PM 64 min No, it's Mertesacker who comes off and Arsenal revert to a back four.  1:20PM 64 min Danny Welbeck sia bout to come on. Ozil or Sanchez, surely?  1:19PM 62 min Romeu, on a rare sortie, crashes a right-foot shot on to the crossbar.  Blocked Pass: Southampton 1 - 0 Arsenal (Pierre-Emile Højbjerg, 47 min)   1:18PM 61 min Saints break and have a three v three with the usual suspects but horse up the support work so they are eventually outnumbered. Arsenal counter swiftly but once more Sanchez, in rime shooting territory, goes for another threaded pass that misses the eye of the needle.   1:16PM 59 min Pellegrino in his technical area shows him precisely how to stun a ball with a lovely right-foot cushion when the ball flies out. Xhaka shoots from a corner, walloping a volley that Stephens intercepts.  1:14PM 57 min Sanchez 25 yards out ekes out a chink to shoot through with a dip of the shoulder and shuffling feet but chooses instead to ping it in to Lacazette by the penalty spot but under pressure he cannot trap it.  1:12PM 54 min Tadic, Redmond and Austin break quickly on the counter, well two of them were quick, one a rather more stately presence, until Redmond barrels a shot straight at Cech from 22 yards. Arsenal now break briskly back upfield and have the numbers but Ramsey's shot from the right slides harmlessly past the left post. Lacazette tried to gloss it by sliding in to deflect it in but couldn't reach it.  Miss: Southampton 1 - 0 Arsenal (Aaron Ramsey, 53 min)   1:10PM 52 min Arsenal almost pick the lock to send Kolasinac round the back from the left but Stephens and Ward-Prowse diligently read the throughball and both combine to tackle the left wing-back. Ward-Prowse gets up hobbling.  1:08PM 51 min Kolasinac's cross from the left is blocked out for a throw which he takes and passes back to Monreal while he stands his ground in an advanced position. Sanchez and Ozil find each other but Romeu and Hojbjerg are disciplined, stay close, hold their shape and spring out to intercept.  1:06PM 49 min Sanchez shapes to whack a Ray Parlour shot from 28 yards but bails out and skedaddles inside instead, passing to Kolasinac, the one Arsenal player who probably would channel Parlour and have a long-range pop. But he doesn't here. So they go back to trying to score the goal of the season with dainty passes.  1:05PM 47 min Romeu steers a pass out to the left for Redmond who skitter forward on the left but can't beat Bellerin. Arsenal come back up the right, concede, recover then play it to Ozil who bears down on the D, slips a pas to Lacazette whose shot is block-tackled. Arsenal come again, shifting the ball from side to side from 40 yards to 20 yards out and back again. Probing.  1:02PM 46 min Southampton kick off and whack it long up the right but it comes straight back at them so they go back to Forster who tries again.  12:48PM Half time An alarmingly dreadful start from Arsenal defensively could and probably should have left them three down, so getting to the break, when they have threatened Forster's goal five times, only one down, will probably be a relief. Southampton are playing very well and though Mertesacker has calmed down and stopped panicking every time Tadic runs at him, every player needs to up his game in the second half.  Southampton vs Arsenal shots on goal   12:46PM 44 min Rubbish pass from Xhaka threatens to allow Austin to put Redmond clear on goal but his pass from the centre-circle strikes the retreating Mertesacker on the back of the hand. Saints fans bellow for a free-kick but none is forthcoming so they console themselves by accusing Arsenal of a habitual tendency to cheat.  12:44PM 43 min Austin on the edge of the area and bursting through lacks the explosive pace to latch on to Bertrand's inviting pass, allowing Cech to smother it.  12:43PM 42 min A minute before Lacazette's effort Cech had made a fine diving-header clearance when Hojbjerg's long pass caught him in no man's land.  12:42PM 40 min Bellerin cuts the ball back from the right to Lacazette who makes a near-post run from the penalty spot. He gets there first, wraps his foot around it and spears a shot over the bar half a second before Yoshida wipes him out with a desperate slide.    12:40PM 38 min Southampton so far are concentrating in defence, not diving in when the Arsenal forwards crisply shift the ball between each other.    Charlie Austin, an old-fashioned celebration for an old-fashioned player Credit:  Matt Watson/Southampton FC via Getty Images   12:37PM 36 min Southampton work neat triangles on the left with Tadic, Hojbjerg and Bertrand. Bellerin twice has to block Bertrand's crosses which weren't deserving of the slick build-up play.  12:36PM 34 min Xhaka makes a vital tackle with a sliding scissor movement to stall Redmond's momentum when he had only the midfielder to beat and 25 yards of unoccupied grass ahead of him to run into.  12:33PM 32 min Ramsey fed from the right at the edge of the box, drills a curling low shot powerfully towards a spot just inside the right post. Forster, who was woeful against Newcastle, gets down smartly to tip it round the post.  Southampton vs Arsenal   12:32PM 31 min Arsenal counter quickly but Southampton, through Yoshida and Van Dijk, thwart first Kolasinac and then Ramsey.  12:31PM 29 min This one, from the right by Bertrand, ricochets through the box and Ward-Prowse picks it up on the left. He swerves and inswinger to the fr post where Redmond, a metre past it, had peeled off. He dinks it back on the volley to Van Dijk who has a swing at it but it bobbles safely through to Cech. Not without alarm, though.  12:28PM 27 min Ward-Prowse whips it in viciously with his right and it dips towards the far post. Cech slaps it over for a corner which leads to another after Xhaka's defensive header.  12:27PM 26 min Southampton snap into pressurising Arsenal by hounding the man in possession from the front, earning a throw when Koscielny loses his composure. From the re-start Xhaka's clumsy challenge on Bertrand concedes a free-kick by the left touchline, 25 yards upfield.  12:26PM 24 min Ramsey does a near perfect imitation of Lacazette's earlier disappointing effort at the edge of the box, controlling the ball superbly with hi body before turning adroitly and bottoming off the move with a tame shot straight down Forster's throat.  Credit: Action Images via Reuters/John Sibley    12:23PM 22 min Kolasinac chips a cross to the near post, Laczette makes the run but Van Dijk, who towers over him, blocks his path and Forster punches it clear, although without the force or precision he had hoped. Throw-in for Arsenal.  12:21PM 20 min Saints clear the corner after Lacazette finds juggling the ball with his leg at 90 degrees is, quite literally pop pickers, a bit of a stretch.  12:20PM 18 min Arsenal break at pace with Lacazette, Bellerin, Sanchez and Ozil. Lacazette plays it out to the left and moves into prime position to shoot but takes an extra touch when Bellerin fires the pass back at him which allows Hojbjerg to make the crucial tackle. Corner.  Possession: Southampton vs Arsenal   12:17PM 16 min Lacazette controls a chipped pass with his back to goal 18 yards out, swivels and turns Yoshida but doesn't connect properly with his shot, poking it low at Forster.  12:16PM 15 min A spell of possession has stemmed the Southampton onslaught.  12:15PM 13 min Ramsey overhits a left-foo diagonal that pushes Ozil too far wide but he retrieves the ball by the touchline, combines with Bellerin but Hojbjerg steps in to whip the ball away and send Redmond off up the flank. His control lets him down as he hurtles up the whitewash and briefly takes it out of play.  12:12PM 11 min Arsenal have had a couple of raids in the opening 10 minutes, the best when Kolasinac immediately after the goal went on a 60-yard dribble into the box before he was block-tackled by Stephens. But ever since their final ball has ended the move, particularly just now when Ozil's, intended for Lacazette, skipped too close to Forster.  Charlie Austin opens the scoring Credit: REUTERS/Dylan Martinez   12:09PM 8 min Here we go again. Redmond dices and slices Koscielny as he strides down the left, squares to Austin who rattles his shot against the woodwork. Have Saints created as many chances in their previous three games as they have in eight minutes here?   12:07PM 7 min Good Lord. Now Koscielny gives the ball away to Redmond with a dozy pass and is reprieved when Redmond steers a pass beyond him for Austin to run clear through on Cech by a questionable offside call.  12:06PM 5 min Southampton almost carve Arsenal apart again when Tadic skates forward, leaves Mertesacker for dead and slips another deft pass to Austin, this time outside the box. He takes a touch and drills a low shot that Cech drops quickly to smother. Mertesacker can't live with Tadic's movement.   12:04PM 3 min Mertesacker slips as Tadic glides past him, zipping in from the right wing, tacking horizontally across the 18-yard box before slipping a  reverse pass down the inside-right channel for Austin who was just onside and buried his shot from 12 yards. Southampton 1 - 0 Arsenal (Charlie Austin, 3 min)   12:02PM GOAL!! Southampton 1-0 Arsenal (Austin) 12:01PM 1 min Monreal bends a 50-yard ball up the left for Sanchez's run but Stephens, who is playing at right-back, heads him off and knocks the ball upfield for Tadic who had gone too soon and wandered offside.  12:00PM The weather Has done for Owen Hargreaves as co-com. Enter curry magnate Francis Benali. The sleet has abated and we're about to kick off.  11:56AM Pelllegrino says ... Stephens may start at right-back and all the briefings about a 3-4-3 were smoke.  11:45AM Formations Southampton have switched to a back three to match Arsenal's, which seems a waste of Ward-Prowse to me. If he's going to be shuttling up and down that flank and trying to deal with Kolasinac, Monreal and Sanchez he may well be overwhelmed. They played five at the back against Man City and held on at 1-1 for almost 20 minutes but at least then they had a European Championship-winning right back in place. Credit: BT SPORT  Pellegrino's Alaves side played with four at the back for all but a handful of games last season and when he switched to five against Real Madrid, they were still humped 4-1 and 3-0, though they did knock off Barcelona at the start of the campaign 2-1.  11:33AM Sadly ... There's not enough snow on the ground on the fairly temperate south coast to afford us the treat of an orange ball. But given that any colour seems to go these days, it could be anything. Those teams in black and white: Southampton Forster; Yoshida, Stephens, van Dijk, Bertrand;  Hojbjerg, Romeu; Ward-Prowse, Tadic, Redmond; Austin. Substitutes  McCarthy, Hoedt, Davis, Lemina, Boufal, Gabbiadini, Pied.  It's taters at St Mary's Credit: REUTERS/Dylan Martinez Arsenal Cech; Koscielny, Mertesacker, Monreal; Bellerin,  Ramsey, Xhaka, Kolasinac; Ozil, Sanchez; Lacazette.  Substitutes  Ospina, Wilshere, Giroud, Iwobi, Welbeck, Maitland-Niles,  Coquelin.  Referee Robert Madley (Leeds)  11:19AM Team news The teams are in! �� Here's how #SaintsFC line-up against #Arsenal this afternoon in the #PL: pic.twitter.com/KclQBRWiYi— Southampton FC (@SouthamptonFC) December 10, 2017 The waiting is over - here's our team for #SFCvAFCpic.twitter.com/04RatCAXwk— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) December 10, 2017   11:18AM Good morning And welcome to coverage of Southampton vs Arsenal from St Mary's. The last December meeting between the two in Hampshire two years ago left us with the indelible memory of Cuco Martina's cracker and a pulverising 4-0 home victory. A win would have put Arsenal top but when it came to it they wilted. Today, after that dismal  first 11 minutes against Manchester United, Arsenal again have to start from the beginning in terms of putting together a winning run. Southampton, much improved over recent weeks after those depressingly sterile early performances, ought to give them a proper midfield test with Romeu and Hojbjerg. Surprised that Mario Lemina isn't starting, I would have thought he would be ideal. 

Southampton 1 Arsenal 1: Olivier Giroud rescues a point after Charlie Austin terrorises chaotic defence

The Arsenal supporters who were delayed prior to kick-off at least had a good excuse. A combination of the typically erratic Sunday rail service and weather-induced traffic chaos was their explanation but, for the second successive week, their team’s defence was also inexplicably absent at the start of the match.  Yes, super-sub Olivier Giroud did later arrive to rescue a point with an 88th-minute header, but it was no exaggeration to say that Charlie Austin could have scored four times for Southampton in an extraordinary eight-minute opening burst. The similarities to Arsenal’s match against Manchester United last week were impossible to ignore, and after seeing his team drop valuable points despite again having around 70 per cent of possession, manager Arsene Wenger even admitted that the problem may have been psychological. “I felt that the Manchester United game played a bit of a part in the heads of our defenders,” he said. “They were a bit apprehensive to start. That’s why sometimes it’s not too good to talk about a problem because you create an even bigger one.”  Per Mertesacker endures a torrid return to the starting XI Credit: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images The positive for Arsenal was the benefit again of having such a distinct option off the bench as Giroud, whose goals to minutes ratio continues to overshadow most of his team-mates. With the January transfer window fast approaching, Wenger again also reiterated his opposition to the French striker leaving. “Why should we lose an important player?” he asked. “It’s up to us. He will start games.”  Austin had been similarly frustrated at a lack of starting opportunities at Southampton until his recent recall coincided with a wider improvement, and he finished emphatically here after three minutes. Arsenal captain Per Mertesacker had come back into the team following a thigh injury to Shkodran Mustafi but was easily dispossessed by Austin who then exchanged passes with Dusan Tadic before shooting confidently past Petr Cech.  The presence of Mertesacker seemed to have disorientated Arsenal defensively, and Southampton could and should soon have been further ahead. Austin was then released by Tadic after Mertesacker had again been caught, but Cech got down well to save his low shot.  Southampton celebrate Charlie Austin's early opening goal Credit: Action Images via Reuters/John Sibley  The Southampton striker was then only marginally offside after again getting behind the Arsenal defence before also hitting the post from a narrowly offside position after running onto Ryan Bertrand’s cross.  Austin has now scored four goals in his past four games but admitted that Southampton missed their big chance in that opening salvo. “We get the second and it’s over – one’s not enough in the Premier League,” he said.  Arsenal remained defensively vulnerable throughout, but they did eventually at least settle into a passing rhythm that allowed them to dominate possession.  Alexandre Lacazette had again been preferred to Giroud as the main striker and wasted an excellent counter-attacking chance when his heavy first touch just gave Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg sufficient time to make a goal-saving block. Southampton vs Arsenal shots on goal Aaron Ramsey did also almost equalise, but his low shot was quite brilliantly saved at his near-post by Forster following Sanchez’s cross.  The pattern was set, and while Arsenal continued to have most of the ball, Southampton’s defence was solid and they also always retained their threat. Cech made another save from James Ward-Prowse, and from the resulting corner, a header back across goal by Bertand was almost inadvertently turned in by Granit Xhaka. Oriol Romeu also shook Cech’s crossbar with a powerful dipping shot from 25 yards.  Arsenal’s supporters were becoming increasingly frustrated, and there were persistent chants for Jack Wilshere. But Danny Welbeck was Wenger’s choice when he did make his first change after 64 minutes, predictably replacing Mertesacker as Arsenal switched to a more attacking 4-2-3-1 formation.  They were almost immediately punished, with Laurent Koscielny and Nacho Monreal getting themselves into a mess and fortunate that Bertrand just lofted his finish wide after lifting the ball over Cech. Wenger did then bring on Wilshere for Xhaka in an attempt to add some cutting edge. Southampton, however, are a class above BATE Borisov, and Wilshere had nothing like the time or space that had allowed him to exert such influence on Thursday.  The more telling change was Giroud, whose introduction for Lacazette was still greeted with groans from Arsenal fans. Sanchez, who again kept losing possession, had just tested Forster with a curling free-kick before producing a perfectly weighted cross for Giroud to glance his header past Forster.  “We missed players in the box so I tried to bring it. This was a good point,” said Giroud, whose 17th goal as a substitute places him level with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on the all-time Premier League list.  It was just about what Arsenal deserved – but there is little doubt now that their Premier League season will again be about no more than fighting for a top-four place. 1:53PM Full time Arsenal salvage a point after looking all at sea in the first 15 minutes. They spent most of the second half huffing and puffing, probing around the box, and eventually made the breakthrough by virtue of a substitute's skill in the air. Plenty of positives for Saints, not so many for Arsenal who scrapped for their point but did little to persuade they can go any higher than fifth.  Credit: Catherine Ivill/Getty Images   1:51PM 90+3 min Gabbiadini goes up for the corner but is taken out by Cech who claims the ball before toppling the Italy striker. Arsenal break and are awarded a free-kick.  1:50PM  90+2 min Francis Benali anoints Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg as man of the match and it is he who earns Saints a late corner with a fizzed pass from centre down the left.  1:48PM 90+1 min The first of four minutes of added time end with Wilshere charging down a Boufal shot.  1:48PM 90 min Ozil dawdles on the ball during a break, taking too long to assess his options and ending up lost down a cul de sac when Welbeck had peeled off into a promising position on the left. He was waiting for Bellerin, I assume, who was detained 1:46PM 89 min Wilshere goes through Gabbiadini from behind and cuts him off the the ankles. Yellow card.  Olivier Giroud leaps to steer the equaliser past Van Dijk and Forster Credit: REUTERS/Dylan Martinez   1:46PM 88 min That's a terrific header from the substitute, who leapt to steer it deftly inside the left post when picked out by Sanchez's artful inswinging right-foot cross from the left.  Southampton 1 - 1 Arsenal (Olivier Giroud, 88 min)   1:44PM GOAL!! Southampton 1-1 Arsenal (Giroud) 1:43PM 86 min Gabbiadini on for Austin who leaves to a hero's ovation.  1:43PM 84 min Daft, yellow-card worthy foul from Romeu on Wilshere gives Arsenal a free-kick maybe 23 yards out, just left of centre. Sanchez takes it and bends it over the wall. Forster leaps to his right to claw it away as it threatened to sneak in under the crossbar.  1:41PM 82 min Arsenal try to pass their way through the crowd in the Southampton box, first Wilshere, then Sanchez, then Ramsey but to no avail and Southampton break briskly. Boufal takes it on and hurries through the centre-circle. He should take it on but instead passes to Austin, who was offside and then inadvertently, I think, elbows Monreal in the face when the centre-back was trying to get the ball back to restart quickly.  1:38PM 81 min Stephens is booked for dallying over a throw-in.  1:37PM 79 min First booking of the match goes to Bellerin for manhandling Boufal with an octopus armed block after being beaten on the inside. Saints chip it into the box, beyond the Arsenal defensive line that let Van Dijk through solo. But the ball eludes him too as it sails towards Cech. Possession: Southampton vs Arsenal   1:34PM 77 min Arsene Wenger is involved in a heated discussion with the fourth official but I can't see anything to quibble with the referee about. Quibble with his own players, yes. Ah, it's timewasting he's protesting. Fair enough but even educated bees do it.  1:32PM 75 min Southampton sub: Boufal replaces Redmond. Van Dijk is awarded a free-kick when he has his achilles clipped with an impolite stab of the boot.  1:31PM 74 min Rubbish cross from Welbeck on the right, beats everyone in the box bar Ward-Prowse whose first touch flick it over Kolasinac and sets him off on an upfield run. He then picks out a tremendous pass up to Austin whose first touch from his suddenly cemented boots bludgeons it too close to Cech.  1:28PM 73 min Last Arsenal sub: Giroud on for Lacazette.  1:28PM 72 min Tadic shoulder barges Wilshere, cutting across the Arsenal midfielder and catching him in the chest to send him sprawling. Free kick.  1:26PM 70 min Wilshere's second touch is a chip over the top for Ozil's run. He was about five yards offside. Giroud is stripping, too.  1:26PM 69 min Arsenal substitution: Wilshere on for Xhaka.  1:25PM 68 min Monreal has a dig and bends a shot on to the left post and behind for a goalkick.   Miss: Southampton 1 - 0 Arsenal (Ryan Bertrand, 66 min)   1:24PM 66 min Bertrand misses from 12 yards. A difficult chance after being found by Tadic's lovely reverse pass in from the left. Cech was closing him down as he hit it on the angle with his left and it flashed wide of the post. Koscielny's errors again to blame.  1:22PM 65 min Welbeck goes out to the right and Ozil drops into a central No10 role. Koscielny gives the ball away and invites Southampton on to them.   1:20PM 64 min No, it's Mertesacker who comes off and Arsenal revert to a back four.  1:20PM 64 min Danny Welbeck sia bout to come on. Ozil or Sanchez, surely?  1:19PM 62 min Romeu, on a rare sortie, crashes a right-foot shot on to the crossbar.  Blocked Pass: Southampton 1 - 0 Arsenal (Pierre-Emile Højbjerg, 47 min)   1:18PM 61 min Saints break and have a three v three with the usual suspects but horse up the support work so they are eventually outnumbered. Arsenal counter swiftly but once more Sanchez, in rime shooting territory, goes for another threaded pass that misses the eye of the needle.   1:16PM 59 min Pellegrino in his technical area shows him precisely how to stun a ball with a lovely right-foot cushion when the ball flies out. Xhaka shoots from a corner, walloping a volley that Stephens intercepts.  1:14PM 57 min Sanchez 25 yards out ekes out a chink to shoot through with a dip of the shoulder and shuffling feet but chooses instead to ping it in to Lacazette by the penalty spot but under pressure he cannot trap it.  1:12PM 54 min Tadic, Redmond and Austin break quickly on the counter, well two of them were quick, one a rather more stately presence, until Redmond barrels a shot straight at Cech from 22 yards. Arsenal now break briskly back upfield and have the numbers but Ramsey's shot from the right slides harmlessly past the left post. Lacazette tried to gloss it by sliding in to deflect it in but couldn't reach it.  Miss: Southampton 1 - 0 Arsenal (Aaron Ramsey, 53 min)   1:10PM 52 min Arsenal almost pick the lock to send Kolasinac round the back from the left but Stephens and Ward-Prowse diligently read the throughball and both combine to tackle the left wing-back. Ward-Prowse gets up hobbling.  1:08PM 51 min Kolasinac's cross from the left is blocked out for a throw which he takes and passes back to Monreal while he stands his ground in an advanced position. Sanchez and Ozil find each other but Romeu and Hojbjerg are disciplined, stay close, hold their shape and spring out to intercept.  1:06PM 49 min Sanchez shapes to whack a Ray Parlour shot from 28 yards but bails out and skedaddles inside instead, passing to Kolasinac, the one Arsenal player who probably would channel Parlour and have a long-range pop. But he doesn't here. So they go back to trying to score the goal of the season with dainty passes.  1:05PM 47 min Romeu steers a pass out to the left for Redmond who skitter forward on the left but can't beat Bellerin. Arsenal come back up the right, concede, recover then play it to Ozil who bears down on the D, slips a pas to Lacazette whose shot is block-tackled. Arsenal come again, shifting the ball from side to side from 40 yards to 20 yards out and back again. Probing.  1:02PM 46 min Southampton kick off and whack it long up the right but it comes straight back at them so they go back to Forster who tries again.  12:48PM Half time An alarmingly dreadful start from Arsenal defensively could and probably should have left them three down, so getting to the break, when they have threatened Forster's goal five times, only one down, will probably be a relief. Southampton are playing very well and though Mertesacker has calmed down and stopped panicking every time Tadic runs at him, every player needs to up his game in the second half.  Southampton vs Arsenal shots on goal   12:46PM 44 min Rubbish pass from Xhaka threatens to allow Austin to put Redmond clear on goal but his pass from the centre-circle strikes the retreating Mertesacker on the back of the hand. Saints fans bellow for a free-kick but none is forthcoming so they console themselves by accusing Arsenal of a habitual tendency to cheat.  12:44PM 43 min Austin on the edge of the area and bursting through lacks the explosive pace to latch on to Bertrand's inviting pass, allowing Cech to smother it.  12:43PM 42 min A minute before Lacazette's effort Cech had made a fine diving-header clearance when Hojbjerg's long pass caught him in no man's land.  12:42PM 40 min Bellerin cuts the ball back from the right to Lacazette who makes a near-post run from the penalty spot. He gets there first, wraps his foot around it and spears a shot over the bar half a second before Yoshida wipes him out with a desperate slide.    12:40PM 38 min Southampton so far are concentrating in defence, not diving in when the Arsenal forwards crisply shift the ball between each other.    Charlie Austin, an old-fashioned celebration for an old-fashioned player Credit:  Matt Watson/Southampton FC via Getty Images   12:37PM 36 min Southampton work neat triangles on the left with Tadic, Hojbjerg and Bertrand. Bellerin twice has to block Bertrand's crosses which weren't deserving of the slick build-up play.  12:36PM 34 min Xhaka makes a vital tackle with a sliding scissor movement to stall Redmond's momentum when he had only the midfielder to beat and 25 yards of unoccupied grass ahead of him to run into.  12:33PM 32 min Ramsey fed from the right at the edge of the box, drills a curling low shot powerfully towards a spot just inside the right post. Forster, who was woeful against Newcastle, gets down smartly to tip it round the post.  Southampton vs Arsenal   12:32PM 31 min Arsenal counter quickly but Southampton, through Yoshida and Van Dijk, thwart first Kolasinac and then Ramsey.  12:31PM 29 min This one, from the right by Bertrand, ricochets through the box and Ward-Prowse picks it up on the left. He swerves and inswinger to the fr post where Redmond, a metre past it, had peeled off. He dinks it back on the volley to Van Dijk who has a swing at it but it bobbles safely through to Cech. Not without alarm, though.  12:28PM 27 min Ward-Prowse whips it in viciously with his right and it dips towards the far post. Cech slaps it over for a corner which leads to another after Xhaka's defensive header.  12:27PM 26 min Southampton snap into pressurising Arsenal by hounding the man in possession from the front, earning a throw when Koscielny loses his composure. From the re-start Xhaka's clumsy challenge on Bertrand concedes a free-kick by the left touchline, 25 yards upfield.  12:26PM 24 min Ramsey does a near perfect imitation of Lacazette's earlier disappointing effort at the edge of the box, controlling the ball superbly with hi body before turning adroitly and bottoming off the move with a tame shot straight down Forster's throat.  Credit: Action Images via Reuters/John Sibley    12:23PM 22 min Kolasinac chips a cross to the near post, Laczette makes the run but Van Dijk, who towers over him, blocks his path and Forster punches it clear, although without the force or precision he had hoped. Throw-in for Arsenal.  12:21PM 20 min Saints clear the corner after Lacazette finds juggling the ball with his leg at 90 degrees is, quite literally pop pickers, a bit of a stretch.  12:20PM 18 min Arsenal break at pace with Lacazette, Bellerin, Sanchez and Ozil. Lacazette plays it out to the left and moves into prime position to shoot but takes an extra touch when Bellerin fires the pass back at him which allows Hojbjerg to make the crucial tackle. Corner.  Possession: Southampton vs Arsenal   12:17PM 16 min Lacazette controls a chipped pass with his back to goal 18 yards out, swivels and turns Yoshida but doesn't connect properly with his shot, poking it low at Forster.  12:16PM 15 min A spell of possession has stemmed the Southampton onslaught.  12:15PM 13 min Ramsey overhits a left-foo diagonal that pushes Ozil too far wide but he retrieves the ball by the touchline, combines with Bellerin but Hojbjerg steps in to whip the ball away and send Redmond off up the flank. His control lets him down as he hurtles up the whitewash and briefly takes it out of play.  12:12PM 11 min Arsenal have had a couple of raids in the opening 10 minutes, the best when Kolasinac immediately after the goal went on a 60-yard dribble into the box before he was block-tackled by Stephens. But ever since their final ball has ended the move, particularly just now when Ozil's, intended for Lacazette, skipped too close to Forster.  Charlie Austin opens the scoring Credit: REUTERS/Dylan Martinez   12:09PM 8 min Here we go again. Redmond dices and slices Koscielny as he strides down the left, squares to Austin who rattles his shot against the woodwork. Have Saints created as many chances in their previous three games as they have in eight minutes here?   12:07PM 7 min Good Lord. Now Koscielny gives the ball away to Redmond with a dozy pass and is reprieved when Redmond steers a pass beyond him for Austin to run clear through on Cech by a questionable offside call.  12:06PM 5 min Southampton almost carve Arsenal apart again when Tadic skates forward, leaves Mertesacker for dead and slips another deft pass to Austin, this time outside the box. He takes a touch and drills a low shot that Cech drops quickly to smother. Mertesacker can't live with Tadic's movement.   12:04PM 3 min Mertesacker slips as Tadic glides past him, zipping in from the right wing, tacking horizontally across the 18-yard box before slipping a  reverse pass down the inside-right channel for Austin who was just onside and buried his shot from 12 yards. Southampton 1 - 0 Arsenal (Charlie Austin, 3 min)   12:02PM GOAL!! Southampton 1-0 Arsenal (Austin) 12:01PM 1 min Monreal bends a 50-yard ball up the left for Sanchez's run but Stephens, who is playing at right-back, heads him off and knocks the ball upfield for Tadic who had gone too soon and wandered offside.  12:00PM The weather Has done for Owen Hargreaves as co-com. Enter curry magnate Francis Benali. The sleet has abated and we're about to kick off.  11:56AM Pelllegrino says ... Stephens may start at right-back and all the briefings about a 3-4-3 were smoke.  11:45AM Formations Southampton have switched to a back three to match Arsenal's, which seems a waste of Ward-Prowse to me. If he's going to be shuttling up and down that flank and trying to deal with Kolasinac, Monreal and Sanchez he may well be overwhelmed. They played five at the back against Man City and held on at 1-1 for almost 20 minutes but at least then they had a European Championship-winning right back in place. Credit: BT SPORT  Pellegrino's Alaves side played with four at the back for all but a handful of games last season and when he switched to five against Real Madrid, they were still humped 4-1 and 3-0, though they did knock off Barcelona at the start of the campaign 2-1.  11:33AM Sadly ... There's not enough snow on the ground on the fairly temperate south coast to afford us the treat of an orange ball. But given that any colour seems to go these days, it could be anything. Those teams in black and white: Southampton Forster; Yoshida, Stephens, van Dijk, Bertrand;  Hojbjerg, Romeu; Ward-Prowse, Tadic, Redmond; Austin. Substitutes  McCarthy, Hoedt, Davis, Lemina, Boufal, Gabbiadini, Pied.  It's taters at St Mary's Credit: REUTERS/Dylan Martinez Arsenal Cech; Koscielny, Mertesacker, Monreal; Bellerin,  Ramsey, Xhaka, Kolasinac; Ozil, Sanchez; Lacazette.  Substitutes  Ospina, Wilshere, Giroud, Iwobi, Welbeck, Maitland-Niles,  Coquelin.  Referee Robert Madley (Leeds)  11:19AM Team news The teams are in! �� Here's how #SaintsFC line-up against #Arsenal this afternoon in the #PL: pic.twitter.com/KclQBRWiYi— Southampton FC (@SouthamptonFC) December 10, 2017 The waiting is over - here's our team for #SFCvAFCpic.twitter.com/04RatCAXwk— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) December 10, 2017   11:18AM Good morning And welcome to coverage of Southampton vs Arsenal from St Mary's. The last December meeting between the two in Hampshire two years ago left us with the indelible memory of Cuco Martina's cracker and a pulverising 4-0 home victory. A win would have put Arsenal top but when it came to it they wilted. Today, after that dismal  first 11 minutes against Manchester United, Arsenal again have to start from the beginning in terms of putting together a winning run. Southampton, much improved over recent weeks after those depressingly sterile early performances, ought to give them a proper midfield test with Romeu and Hojbjerg. Surprised that Mario Lemina isn't starting, I would have thought he would be ideal. 

Southampton 1 Arsenal 1: Olivier Giroud rescues a point after Charlie Austin terrorises chaotic defence

The Arsenal supporters who were delayed prior to kick-off at least had a good excuse. A combination of the typically erratic Sunday rail service and weather-induced traffic chaos was their explanation but, for the second successive week, their team’s defence was also inexplicably absent at the start of the match.  Yes, super-sub Olivier Giroud did later arrive to rescue a point with an 88th-minute header, but it was no exaggeration to say that Charlie Austin could have scored four times for Southampton in an extraordinary eight-minute opening burst. The similarities to Arsenal’s match against Manchester United last week were impossible to ignore, and after seeing his team drop valuable points despite again having around 70 per cent of possession, manager Arsene Wenger even admitted that the problem may have been psychological. “I felt that the Manchester United game played a bit of a part in the heads of our defenders,” he said. “They were a bit apprehensive to start. That’s why sometimes it’s not too good to talk about a problem because you create an even bigger one.”  Per Mertesacker endures a torrid return to the starting XI Credit: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images The positive for Arsenal was the benefit again of having such a distinct option off the bench as Giroud, whose goals to minutes ratio continues to overshadow most of his team-mates. With the January transfer window fast approaching, Wenger again also reiterated his opposition to the French striker leaving. “Why should we lose an important player?” he asked. “It’s up to us. He will start games.”  Austin had been similarly frustrated at a lack of starting opportunities at Southampton until his recent recall coincided with a wider improvement, and he finished emphatically here after three minutes. Arsenal captain Per Mertesacker had come back into the team following a thigh injury to Shkodran Mustafi but was easily dispossessed by Austin who then exchanged passes with Dusan Tadic before shooting confidently past Petr Cech.  The presence of Mertesacker seemed to have disorientated Arsenal defensively, and Southampton could and should soon have been further ahead. Austin was then released by Tadic after Mertesacker had again been caught, but Cech got down well to save his low shot.  Southampton celebrate Charlie Austin's early opening goal Credit: Action Images via Reuters/John Sibley  The Southampton striker was then only marginally offside after again getting behind the Arsenal defence before also hitting the post from a narrowly offside position after running onto Ryan Bertrand’s cross.  Austin has now scored four goals in his past four games but admitted that Southampton missed their big chance in that opening salvo. “We get the second and it’s over – one’s not enough in the Premier League,” he said.  Arsenal remained defensively vulnerable throughout, but they did eventually at least settle into a passing rhythm that allowed them to dominate possession.  Alexandre Lacazette had again been preferred to Giroud as the main striker and wasted an excellent counter-attacking chance when his heavy first touch just gave Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg sufficient time to make a goal-saving block. Southampton vs Arsenal shots on goal Aaron Ramsey did also almost equalise, but his low shot was quite brilliantly saved at his near-post by Forster following Sanchez’s cross.  The pattern was set, and while Arsenal continued to have most of the ball, Southampton’s defence was solid and they also always retained their threat. Cech made another save from James Ward-Prowse, and from the resulting corner, a header back across goal by Bertand was almost inadvertently turned in by Granit Xhaka. Oriol Romeu also shook Cech’s crossbar with a powerful dipping shot from 25 yards.  Arsenal’s supporters were becoming increasingly frustrated, and there were persistent chants for Jack Wilshere. But Danny Welbeck was Wenger’s choice when he did make his first change after 64 minutes, predictably replacing Mertesacker as Arsenal switched to a more attacking 4-2-3-1 formation.  They were almost immediately punished, with Laurent Koscielny and Nacho Monreal getting themselves into a mess and fortunate that Bertrand just lofted his finish wide after lifting the ball over Cech. Wenger did then bring on Wilshere for Xhaka in an attempt to add some cutting edge. Southampton, however, are a class above BATE Borisov, and Wilshere had nothing like the time or space that had allowed him to exert such influence on Thursday.  The more telling change was Giroud, whose introduction for Lacazette was still greeted with groans from Arsenal fans. Sanchez, who again kept losing possession, had just tested Forster with a curling free-kick before producing a perfectly weighted cross for Giroud to glance his header past Forster.  “We missed players in the box so I tried to bring it. This was a good point,” said Giroud, whose 17th goal as a substitute places him level with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on the all-time Premier League list.  It was just about what Arsenal deserved – but there is little doubt now that their Premier League season will again be about no more than fighting for a top-four place. 1:53PM Full time Arsenal salvage a point after looking all at sea in the first 15 minutes. They spent most of the second half huffing and puffing, probing around the box, and eventually made the breakthrough by virtue of a substitute's skill in the air. Plenty of positives for Saints, not so many for Arsenal who scrapped for their point but did little to persuade they can go any higher than fifth.  Credit: Catherine Ivill/Getty Images   1:51PM 90+3 min Gabbiadini goes up for the corner but is taken out by Cech who claims the ball before toppling the Italy striker. Arsenal break and are awarded a free-kick.  1:50PM  90+2 min Francis Benali anoints Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg as man of the match and it is he who earns Saints a late corner with a fizzed pass from centre down the left.  1:48PM 90+1 min The first of four minutes of added time end with Wilshere charging down a Boufal shot.  1:48PM 90 min Ozil dawdles on the ball during a break, taking too long to assess his options and ending up lost down a cul de sac when Welbeck had peeled off into a promising position on the left. He was waiting for Bellerin, I assume, who was detained 1:46PM 89 min Wilshere goes through Gabbiadini from behind and cuts him off the the ankles. Yellow card.  Olivier Giroud leaps to steer the equaliser past Van Dijk and Forster Credit: REUTERS/Dylan Martinez   1:46PM 88 min That's a terrific header from the substitute, who leapt to steer it deftly inside the left post when picked out by Sanchez's artful inswinging right-foot cross from the left.  Southampton 1 - 1 Arsenal (Olivier Giroud, 88 min)   1:44PM GOAL!! Southampton 1-1 Arsenal (Giroud) 1:43PM 86 min Gabbiadini on for Austin who leaves to a hero's ovation.  1:43PM 84 min Daft, yellow-card worthy foul from Romeu on Wilshere gives Arsenal a free-kick maybe 23 yards out, just left of centre. Sanchez takes it and bends it over the wall. Forster leaps to his right to claw it away as it threatened to sneak in under the crossbar.  1:41PM 82 min Arsenal try to pass their way through the crowd in the Southampton box, first Wilshere, then Sanchez, then Ramsey but to no avail and Southampton break briskly. Boufal takes it on and hurries through the centre-circle. He should take it on but instead passes to Austin, who was offside and then inadvertently, I think, elbows Monreal in the face when the centre-back was trying to get the ball back to restart quickly.  1:38PM 81 min Stephens is booked for dallying over a throw-in.  1:37PM 79 min First booking of the match goes to Bellerin for manhandling Boufal with an octopus armed block after being beaten on the inside. Saints chip it into the box, beyond the Arsenal defensive line that let Van Dijk through solo. But the ball eludes him too as it sails towards Cech. Possession: Southampton vs Arsenal   1:34PM 77 min Arsene Wenger is involved in a heated discussion with the fourth official but I can't see anything to quibble with the referee about. Quibble with his own players, yes. Ah, it's timewasting he's protesting. Fair enough but even educated bees do it.  1:32PM 75 min Southampton sub: Boufal replaces Redmond. Van Dijk is awarded a free-kick when he has his achilles clipped with an impolite stab of the boot.  1:31PM 74 min Rubbish cross from Welbeck on the right, beats everyone in the box bar Ward-Prowse whose first touch flick it over Kolasinac and sets him off on an upfield run. He then picks out a tremendous pass up to Austin whose first touch from his suddenly cemented boots bludgeons it too close to Cech.  1:28PM 73 min Last Arsenal sub: Giroud on for Lacazette.  1:28PM 72 min Tadic shoulder barges Wilshere, cutting across the Arsenal midfielder and catching him in the chest to send him sprawling. Free kick.  1:26PM 70 min Wilshere's second touch is a chip over the top for Ozil's run. He was about five yards offside. Giroud is stripping, too.  1:26PM 69 min Arsenal substitution: Wilshere on for Xhaka.  1:25PM 68 min Monreal has a dig and bends a shot on to the left post and behind for a goalkick.   Miss: Southampton 1 - 0 Arsenal (Ryan Bertrand, 66 min)   1:24PM 66 min Bertrand misses from 12 yards. A difficult chance after being found by Tadic's lovely reverse pass in from the left. Cech was closing him down as he hit it on the angle with his left and it flashed wide of the post. Koscielny's errors again to blame.  1:22PM 65 min Welbeck goes out to the right and Ozil drops into a central No10 role. Koscielny gives the ball away and invites Southampton on to them.   1:20PM 64 min No, it's Mertesacker who comes off and Arsenal revert to a back four.  1:20PM 64 min Danny Welbeck sia bout to come on. Ozil or Sanchez, surely?  1:19PM 62 min Romeu, on a rare sortie, crashes a right-foot shot on to the crossbar.  Blocked Pass: Southampton 1 - 0 Arsenal (Pierre-Emile Højbjerg, 47 min)   1:18PM 61 min Saints break and have a three v three with the usual suspects but horse up the support work so they are eventually outnumbered. Arsenal counter swiftly but once more Sanchez, in rime shooting territory, goes for another threaded pass that misses the eye of the needle.   1:16PM 59 min Pellegrino in his technical area shows him precisely how to stun a ball with a lovely right-foot cushion when the ball flies out. Xhaka shoots from a corner, walloping a volley that Stephens intercepts.  1:14PM 57 min Sanchez 25 yards out ekes out a chink to shoot through with a dip of the shoulder and shuffling feet but chooses instead to ping it in to Lacazette by the penalty spot but under pressure he cannot trap it.  1:12PM 54 min Tadic, Redmond and Austin break quickly on the counter, well two of them were quick, one a rather more stately presence, until Redmond barrels a shot straight at Cech from 22 yards. Arsenal now break briskly back upfield and have the numbers but Ramsey's shot from the right slides harmlessly past the left post. Lacazette tried to gloss it by sliding in to deflect it in but couldn't reach it.  Miss: Southampton 1 - 0 Arsenal (Aaron Ramsey, 53 min)   1:10PM 52 min Arsenal almost pick the lock to send Kolasinac round the back from the left but Stephens and Ward-Prowse diligently read the throughball and both combine to tackle the left wing-back. Ward-Prowse gets up hobbling.  1:08PM 51 min Kolasinac's cross from the left is blocked out for a throw which he takes and passes back to Monreal while he stands his ground in an advanced position. Sanchez and Ozil find each other but Romeu and Hojbjerg are disciplined, stay close, hold their shape and spring out to intercept.  1:06PM 49 min Sanchez shapes to whack a Ray Parlour shot from 28 yards but bails out and skedaddles inside instead, passing to Kolasinac, the one Arsenal player who probably would channel Parlour and have a long-range pop. But he doesn't here. So they go back to trying to score the goal of the season with dainty passes.  1:05PM 47 min Romeu steers a pass out to the left for Redmond who skitter forward on the left but can't beat Bellerin. Arsenal come back up the right, concede, recover then play it to Ozil who bears down on the D, slips a pas to Lacazette whose shot is block-tackled. Arsenal come again, shifting the ball from side to side from 40 yards to 20 yards out and back again. Probing.  1:02PM 46 min Southampton kick off and whack it long up the right but it comes straight back at them so they go back to Forster who tries again.  12:48PM Half time An alarmingly dreadful start from Arsenal defensively could and probably should have left them three down, so getting to the break, when they have threatened Forster's goal five times, only one down, will probably be a relief. Southampton are playing very well and though Mertesacker has calmed down and stopped panicking every time Tadic runs at him, every player needs to up his game in the second half.  Southampton vs Arsenal shots on goal   12:46PM 44 min Rubbish pass from Xhaka threatens to allow Austin to put Redmond clear on goal but his pass from the centre-circle strikes the retreating Mertesacker on the back of the hand. Saints fans bellow for a free-kick but none is forthcoming so they console themselves by accusing Arsenal of a habitual tendency to cheat.  12:44PM 43 min Austin on the edge of the area and bursting through lacks the explosive pace to latch on to Bertrand's inviting pass, allowing Cech to smother it.  12:43PM 42 min A minute before Lacazette's effort Cech had made a fine diving-header clearance when Hojbjerg's long pass caught him in no man's land.  12:42PM 40 min Bellerin cuts the ball back from the right to Lacazette who makes a near-post run from the penalty spot. He gets there first, wraps his foot around it and spears a shot over the bar half a second before Yoshida wipes him out with a desperate slide.    12:40PM 38 min Southampton so far are concentrating in defence, not diving in when the Arsenal forwards crisply shift the ball between each other.    Charlie Austin, an old-fashioned celebration for an old-fashioned player Credit:  Matt Watson/Southampton FC via Getty Images   12:37PM 36 min Southampton work neat triangles on the left with Tadic, Hojbjerg and Bertrand. Bellerin twice has to block Bertrand's crosses which weren't deserving of the slick build-up play.  12:36PM 34 min Xhaka makes a vital tackle with a sliding scissor movement to stall Redmond's momentum when he had only the midfielder to beat and 25 yards of unoccupied grass ahead of him to run into.  12:33PM 32 min Ramsey fed from the right at the edge of the box, drills a curling low shot powerfully towards a spot just inside the right post. Forster, who was woeful against Newcastle, gets down smartly to tip it round the post.  Southampton vs Arsenal   12:32PM 31 min Arsenal counter quickly but Southampton, through Yoshida and Van Dijk, thwart first Kolasinac and then Ramsey.  12:31PM 29 min This one, from the right by Bertrand, ricochets through the box and Ward-Prowse picks it up on the left. He swerves and inswinger to the fr post where Redmond, a metre past it, had peeled off. He dinks it back on the volley to Van Dijk who has a swing at it but it bobbles safely through to Cech. Not without alarm, though.  12:28PM 27 min Ward-Prowse whips it in viciously with his right and it dips towards the far post. Cech slaps it over for a corner which leads to another after Xhaka's defensive header.  12:27PM 26 min Southampton snap into pressurising Arsenal by hounding the man in possession from the front, earning a throw when Koscielny loses his composure. From the re-start Xhaka's clumsy challenge on Bertrand concedes a free-kick by the left touchline, 25 yards upfield.  12:26PM 24 min Ramsey does a near perfect imitation of Lacazette's earlier disappointing effort at the edge of the box, controlling the ball superbly with hi body before turning adroitly and bottoming off the move with a tame shot straight down Forster's throat.  Credit: Action Images via Reuters/John Sibley    12:23PM 22 min Kolasinac chips a cross to the near post, Laczette makes the run but Van Dijk, who towers over him, blocks his path and Forster punches it clear, although without the force or precision he had hoped. Throw-in for Arsenal.  12:21PM 20 min Saints clear the corner after Lacazette finds juggling the ball with his leg at 90 degrees is, quite literally pop pickers, a bit of a stretch.  12:20PM 18 min Arsenal break at pace with Lacazette, Bellerin, Sanchez and Ozil. Lacazette plays it out to the left and moves into prime position to shoot but takes an extra touch when Bellerin fires the pass back at him which allows Hojbjerg to make the crucial tackle. Corner.  Possession: Southampton vs Arsenal   12:17PM 16 min Lacazette controls a chipped pass with his back to goal 18 yards out, swivels and turns Yoshida but doesn't connect properly with his shot, poking it low at Forster.  12:16PM 15 min A spell of possession has stemmed the Southampton onslaught.  12:15PM 13 min Ramsey overhits a left-foo diagonal that pushes Ozil too far wide but he retrieves the ball by the touchline, combines with Bellerin but Hojbjerg steps in to whip the ball away and send Redmond off up the flank. His control lets him down as he hurtles up the whitewash and briefly takes it out of play.  12:12PM 11 min Arsenal have had a couple of raids in the opening 10 minutes, the best when Kolasinac immediately after the goal went on a 60-yard dribble into the box before he was block-tackled by Stephens. But ever since their final ball has ended the move, particularly just now when Ozil's, intended for Lacazette, skipped too close to Forster.  Charlie Austin opens the scoring Credit: REUTERS/Dylan Martinez   12:09PM 8 min Here we go again. Redmond dices and slices Koscielny as he strides down the left, squares to Austin who rattles his shot against the woodwork. Have Saints created as many chances in their previous three games as they have in eight minutes here?   12:07PM 7 min Good Lord. Now Koscielny gives the ball away to Redmond with a dozy pass and is reprieved when Redmond steers a pass beyond him for Austin to run clear through on Cech by a questionable offside call.  12:06PM 5 min Southampton almost carve Arsenal apart again when Tadic skates forward, leaves Mertesacker for dead and slips another deft pass to Austin, this time outside the box. He takes a touch and drills a low shot that Cech drops quickly to smother. Mertesacker can't live with Tadic's movement.   12:04PM 3 min Mertesacker slips as Tadic glides past him, zipping in from the right wing, tacking horizontally across the 18-yard box before slipping a  reverse pass down the inside-right channel for Austin who was just onside and buried his shot from 12 yards. Southampton 1 - 0 Arsenal (Charlie Austin, 3 min)   12:02PM GOAL!! Southampton 1-0 Arsenal (Austin) 12:01PM 1 min Monreal bends a 50-yard ball up the left for Sanchez's run but Stephens, who is playing at right-back, heads him off and knocks the ball upfield for Tadic who had gone too soon and wandered offside.  12:00PM The weather Has done for Owen Hargreaves as co-com. Enter curry magnate Francis Benali. The sleet has abated and we're about to kick off.  11:56AM Pelllegrino says ... Stephens may start at right-back and all the briefings about a 3-4-3 were smoke.  11:45AM Formations Southampton have switched to a back three to match Arsenal's, which seems a waste of Ward-Prowse to me. If he's going to be shuttling up and down that flank and trying to deal with Kolasinac, Monreal and Sanchez he may well be overwhelmed. They played five at the back against Man City and held on at 1-1 for almost 20 minutes but at least then they had a European Championship-winning right back in place. Credit: BT SPORT  Pellegrino's Alaves side played with four at the back for all but a handful of games last season and when he switched to five against Real Madrid, they were still humped 4-1 and 3-0, though they did knock off Barcelona at the start of the campaign 2-1.  11:33AM Sadly ... There's not enough snow on the ground on the fairly temperate south coast to afford us the treat of an orange ball. But given that any colour seems to go these days, it could be anything. Those teams in black and white: Southampton Forster; Yoshida, Stephens, van Dijk, Bertrand;  Hojbjerg, Romeu; Ward-Prowse, Tadic, Redmond; Austin. Substitutes  McCarthy, Hoedt, Davis, Lemina, Boufal, Gabbiadini, Pied.  It's taters at St Mary's Credit: REUTERS/Dylan Martinez Arsenal Cech; Koscielny, Mertesacker, Monreal; Bellerin,  Ramsey, Xhaka, Kolasinac; Ozil, Sanchez; Lacazette.  Substitutes  Ospina, Wilshere, Giroud, Iwobi, Welbeck, Maitland-Niles,  Coquelin.  Referee Robert Madley (Leeds)  11:19AM Team news The teams are in! �� Here's how #SaintsFC line-up against #Arsenal this afternoon in the #PL: pic.twitter.com/KclQBRWiYi— Southampton FC (@SouthamptonFC) December 10, 2017 The waiting is over - here's our team for #SFCvAFCpic.twitter.com/04RatCAXwk— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) December 10, 2017   11:18AM Good morning And welcome to coverage of Southampton vs Arsenal from St Mary's. The last December meeting between the two in Hampshire two years ago left us with the indelible memory of Cuco Martina's cracker and a pulverising 4-0 home victory. A win would have put Arsenal top but when it came to it they wilted. Today, after that dismal  first 11 minutes against Manchester United, Arsenal again have to start from the beginning in terms of putting together a winning run. Southampton, much improved over recent weeks after those depressingly sterile early performances, ought to give them a proper midfield test with Romeu and Hojbjerg. Surprised that Mario Lemina isn't starting, I would have thought he would be ideal. 

Southampton 1 Arsenal 1: Olivier Giroud rescues a point after Charlie Austin terrorises chaotic defence

The Arsenal supporters who were delayed prior to kick-off at least had a good excuse. A combination of the typically erratic Sunday rail service and weather-induced traffic chaos was their explanation but, for the second successive week, their team’s defence was also inexplicably absent at the start of the match.  Yes, super-sub Olivier Giroud did later arrive to rescue a point with an 88th-minute header, but it was no exaggeration to say that Charlie Austin could have scored four times for Southampton in an extraordinary eight-minute opening burst. The similarities to Arsenal’s match against Manchester United last week were impossible to ignore, and after seeing his team drop valuable points despite again having around 70 per cent of possession, manager Arsene Wenger even admitted that the problem may have been psychological. “I felt that the Manchester United game played a bit of a part in the heads of our defenders,” he said. “They were a bit apprehensive to start. That’s why sometimes it’s not too good to talk about a problem because you create an even bigger one.”  Per Mertesacker endures a torrid return to the starting XI Credit: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images The positive for Arsenal was the benefit again of having such a distinct option off the bench as Giroud, whose goals to minutes ratio continues to overshadow most of his team-mates. With the January transfer window fast approaching, Wenger again also reiterated his opposition to the French striker leaving. “Why should we lose an important player?” he asked. “It’s up to us. He will start games.”  Austin had been similarly frustrated at a lack of starting opportunities at Southampton until his recent recall coincided with a wider improvement, and he finished emphatically here after three minutes. Arsenal captain Per Mertesacker had come back into the team following a thigh injury to Shkodran Mustafi but was easily dispossessed by Austin who then exchanged passes with Dusan Tadic before shooting confidently past Petr Cech.  The presence of Mertesacker seemed to have disorientated Arsenal defensively, and Southampton could and should soon have been further ahead. Austin was then released by Tadic after Mertesacker had again been caught, but Cech got down well to save his low shot.  Southampton celebrate Charlie Austin's early opening goal Credit: Action Images via Reuters/John Sibley  The Southampton striker was then only marginally offside after again getting behind the Arsenal defence before also hitting the post from a narrowly offside position after running onto Ryan Bertrand’s cross.  Austin has now scored four goals in his past four games but admitted that Southampton missed their big chance in that opening salvo. “We get the second and it’s over – one’s not enough in the Premier League,” he said.  Arsenal remained defensively vulnerable throughout, but they did eventually at least settle into a passing rhythm that allowed them to dominate possession.  Alexandre Lacazette had again been preferred to Giroud as the main striker and wasted an excellent counter-attacking chance when his heavy first touch just gave Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg sufficient time to make a goal-saving block. Southampton vs Arsenal shots on goal Aaron Ramsey did also almost equalise, but his low shot was quite brilliantly saved at his near-post by Forster following Sanchez’s cross.  The pattern was set, and while Arsenal continued to have most of the ball, Southampton’s defence was solid and they also always retained their threat. Cech made another save from James Ward-Prowse, and from the resulting corner, a header back across goal by Bertand was almost inadvertently turned in by Granit Xhaka. Oriol Romeu also shook Cech’s crossbar with a powerful dipping shot from 25 yards.  Arsenal’s supporters were becoming increasingly frustrated, and there were persistent chants for Jack Wilshere. But Danny Welbeck was Wenger’s choice when he did make his first change after 64 minutes, predictably replacing Mertesacker as Arsenal switched to a more attacking 4-2-3-1 formation.  They were almost immediately punished, with Laurent Koscielny and Nacho Monreal getting themselves into a mess and fortunate that Bertrand just lofted his finish wide after lifting the ball over Cech. Wenger did then bring on Wilshere for Xhaka in an attempt to add some cutting edge. Southampton, however, are a class above BATE Borisov, and Wilshere had nothing like the time or space that had allowed him to exert such influence on Thursday.  The more telling change was Giroud, whose introduction for Lacazette was still greeted with groans from Arsenal fans. Sanchez, who again kept losing possession, had just tested Forster with a curling free-kick before producing a perfectly weighted cross for Giroud to glance his header past Forster.  “We missed players in the box so I tried to bring it. This was a good point,” said Giroud, whose 17th goal as a substitute places him level with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on the all-time Premier League list.  It was just about what Arsenal deserved – but there is little doubt now that their Premier League season will again be about no more than fighting for a top-four place. 1:53PM Full time Arsenal salvage a point after looking all at sea in the first 15 minutes. They spent most of the second half huffing and puffing, probing around the box, and eventually made the breakthrough by virtue of a substitute's skill in the air. Plenty of positives for Saints, not so many for Arsenal who scrapped for their point but did little to persuade they can go any higher than fifth.  Credit: Catherine Ivill/Getty Images   1:51PM 90+3 min Gabbiadini goes up for the corner but is taken out by Cech who claims the ball before toppling the Italy striker. Arsenal break and are awarded a free-kick.  1:50PM  90+2 min Francis Benali anoints Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg as man of the match and it is he who earns Saints a late corner with a fizzed pass from centre down the left.  1:48PM 90+1 min The first of four minutes of added time end with Wilshere charging down a Boufal shot.  1:48PM 90 min Ozil dawdles on the ball during a break, taking too long to assess his options and ending up lost down a cul de sac when Welbeck had peeled off into a promising position on the left. He was waiting for Bellerin, I assume, who was detained 1:46PM 89 min Wilshere goes through Gabbiadini from behind and cuts him off the the ankles. Yellow card.  Olivier Giroud leaps to steer the equaliser past Van Dijk and Forster Credit: REUTERS/Dylan Martinez   1:46PM 88 min That's a terrific header from the substitute, who leapt to steer it deftly inside the left post when picked out by Sanchez's artful inswinging right-foot cross from the left.  Southampton 1 - 1 Arsenal (Olivier Giroud, 88 min)   1:44PM GOAL!! Southampton 1-1 Arsenal (Giroud) 1:43PM 86 min Gabbiadini on for Austin who leaves to a hero's ovation.  1:43PM 84 min Daft, yellow-card worthy foul from Romeu on Wilshere gives Arsenal a free-kick maybe 23 yards out, just left of centre. Sanchez takes it and bends it over the wall. Forster leaps to his right to claw it away as it threatened to sneak in under the crossbar.  1:41PM 82 min Arsenal try to pass their way through the crowd in the Southampton box, first Wilshere, then Sanchez, then Ramsey but to no avail and Southampton break briskly. Boufal takes it on and hurries through the centre-circle. He should take it on but instead passes to Austin, who was offside and then inadvertently, I think, elbows Monreal in the face when the centre-back was trying to get the ball back to restart quickly.  1:38PM 81 min Stephens is booked for dallying over a throw-in.  1:37PM 79 min First booking of the match goes to Bellerin for manhandling Boufal with an octopus armed block after being beaten on the inside. Saints chip it into the box, beyond the Arsenal defensive line that let Van Dijk through solo. But the ball eludes him too as it sails towards Cech. Possession: Southampton vs Arsenal   1:34PM 77 min Arsene Wenger is involved in a heated discussion with the fourth official but I can't see anything to quibble with the referee about. Quibble with his own players, yes. Ah, it's timewasting he's protesting. Fair enough but even educated bees do it.  1:32PM 75 min Southampton sub: Boufal replaces Redmond. Van Dijk is awarded a free-kick when he has his achilles clipped with an impolite stab of the boot.  1:31PM 74 min Rubbish cross from Welbeck on the right, beats everyone in the box bar Ward-Prowse whose first touch flick it over Kolasinac and sets him off on an upfield run. He then picks out a tremendous pass up to Austin whose first touch from his suddenly cemented boots bludgeons it too close to Cech.  1:28PM 73 min Last Arsenal sub: Giroud on for Lacazette.  1:28PM 72 min Tadic shoulder barges Wilshere, cutting across the Arsenal midfielder and catching him in the chest to send him sprawling. Free kick.  1:26PM 70 min Wilshere's second touch is a chip over the top for Ozil's run. He was about five yards offside. Giroud is stripping, too.  1:26PM 69 min Arsenal substitution: Wilshere on for Xhaka.  1:25PM 68 min Monreal has a dig and bends a shot on to the left post and behind for a goalkick.   Miss: Southampton 1 - 0 Arsenal (Ryan Bertrand, 66 min)   1:24PM 66 min Bertrand misses from 12 yards. A difficult chance after being found by Tadic's lovely reverse pass in from the left. Cech was closing him down as he hit it on the angle with his left and it flashed wide of the post. Koscielny's errors again to blame.  1:22PM 65 min Welbeck goes out to the right and Ozil drops into a central No10 role. Koscielny gives the ball away and invites Southampton on to them.   1:20PM 64 min No, it's Mertesacker who comes off and Arsenal revert to a back four.  1:20PM 64 min Danny Welbeck sia bout to come on. Ozil or Sanchez, surely?  1:19PM 62 min Romeu, on a rare sortie, crashes a right-foot shot on to the crossbar.  Blocked Pass: Southampton 1 - 0 Arsenal (Pierre-Emile Højbjerg, 47 min)   1:18PM 61 min Saints break and have a three v three with the usual suspects but horse up the support work so they are eventually outnumbered. Arsenal counter swiftly but once more Sanchez, in rime shooting territory, goes for another threaded pass that misses the eye of the needle.   1:16PM 59 min Pellegrino in his technical area shows him precisely how to stun a ball with a lovely right-foot cushion when the ball flies out. Xhaka shoots from a corner, walloping a volley that Stephens intercepts.  1:14PM 57 min Sanchez 25 yards out ekes out a chink to shoot through with a dip of the shoulder and shuffling feet but chooses instead to ping it in to Lacazette by the penalty spot but under pressure he cannot trap it.  1:12PM 54 min Tadic, Redmond and Austin break quickly on the counter, well two of them were quick, one a rather more stately presence, until Redmond barrels a shot straight at Cech from 22 yards. Arsenal now break briskly back upfield and have the numbers but Ramsey's shot from the right slides harmlessly past the left post. Lacazette tried to gloss it by sliding in to deflect it in but couldn't reach it.  Miss: Southampton 1 - 0 Arsenal (Aaron Ramsey, 53 min)   1:10PM 52 min Arsenal almost pick the lock to send Kolasinac round the back from the left but Stephens and Ward-Prowse diligently read the throughball and both combine to tackle the left wing-back. Ward-Prowse gets up hobbling.  1:08PM 51 min Kolasinac's cross from the left is blocked out for a throw which he takes and passes back to Monreal while he stands his ground in an advanced position. Sanchez and Ozil find each other but Romeu and Hojbjerg are disciplined, stay close, hold their shape and spring out to intercept.  1:06PM 49 min Sanchez shapes to whack a Ray Parlour shot from 28 yards but bails out and skedaddles inside instead, passing to Kolasinac, the one Arsenal player who probably would channel Parlour and have a long-range pop. But he doesn't here. So they go back to trying to score the goal of the season with dainty passes.  1:05PM 47 min Romeu steers a pass out to the left for Redmond who skitter forward on the left but can't beat Bellerin. Arsenal come back up the right, concede, recover then play it to Ozil who bears down on the D, slips a pas to Lacazette whose shot is block-tackled. Arsenal come again, shifting the ball from side to side from 40 yards to 20 yards out and back again. Probing.  1:02PM 46 min Southampton kick off and whack it long up the right but it comes straight back at them so they go back to Forster who tries again.  12:48PM Half time An alarmingly dreadful start from Arsenal defensively could and probably should have left them three down, so getting to the break, when they have threatened Forster's goal five times, only one down, will probably be a relief. Southampton are playing very well and though Mertesacker has calmed down and stopped panicking every time Tadic runs at him, every player needs to up his game in the second half.  Southampton vs Arsenal shots on goal   12:46PM 44 min Rubbish pass from Xhaka threatens to allow Austin to put Redmond clear on goal but his pass from the centre-circle strikes the retreating Mertesacker on the back of the hand. Saints fans bellow for a free-kick but none is forthcoming so they console themselves by accusing Arsenal of a habitual tendency to cheat.  12:44PM 43 min Austin on the edge of the area and bursting through lacks the explosive pace to latch on to Bertrand's inviting pass, allowing Cech to smother it.  12:43PM 42 min A minute before Lacazette's effort Cech had made a fine diving-header clearance when Hojbjerg's long pass caught him in no man's land.  12:42PM 40 min Bellerin cuts the ball back from the right to Lacazette who makes a near-post run from the penalty spot. He gets there first, wraps his foot around it and spears a shot over the bar half a second before Yoshida wipes him out with a desperate slide.    12:40PM 38 min Southampton so far are concentrating in defence, not diving in when the Arsenal forwards crisply shift the ball between each other.    Charlie Austin, an old-fashioned celebration for an old-fashioned player Credit:  Matt Watson/Southampton FC via Getty Images   12:37PM 36 min Southampton work neat triangles on the left with Tadic, Hojbjerg and Bertrand. Bellerin twice has to block Bertrand's crosses which weren't deserving of the slick build-up play.  12:36PM 34 min Xhaka makes a vital tackle with a sliding scissor movement to stall Redmond's momentum when he had only the midfielder to beat and 25 yards of unoccupied grass ahead of him to run into.  12:33PM 32 min Ramsey fed from the right at the edge of the box, drills a curling low shot powerfully towards a spot just inside the right post. Forster, who was woeful against Newcastle, gets down smartly to tip it round the post.  Southampton vs Arsenal   12:32PM 31 min Arsenal counter quickly but Southampton, through Yoshida and Van Dijk, thwart first Kolasinac and then Ramsey.  12:31PM 29 min This one, from the right by Bertrand, ricochets through the box and Ward-Prowse picks it up on the left. He swerves and inswinger to the fr post where Redmond, a metre past it, had peeled off. He dinks it back on the volley to Van Dijk who has a swing at it but it bobbles safely through to Cech. Not without alarm, though.  12:28PM 27 min Ward-Prowse whips it in viciously with his right and it dips towards the far post. Cech slaps it over for a corner which leads to another after Xhaka's defensive header.  12:27PM 26 min Southampton snap into pressurising Arsenal by hounding the man in possession from the front, earning a throw when Koscielny loses his composure. From the re-start Xhaka's clumsy challenge on Bertrand concedes a free-kick by the left touchline, 25 yards upfield.  12:26PM 24 min Ramsey does a near perfect imitation of Lacazette's earlier disappointing effort at the edge of the box, controlling the ball superbly with hi body before turning adroitly and bottoming off the move with a tame shot straight down Forster's throat.  Credit: Action Images via Reuters/John Sibley    12:23PM 22 min Kolasinac chips a cross to the near post, Laczette makes the run but Van Dijk, who towers over him, blocks his path and Forster punches it clear, although without the force or precision he had hoped. Throw-in for Arsenal.  12:21PM 20 min Saints clear the corner after Lacazette finds juggling the ball with his leg at 90 degrees is, quite literally pop pickers, a bit of a stretch.  12:20PM 18 min Arsenal break at pace with Lacazette, Bellerin, Sanchez and Ozil. Lacazette plays it out to the left and moves into prime position to shoot but takes an extra touch when Bellerin fires the pass back at him which allows Hojbjerg to make the crucial tackle. Corner.  Possession: Southampton vs Arsenal   12:17PM 16 min Lacazette controls a chipped pass with his back to goal 18 yards out, swivels and turns Yoshida but doesn't connect properly with his shot, poking it low at Forster.  12:16PM 15 min A spell of possession has stemmed the Southampton onslaught.  12:15PM 13 min Ramsey overhits a left-foo diagonal that pushes Ozil too far wide but he retrieves the ball by the touchline, combines with Bellerin but Hojbjerg steps in to whip the ball away and send Redmond off up the flank. His control lets him down as he hurtles up the whitewash and briefly takes it out of play.  12:12PM 11 min Arsenal have had a couple of raids in the opening 10 minutes, the best when Kolasinac immediately after the goal went on a 60-yard dribble into the box before he was block-tackled by Stephens. But ever since their final ball has ended the move, particularly just now when Ozil's, intended for Lacazette, skipped too close to Forster.  Charlie Austin opens the scoring Credit: REUTERS/Dylan Martinez   12:09PM 8 min Here we go again. Redmond dices and slices Koscielny as he strides down the left, squares to Austin who rattles his shot against the woodwork. Have Saints created as many chances in their previous three games as they have in eight minutes here?   12:07PM 7 min Good Lord. Now Koscielny gives the ball away to Redmond with a dozy pass and is reprieved when Redmond steers a pass beyond him for Austin to run clear through on Cech by a questionable offside call.  12:06PM 5 min Southampton almost carve Arsenal apart again when Tadic skates forward, leaves Mertesacker for dead and slips another deft pass to Austin, this time outside the box. He takes a touch and drills a low shot that Cech drops quickly to smother. Mertesacker can't live with Tadic's movement.   12:04PM 3 min Mertesacker slips as Tadic glides past him, zipping in from the right wing, tacking horizontally across the 18-yard box before slipping a  reverse pass down the inside-right channel for Austin who was just onside and buried his shot from 12 yards. Southampton 1 - 0 Arsenal (Charlie Austin, 3 min)   12:02PM GOAL!! Southampton 1-0 Arsenal (Austin) 12:01PM 1 min Monreal bends a 50-yard ball up the left for Sanchez's run but Stephens, who is playing at right-back, heads him off and knocks the ball upfield for Tadic who had gone too soon and wandered offside.  12:00PM The weather Has done for Owen Hargreaves as co-com. Enter curry magnate Francis Benali. The sleet has abated and we're about to kick off.  11:56AM Pelllegrino says ... Stephens may start at right-back and all the briefings about a 3-4-3 were smoke.  11:45AM Formations Southampton have switched to a back three to match Arsenal's, which seems a waste of Ward-Prowse to me. If he's going to be shuttling up and down that flank and trying to deal with Kolasinac, Monreal and Sanchez he may well be overwhelmed. They played five at the back against Man City and held on at 1-1 for almost 20 minutes but at least then they had a European Championship-winning right back in place. Credit: BT SPORT  Pellegrino's Alaves side played with four at the back for all but a handful of games last season and when he switched to five against Real Madrid, they were still humped 4-1 and 3-0, though they did knock off Barcelona at the start of the campaign 2-1.  11:33AM Sadly ... There's not enough snow on the ground on the fairly temperate south coast to afford us the treat of an orange ball. But given that any colour seems to go these days, it could be anything. Those teams in black and white: Southampton Forster; Yoshida, Stephens, van Dijk, Bertrand;  Hojbjerg, Romeu; Ward-Prowse, Tadic, Redmond; Austin. Substitutes  McCarthy, Hoedt, Davis, Lemina, Boufal, Gabbiadini, Pied.  It's taters at St Mary's Credit: REUTERS/Dylan Martinez Arsenal Cech; Koscielny, Mertesacker, Monreal; Bellerin,  Ramsey, Xhaka, Kolasinac; Ozil, Sanchez; Lacazette.  Substitutes  Ospina, Wilshere, Giroud, Iwobi, Welbeck, Maitland-Niles,  Coquelin.  Referee Robert Madley (Leeds)  11:19AM Team news The teams are in! �� Here's how #SaintsFC line-up against #Arsenal this afternoon in the #PL: pic.twitter.com/KclQBRWiYi— Southampton FC (@SouthamptonFC) December 10, 2017 The waiting is over - here's our team for #SFCvAFCpic.twitter.com/04RatCAXwk— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) December 10, 2017   11:18AM Good morning And welcome to coverage of Southampton vs Arsenal from St Mary's. The last December meeting between the two in Hampshire two years ago left us with the indelible memory of Cuco Martina's cracker and a pulverising 4-0 home victory. A win would have put Arsenal top but when it came to it they wilted. Today, after that dismal  first 11 minutes against Manchester United, Arsenal again have to start from the beginning in terms of putting together a winning run. Southampton, much improved over recent weeks after those depressingly sterile early performances, ought to give them a proper midfield test with Romeu and Hojbjerg. Surprised that Mario Lemina isn't starting, I would have thought he would be ideal. 

Southampton 1 Arsenal 1: Olivier Giroud rescues a point after Charlie Austin terrorises chaotic defence

The Arsenal supporters who were delayed prior to kick-off at least had a good excuse. A combination of the typically erratic Sunday rail service and weather-induced traffic chaos was their explanation but, for the second successive week, their team’s defence was also inexplicably absent at the start of the match.  Yes, super-sub Olivier Giroud did later arrive to rescue a point with an 88th-minute header, but it was no exaggeration to say that Charlie Austin could have scored four times for Southampton in an extraordinary eight-minute opening burst. The similarities to Arsenal’s match against Manchester United last week were impossible to ignore, and after seeing his team drop valuable points despite again having around 70 per cent of possession, manager Arsene Wenger even admitted that the problem may have been psychological. “I felt that the Manchester United game played a bit of a part in the heads of our defenders,” he said. “They were a bit apprehensive to start. That’s why sometimes it’s not too good to talk about a problem because you create an even bigger one.”  Per Mertesacker endures a torrid return to the starting XI Credit: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images The positive for Arsenal was the benefit again of having such a distinct option off the bench as Giroud, whose goals to minutes ratio continues to overshadow most of his team-mates. With the January transfer window fast approaching, Wenger again also reiterated his opposition to the French striker leaving. “Why should we lose an important player?” he asked. “It’s up to us. He will start games.”  Austin had been similarly frustrated at a lack of starting opportunities at Southampton until his recent recall coincided with a wider improvement, and he finished emphatically here after three minutes. Arsenal captain Per Mertesacker had come back into the team following a thigh injury to Shkodran Mustafi but was easily dispossessed by Austin who then exchanged passes with Dusan Tadic before shooting confidently past Petr Cech.  The presence of Mertesacker seemed to have disorientated Arsenal defensively, and Southampton could and should soon have been further ahead. Austin was then released by Tadic after Mertesacker had again been caught, but Cech got down well to save his low shot.  Southampton celebrate Charlie Austin's early opening goal Credit: Action Images via Reuters/John Sibley  The Southampton striker was then only marginally offside after again getting behind the Arsenal defence before also hitting the post from a narrowly offside position after running onto Ryan Bertrand’s cross.  Austin has now scored four goals in his past four games but admitted that Southampton missed their big chance in that opening salvo. “We get the second and it’s over – one’s not enough in the Premier League,” he said.  Arsenal remained defensively vulnerable throughout, but they did eventually at least settle into a passing rhythm that allowed them to dominate possession.  Alexandre Lacazette had again been preferred to Giroud as the main striker and wasted an excellent counter-attacking chance when his heavy first touch just gave Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg sufficient time to make a goal-saving block. Southampton vs Arsenal shots on goal Aaron Ramsey did also almost equalise, but his low shot was quite brilliantly saved at his near-post by Forster following Sanchez’s cross.  The pattern was set, and while Arsenal continued to have most of the ball, Southampton’s defence was solid and they also always retained their threat. Cech made another save from James Ward-Prowse, and from the resulting corner, a header back across goal by Bertand was almost inadvertently turned in by Granit Xhaka. Oriol Romeu also shook Cech’s crossbar with a powerful dipping shot from 25 yards.  Arsenal’s supporters were becoming increasingly frustrated, and there were persistent chants for Jack Wilshere. But Danny Welbeck was Wenger’s choice when he did make his first change after 64 minutes, predictably replacing Mertesacker as Arsenal switched to a more attacking 4-2-3-1 formation.  They were almost immediately punished, with Laurent Koscielny and Nacho Monreal getting themselves into a mess and fortunate that Bertrand just lofted his finish wide after lifting the ball over Cech. Wenger did then bring on Wilshere for Xhaka in an attempt to add some cutting edge. Southampton, however, are a class above BATE Borisov, and Wilshere had nothing like the time or space that had allowed him to exert such influence on Thursday.  The more telling change was Giroud, whose introduction for Lacazette was still greeted with groans from Arsenal fans. Sanchez, who again kept losing possession, had just tested Forster with a curling free-kick before producing a perfectly weighted cross for Giroud to glance his header past Forster.  “We missed players in the box so I tried to bring it. This was a good point,” said Giroud, whose 17th goal as a substitute places him level with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on the all-time Premier League list.  It was just about what Arsenal deserved – but there is little doubt now that their Premier League season will again be about no more than fighting for a top-four place. 1:53PM Full time Arsenal salvage a point after looking all at sea in the first 15 minutes. They spent most of the second half huffing and puffing, probing around the box, and eventually made the breakthrough by virtue of a substitute's skill in the air. Plenty of positives for Saints, not so many for Arsenal who scrapped for their point but did little to persuade they can go any higher than fifth.  Credit: Catherine Ivill/Getty Images   1:51PM 90+3 min Gabbiadini goes up for the corner but is taken out by Cech who claims the ball before toppling the Italy striker. Arsenal break and are awarded a free-kick.  1:50PM  90+2 min Francis Benali anoints Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg as man of the match and it is he who earns Saints a late corner with a fizzed pass from centre down the left.  1:48PM 90+1 min The first of four minutes of added time end with Wilshere charging down a Boufal shot.  1:48PM 90 min Ozil dawdles on the ball during a break, taking too long to assess his options and ending up lost down a cul de sac when Welbeck had peeled off into a promising position on the left. He was waiting for Bellerin, I assume, who was detained 1:46PM 89 min Wilshere goes through Gabbiadini from behind and cuts him off the the ankles. Yellow card.  Olivier Giroud leaps to steer the equaliser past Van Dijk and Forster Credit: REUTERS/Dylan Martinez   1:46PM 88 min That's a terrific header from the substitute, who leapt to steer it deftly inside the left post when picked out by Sanchez's artful inswinging right-foot cross from the left.  Southampton 1 - 1 Arsenal (Olivier Giroud, 88 min)   1:44PM GOAL!! Southampton 1-1 Arsenal (Giroud) 1:43PM 86 min Gabbiadini on for Austin who leaves to a hero's ovation.  1:43PM 84 min Daft, yellow-card worthy foul from Romeu on Wilshere gives Arsenal a free-kick maybe 23 yards out, just left of centre. Sanchez takes it and bends it over the wall. Forster leaps to his right to claw it away as it threatened to sneak in under the crossbar.  1:41PM 82 min Arsenal try to pass their way through the crowd in the Southampton box, first Wilshere, then Sanchez, then Ramsey but to no avail and Southampton break briskly. Boufal takes it on and hurries through the centre-circle. He should take it on but instead passes to Austin, who was offside and then inadvertently, I think, elbows Monreal in the face when the centre-back was trying to get the ball back to restart quickly.  1:38PM 81 min Stephens is booked for dallying over a throw-in.  1:37PM 79 min First booking of the match goes to Bellerin for manhandling Boufal with an octopus armed block after being beaten on the inside. Saints chip it into the box, beyond the Arsenal defensive line that let Van Dijk through solo. But the ball eludes him too as it sails towards Cech. Possession: Southampton vs Arsenal   1:34PM 77 min Arsene Wenger is involved in a heated discussion with the fourth official but I can't see anything to quibble with the referee about. Quibble with his own players, yes. Ah, it's timewasting he's protesting. Fair enough but even educated bees do it.  1:32PM 75 min Southampton sub: Boufal replaces Redmond. Van Dijk is awarded a free-kick when he has his achilles clipped with an impolite stab of the boot.  1:31PM 74 min Rubbish cross from Welbeck on the right, beats everyone in the box bar Ward-Prowse whose first touch flick it over Kolasinac and sets him off on an upfield run. He then picks out a tremendous pass up to Austin whose first touch from his suddenly cemented boots bludgeons it too close to Cech.  1:28PM 73 min Last Arsenal sub: Giroud on for Lacazette.  1:28PM 72 min Tadic shoulder barges Wilshere, cutting across the Arsenal midfielder and catching him in the chest to send him sprawling. Free kick.  1:26PM 70 min Wilshere's second touch is a chip over the top for Ozil's run. He was about five yards offside. Giroud is stripping, too.  1:26PM 69 min Arsenal substitution: Wilshere on for Xhaka.  1:25PM 68 min Monreal has a dig and bends a shot on to the left post and behind for a goalkick.   Miss: Southampton 1 - 0 Arsenal (Ryan Bertrand, 66 min)   1:24PM 66 min Bertrand misses from 12 yards. A difficult chance after being found by Tadic's lovely reverse pass in from the left. Cech was closing him down as he hit it on the angle with his left and it flashed wide of the post. Koscielny's errors again to blame.  1:22PM 65 min Welbeck goes out to the right and Ozil drops into a central No10 role. Koscielny gives the ball away and invites Southampton on to them.   1:20PM 64 min No, it's Mertesacker who comes off and Arsenal revert to a back four.  1:20PM 64 min Danny Welbeck sia bout to come on. Ozil or Sanchez, surely?  1:19PM 62 min Romeu, on a rare sortie, crashes a right-foot shot on to the crossbar.  Blocked Pass: Southampton 1 - 0 Arsenal (Pierre-Emile Højbjerg, 47 min)   1:18PM 61 min Saints break and have a three v three with the usual suspects but horse up the support work so they are eventually outnumbered. Arsenal counter swiftly but once more Sanchez, in rime shooting territory, goes for another threaded pass that misses the eye of the needle.   1:16PM 59 min Pellegrino in his technical area shows him precisely how to stun a ball with a lovely right-foot cushion when the ball flies out. Xhaka shoots from a corner, walloping a volley that Stephens intercepts.  1:14PM 57 min Sanchez 25 yards out ekes out a chink to shoot through with a dip of the shoulder and shuffling feet but chooses instead to ping it in to Lacazette by the penalty spot but under pressure he cannot trap it.  1:12PM 54 min Tadic, Redmond and Austin break quickly on the counter, well two of them were quick, one a rather more stately presence, until Redmond barrels a shot straight at Cech from 22 yards. Arsenal now break briskly back upfield and have the numbers but Ramsey's shot from the right slides harmlessly past the left post. Lacazette tried to gloss it by sliding in to deflect it in but couldn't reach it.  Miss: Southampton 1 - 0 Arsenal (Aaron Ramsey, 53 min)   1:10PM 52 min Arsenal almost pick the lock to send Kolasinac round the back from the left but Stephens and Ward-Prowse diligently read the throughball and both combine to tackle the left wing-back. Ward-Prowse gets up hobbling.  1:08PM 51 min Kolasinac's cross from the left is blocked out for a throw which he takes and passes back to Monreal while he stands his ground in an advanced position. Sanchez and Ozil find each other but Romeu and Hojbjerg are disciplined, stay close, hold their shape and spring out to intercept.  1:06PM 49 min Sanchez shapes to whack a Ray Parlour shot from 28 yards but bails out and skedaddles inside instead, passing to Kolasinac, the one Arsenal player who probably would channel Parlour and have a long-range pop. But he doesn't here. So they go back to trying to score the goal of the season with dainty passes.  1:05PM 47 min Romeu steers a pass out to the left for Redmond who skitter forward on the left but can't beat Bellerin. Arsenal come back up the right, concede, recover then play it to Ozil who bears down on the D, slips a pas to Lacazette whose shot is block-tackled. Arsenal come again, shifting the ball from side to side from 40 yards to 20 yards out and back again. Probing.  1:02PM 46 min Southampton kick off and whack it long up the right but it comes straight back at them so they go back to Forster who tries again.  12:48PM Half time An alarmingly dreadful start from Arsenal defensively could and probably should have left them three down, so getting to the break, when they have threatened Forster's goal five times, only one down, will probably be a relief. Southampton are playing very well and though Mertesacker has calmed down and stopped panicking every time Tadic runs at him, every player needs to up his game in the second half.  Southampton vs Arsenal shots on goal   12:46PM 44 min Rubbish pass from Xhaka threatens to allow Austin to put Redmond clear on goal but his pass from the centre-circle strikes the retreating Mertesacker on the back of the hand. Saints fans bellow for a free-kick but none is forthcoming so they console themselves by accusing Arsenal of a habitual tendency to cheat.  12:44PM 43 min Austin on the edge of the area and bursting through lacks the explosive pace to latch on to Bertrand's inviting pass, allowing Cech to smother it.  12:43PM 42 min A minute before Lacazette's effort Cech had made a fine diving-header clearance when Hojbjerg's long pass caught him in no man's land.  12:42PM 40 min Bellerin cuts the ball back from the right to Lacazette who makes a near-post run from the penalty spot. He gets there first, wraps his foot around it and spears a shot over the bar half a second before Yoshida wipes him out with a desperate slide.    12:40PM 38 min Southampton so far are concentrating in defence, not diving in when the Arsenal forwards crisply shift the ball between each other.    Charlie Austin, an old-fashioned celebration for an old-fashioned player Credit:  Matt Watson/Southampton FC via Getty Images   12:37PM 36 min Southampton work neat triangles on the left with Tadic, Hojbjerg and Bertrand. Bellerin twice has to block Bertrand's crosses which weren't deserving of the slick build-up play.  12:36PM 34 min Xhaka makes a vital tackle with a sliding scissor movement to stall Redmond's momentum when he had only the midfielder to beat and 25 yards of unoccupied grass ahead of him to run into.  12:33PM 32 min Ramsey fed from the right at the edge of the box, drills a curling low shot powerfully towards a spot just inside the right post. Forster, who was woeful against Newcastle, gets down smartly to tip it round the post.  Southampton vs Arsenal   12:32PM 31 min Arsenal counter quickly but Southampton, through Yoshida and Van Dijk, thwart first Kolasinac and then Ramsey.  12:31PM 29 min This one, from the right by Bertrand, ricochets through the box and Ward-Prowse picks it up on the left. He swerves and inswinger to the fr post where Redmond, a metre past it, had peeled off. He dinks it back on the volley to Van Dijk who has a swing at it but it bobbles safely through to Cech. Not without alarm, though.  12:28PM 27 min Ward-Prowse whips it in viciously with his right and it dips towards the far post. Cech slaps it over for a corner which leads to another after Xhaka's defensive header.  12:27PM 26 min Southampton snap into pressurising Arsenal by hounding the man in possession from the front, earning a throw when Koscielny loses his composure. From the re-start Xhaka's clumsy challenge on Bertrand concedes a free-kick by the left touchline, 25 yards upfield.  12:26PM 24 min Ramsey does a near perfect imitation of Lacazette's earlier disappointing effort at the edge of the box, controlling the ball superbly with hi body before turning adroitly and bottoming off the move with a tame shot straight down Forster's throat.  Credit: Action Images via Reuters/John Sibley    12:23PM 22 min Kolasinac chips a cross to the near post, Laczette makes the run but Van Dijk, who towers over him, blocks his path and Forster punches it clear, although without the force or precision he had hoped. Throw-in for Arsenal.  12:21PM 20 min Saints clear the corner after Lacazette finds juggling the ball with his leg at 90 degrees is, quite literally pop pickers, a bit of a stretch.  12:20PM 18 min Arsenal break at pace with Lacazette, Bellerin, Sanchez and Ozil. Lacazette plays it out to the left and moves into prime position to shoot but takes an extra touch when Bellerin fires the pass back at him which allows Hojbjerg to make the crucial tackle. Corner.  Possession: Southampton vs Arsenal   12:17PM 16 min Lacazette controls a chipped pass with his back to goal 18 yards out, swivels and turns Yoshida but doesn't connect properly with his shot, poking it low at Forster.  12:16PM 15 min A spell of possession has stemmed the Southampton onslaught.  12:15PM 13 min Ramsey overhits a left-foo diagonal that pushes Ozil too far wide but he retrieves the ball by the touchline, combines with Bellerin but Hojbjerg steps in to whip the ball away and send Redmond off up the flank. His control lets him down as he hurtles up the whitewash and briefly takes it out of play.  12:12PM 11 min Arsenal have had a couple of raids in the opening 10 minutes, the best when Kolasinac immediately after the goal went on a 60-yard dribble into the box before he was block-tackled by Stephens. But ever since their final ball has ended the move, particularly just now when Ozil's, intended for Lacazette, skipped too close to Forster.  Charlie Austin opens the scoring Credit: REUTERS/Dylan Martinez   12:09PM 8 min Here we go again. Redmond dices and slices Koscielny as he strides down the left, squares to Austin who rattles his shot against the woodwork. Have Saints created as many chances in their previous three games as they have in eight minutes here?   12:07PM 7 min Good Lord. Now Koscielny gives the ball away to Redmond with a dozy pass and is reprieved when Redmond steers a pass beyond him for Austin to run clear through on Cech by a questionable offside call.  12:06PM 5 min Southampton almost carve Arsenal apart again when Tadic skates forward, leaves Mertesacker for dead and slips another deft pass to Austin, this time outside the box. He takes a touch and drills a low shot that Cech drops quickly to smother. Mertesacker can't live with Tadic's movement.   12:04PM 3 min Mertesacker slips as Tadic glides past him, zipping in from the right wing, tacking horizontally across the 18-yard box before slipping a  reverse pass down the inside-right channel for Austin who was just onside and buried his shot from 12 yards. Southampton 1 - 0 Arsenal (Charlie Austin, 3 min)   12:02PM GOAL!! Southampton 1-0 Arsenal (Austin) 12:01PM 1 min Monreal bends a 50-yard ball up the left for Sanchez's run but Stephens, who is playing at right-back, heads him off and knocks the ball upfield for Tadic who had gone too soon and wandered offside.  12:00PM The weather Has done for Owen Hargreaves as co-com. Enter curry magnate Francis Benali. The sleet has abated and we're about to kick off.  11:56AM Pelllegrino says ... Stephens may start at right-back and all the briefings about a 3-4-3 were smoke.  11:45AM Formations Southampton have switched to a back three to match Arsenal's, which seems a waste of Ward-Prowse to me. If he's going to be shuttling up and down that flank and trying to deal with Kolasinac, Monreal and Sanchez he may well be overwhelmed. They played five at the back against Man City and held on at 1-1 for almost 20 minutes but at least then they had a European Championship-winning right back in place. Credit: BT SPORT  Pellegrino's Alaves side played with four at the back for all but a handful of games last season and when he switched to five against Real Madrid, they were still humped 4-1 and 3-0, though they did knock off Barcelona at the start of the campaign 2-1.  11:33AM Sadly ... There's not enough snow on the ground on the fairly temperate south coast to afford us the treat of an orange ball. But given that any colour seems to go these days, it could be anything. Those teams in black and white: Southampton Forster; Yoshida, Stephens, van Dijk, Bertrand;  Hojbjerg, Romeu; Ward-Prowse, Tadic, Redmond; Austin. Substitutes  McCarthy, Hoedt, Davis, Lemina, Boufal, Gabbiadini, Pied.  It's taters at St Mary's Credit: REUTERS/Dylan Martinez Arsenal Cech; Koscielny, Mertesacker, Monreal; Bellerin,  Ramsey, Xhaka, Kolasinac; Ozil, Sanchez; Lacazette.  Substitutes  Ospina, Wilshere, Giroud, Iwobi, Welbeck, Maitland-Niles,  Coquelin.  Referee Robert Madley (Leeds)  11:19AM Team news The teams are in! �� Here's how #SaintsFC line-up against #Arsenal this afternoon in the #PL: pic.twitter.com/KclQBRWiYi— Southampton FC (@SouthamptonFC) December 10, 2017 The waiting is over - here's our team for #SFCvAFCpic.twitter.com/04RatCAXwk— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) December 10, 2017   11:18AM Good morning And welcome to coverage of Southampton vs Arsenal from St Mary's. The last December meeting between the two in Hampshire two years ago left us with the indelible memory of Cuco Martina's cracker and a pulverising 4-0 home victory. A win would have put Arsenal top but when it came to it they wilted. Today, after that dismal  first 11 minutes against Manchester United, Arsenal again have to start from the beginning in terms of putting together a winning run. Southampton, much improved over recent weeks after those depressingly sterile early performances, ought to give them a proper midfield test with Romeu and Hojbjerg. Surprised that Mario Lemina isn't starting, I would have thought he would be ideal. 

Southampton 1 Arsenal 1: Olivier Giroud rescues a point after Charlie Austin terrorises chaotic defence

The Arsenal supporters who were delayed prior to kick-off at least had a good excuse. A combination of the typically erratic Sunday rail service and weather-induced traffic chaos was their explanation but, for the second successive week, their team’s defence was also inexplicably absent at the start of the match.  Yes, super-sub Olivier Giroud did later arrive to rescue a point with an 88th-minute header, but it was no exaggeration to say that Charlie Austin could have scored four times for Southampton in an extraordinary eight-minute opening burst. The similarities to Arsenal’s match against Manchester United last week were impossible to ignore, and after seeing his team drop valuable points despite again having around 70 per cent of possession, manager Arsene Wenger even admitted that the problem may have been psychological. “I felt that the Manchester United game played a bit of a part in the heads of our defenders,” he said. “They were a bit apprehensive to start. That’s why sometimes it’s not too good to talk about a problem because you create an even bigger one.”  Per Mertesacker endures a torrid return to the starting XI Credit: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images The positive for Arsenal was the benefit again of having such a distinct option off the bench as Giroud, whose goals to minutes ratio continues to overshadow most of his team-mates. With the January transfer window fast approaching, Wenger again also reiterated his opposition to the French striker leaving. “Why should we lose an important player?” he asked. “It’s up to us. He will start games.”  Austin had been similarly frustrated at a lack of starting opportunities at Southampton until his recent recall coincided with a wider improvement, and he finished emphatically here after three minutes. Arsenal captain Per Mertesacker had come back into the team following a thigh injury to Shkodran Mustafi but was easily dispossessed by Austin who then exchanged passes with Dusan Tadic before shooting confidently past Petr Cech.  The presence of Mertesacker seemed to have disorientated Arsenal defensively, and Southampton could and should soon have been further ahead. Austin was then released by Tadic after Mertesacker had again been caught, but Cech got down well to save his low shot.  Southampton celebrate Charlie Austin's early opening goal Credit: Action Images via Reuters/John Sibley  The Southampton striker was then only marginally offside after again getting behind the Arsenal defence before also hitting the post from a narrowly offside position after running onto Ryan Bertrand’s cross.  Austin has now scored four goals in his past four games but admitted that Southampton missed their big chance in that opening salvo. “We get the second and it’s over – one’s not enough in the Premier League,” he said.  Arsenal remained defensively vulnerable throughout, but they did eventually at least settle into a passing rhythm that allowed them to dominate possession.  Alexandre Lacazette had again been preferred to Giroud as the main striker and wasted an excellent counter-attacking chance when his heavy first touch just gave Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg sufficient time to make a goal-saving block. Southampton vs Arsenal shots on goal Aaron Ramsey did also almost equalise, but his low shot was quite brilliantly saved at his near-post by Forster following Sanchez’s cross.  The pattern was set, and while Arsenal continued to have most of the ball, Southampton’s defence was solid and they also always retained their threat. Cech made another save from James Ward-Prowse, and from the resulting corner, a header back across goal by Bertand was almost inadvertently turned in by Granit Xhaka. Oriol Romeu also shook Cech’s crossbar with a powerful dipping shot from 25 yards.  Arsenal’s supporters were becoming increasingly frustrated, and there were persistent chants for Jack Wilshere. But Danny Welbeck was Wenger’s choice when he did make his first change after 64 minutes, predictably replacing Mertesacker as Arsenal switched to a more attacking 4-2-3-1 formation.  They were almost immediately punished, with Laurent Koscielny and Nacho Monreal getting themselves into a mess and fortunate that Bertrand just lofted his finish wide after lifting the ball over Cech. Wenger did then bring on Wilshere for Xhaka in an attempt to add some cutting edge. Southampton, however, are a class above BATE Borisov, and Wilshere had nothing like the time or space that had allowed him to exert such influence on Thursday.  The more telling change was Giroud, whose introduction for Lacazette was still greeted with groans from Arsenal fans. Sanchez, who again kept losing possession, had just tested Forster with a curling free-kick before producing a perfectly weighted cross for Giroud to glance his header past Forster.  “We missed players in the box so I tried to bring it. This was a good point,” said Giroud, whose 17th goal as a substitute places him level with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on the all-time Premier League list.  It was just about what Arsenal deserved – but there is little doubt now that their Premier League season will again be about no more than fighting for a top-four place. 1:53PM Full time Arsenal salvage a point after looking all at sea in the first 15 minutes. They spent most of the second half huffing and puffing, probing around the box, and eventually made the breakthrough by virtue of a substitute's skill in the air. Plenty of positives for Saints, not so many for Arsenal who scrapped for their point but did little to persuade they can go any higher than fifth.  Credit: Catherine Ivill/Getty Images   1:51PM 90+3 min Gabbiadini goes up for the corner but is taken out by Cech who claims the ball before toppling the Italy striker. Arsenal break and are awarded a free-kick.  1:50PM  90+2 min Francis Benali anoints Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg as man of the match and it is he who earns Saints a late corner with a fizzed pass from centre down the left.  1:48PM 90+1 min The first of four minutes of added time end with Wilshere charging down a Boufal shot.  1:48PM 90 min Ozil dawdles on the ball during a break, taking too long to assess his options and ending up lost down a cul de sac when Welbeck had peeled off into a promising position on the left. He was waiting for Bellerin, I assume, who was detained 1:46PM 89 min Wilshere goes through Gabbiadini from behind and cuts him off the the ankles. Yellow card.  Olivier Giroud leaps to steer the equaliser past Van Dijk and Forster Credit: REUTERS/Dylan Martinez   1:46PM 88 min That's a terrific header from the substitute, who leapt to steer it deftly inside the left post when picked out by Sanchez's artful inswinging right-foot cross from the left.  Southampton 1 - 1 Arsenal (Olivier Giroud, 88 min)   1:44PM GOAL!! Southampton 1-1 Arsenal (Giroud) 1:43PM 86 min Gabbiadini on for Austin who leaves to a hero's ovation.  1:43PM 84 min Daft, yellow-card worthy foul from Romeu on Wilshere gives Arsenal a free-kick maybe 23 yards out, just left of centre. Sanchez takes it and bends it over the wall. Forster leaps to his right to claw it away as it threatened to sneak in under the crossbar.  1:41PM 82 min Arsenal try to pass their way through the crowd in the Southampton box, first Wilshere, then Sanchez, then Ramsey but to no avail and Southampton break briskly. Boufal takes it on and hurries through the centre-circle. He should take it on but instead passes to Austin, who was offside and then inadvertently, I think, elbows Monreal in the face when the centre-back was trying to get the ball back to restart quickly.  1:38PM 81 min Stephens is booked for dallying over a throw-in.  1:37PM 79 min First booking of the match goes to Bellerin for manhandling Boufal with an octopus armed block after being beaten on the inside. Saints chip it into the box, beyond the Arsenal defensive line that let Van Dijk through solo. But the ball eludes him too as it sails towards Cech. Possession: Southampton vs Arsenal   1:34PM 77 min Arsene Wenger is involved in a heated discussion with the fourth official but I can't see anything to quibble with the referee about. Quibble with his own players, yes. Ah, it's timewasting he's protesting. Fair enough but even educated bees do it.  1:32PM 75 min Southampton sub: Boufal replaces Redmond. Van Dijk is awarded a free-kick when he has his achilles clipped with an impolite stab of the boot.  1:31PM 74 min Rubbish cross from Welbeck on the right, beats everyone in the box bar Ward-Prowse whose first touch flick it over Kolasinac and sets him off on an upfield run. He then picks out a tremendous pass up to Austin whose first touch from his suddenly cemented boots bludgeons it too close to Cech.  1:28PM 73 min Last Arsenal sub: Giroud on for Lacazette.  1:28PM 72 min Tadic shoulder barges Wilshere, cutting across the Arsenal midfielder and catching him in the chest to send him sprawling. Free kick.  1:26PM 70 min Wilshere's second touch is a chip over the top for Ozil's run. He was about five yards offside. Giroud is stripping, too.  1:26PM 69 min Arsenal substitution: Wilshere on for Xhaka.  1:25PM 68 min Monreal has a dig and bends a shot on to the left post and behind for a goalkick.   Miss: Southampton 1 - 0 Arsenal (Ryan Bertrand, 66 min)   1:24PM 66 min Bertrand misses from 12 yards. A difficult chance after being found by Tadic's lovely reverse pass in from the left. Cech was closing him down as he hit it on the angle with his left and it flashed wide of the post. Koscielny's errors again to blame.  1:22PM 65 min Welbeck goes out to the right and Ozil drops into a central No10 role. Koscielny gives the ball away and invites Southampton on to them.   1:20PM 64 min No, it's Mertesacker who comes off and Arsenal revert to a back four.  1:20PM 64 min Danny Welbeck sia bout to come on. Ozil or Sanchez, surely?  1:19PM 62 min Romeu, on a rare sortie, crashes a right-foot shot on to the crossbar.  Blocked Pass: Southampton 1 - 0 Arsenal (Pierre-Emile Højbjerg, 47 min)   1:18PM 61 min Saints break and have a three v three with the usual suspects but horse up the support work so they are eventually outnumbered. Arsenal counter swiftly but once more Sanchez, in rime shooting territory, goes for another threaded pass that misses the eye of the needle.   1:16PM 59 min Pellegrino in his technical area shows him precisely how to stun a ball with a lovely right-foot cushion when the ball flies out. Xhaka shoots from a corner, walloping a volley that Stephens intercepts.  1:14PM 57 min Sanchez 25 yards out ekes out a chink to shoot through with a dip of the shoulder and shuffling feet but chooses instead to ping it in to Lacazette by the penalty spot but under pressure he cannot trap it.  1:12PM 54 min Tadic, Redmond and Austin break quickly on the counter, well two of them were quick, one a rather more stately presence, until Redmond barrels a shot straight at Cech from 22 yards. Arsenal now break briskly back upfield and have the numbers but Ramsey's shot from the right slides harmlessly past the left post. Lacazette tried to gloss it by sliding in to deflect it in but couldn't reach it.  Miss: Southampton 1 - 0 Arsenal (Aaron Ramsey, 53 min)   1:10PM 52 min Arsenal almost pick the lock to send Kolasinac round the back from the left but Stephens and Ward-Prowse diligently read the throughball and both combine to tackle the left wing-back. Ward-Prowse gets up hobbling.  1:08PM 51 min Kolasinac's cross from the left is blocked out for a throw which he takes and passes back to Monreal while he stands his ground in an advanced position. Sanchez and Ozil find each other but Romeu and Hojbjerg are disciplined, stay close, hold their shape and spring out to intercept.  1:06PM 49 min Sanchez shapes to whack a Ray Parlour shot from 28 yards but bails out and skedaddles inside instead, passing to Kolasinac, the one Arsenal player who probably would channel Parlour and have a long-range pop. But he doesn't here. So they go back to trying to score the goal of the season with dainty passes.  1:05PM 47 min Romeu steers a pass out to the left for Redmond who skitter forward on the left but can't beat Bellerin. Arsenal come back up the right, concede, recover then play it to Ozil who bears down on the D, slips a pas to Lacazette whose shot is block-tackled. Arsenal come again, shifting the ball from side to side from 40 yards to 20 yards out and back again. Probing.  1:02PM 46 min Southampton kick off and whack it long up the right but it comes straight back at them so they go back to Forster who tries again.  12:48PM Half time An alarmingly dreadful start from Arsenal defensively could and probably should have left them three down, so getting to the break, when they have threatened Forster's goal five times, only one down, will probably be a relief. Southampton are playing very well and though Mertesacker has calmed down and stopped panicking every time Tadic runs at him, every player needs to up his game in the second half.  Southampton vs Arsenal shots on goal   12:46PM 44 min Rubbish pass from Xhaka threatens to allow Austin to put Redmond clear on goal but his pass from the centre-circle strikes the retreating Mertesacker on the back of the hand. Saints fans bellow for a free-kick but none is forthcoming so they console themselves by accusing Arsenal of a habitual tendency to cheat.  12:44PM 43 min Austin on the edge of the area and bursting through lacks the explosive pace to latch on to Bertrand's inviting pass, allowing Cech to smother it.  12:43PM 42 min A minute before Lacazette's effort Cech had made a fine diving-header clearance when Hojbjerg's long pass caught him in no man's land.  12:42PM 40 min Bellerin cuts the ball back from the right to Lacazette who makes a near-post run from the penalty spot. He gets there first, wraps his foot around it and spears a shot over the bar half a second before Yoshida wipes him out with a desperate slide.    12:40PM 38 min Southampton so far are concentrating in defence, not diving in when the Arsenal forwards crisply shift the ball between each other.    Charlie Austin, an old-fashioned celebration for an old-fashioned player Credit:  Matt Watson/Southampton FC via Getty Images   12:37PM 36 min Southampton work neat triangles on the left with Tadic, Hojbjerg and Bertrand. Bellerin twice has to block Bertrand's crosses which weren't deserving of the slick build-up play.  12:36PM 34 min Xhaka makes a vital tackle with a sliding scissor movement to stall Redmond's momentum when he had only the midfielder to beat and 25 yards of unoccupied grass ahead of him to run into.  12:33PM 32 min Ramsey fed from the right at the edge of the box, drills a curling low shot powerfully towards a spot just inside the right post. Forster, who was woeful against Newcastle, gets down smartly to tip it round the post.  Southampton vs Arsenal   12:32PM 31 min Arsenal counter quickly but Southampton, through Yoshida and Van Dijk, thwart first Kolasinac and then Ramsey.  12:31PM 29 min This one, from the right by Bertrand, ricochets through the box and Ward-Prowse picks it up on the left. He swerves and inswinger to the fr post where Redmond, a metre past it, had peeled off. He dinks it back on the volley to Van Dijk who has a swing at it but it bobbles safely through to Cech. Not without alarm, though.  12:28PM 27 min Ward-Prowse whips it in viciously with his right and it dips towards the far post. Cech slaps it over for a corner which leads to another after Xhaka's defensive header.  12:27PM 26 min Southampton snap into pressurising Arsenal by hounding the man in possession from the front, earning a throw when Koscielny loses his composure. From the re-start Xhaka's clumsy challenge on Bertrand concedes a free-kick by the left touchline, 25 yards upfield.  12:26PM 24 min Ramsey does a near perfect imitation of Lacazette's earlier disappointing effort at the edge of the box, controlling the ball superbly with hi body before turning adroitly and bottoming off the move with a tame shot straight down Forster's throat.  Credit: Action Images via Reuters/John Sibley    12:23PM 22 min Kolasinac chips a cross to the near post, Laczette makes the run but Van Dijk, who towers over him, blocks his path and Forster punches it clear, although without the force or precision he had hoped. Throw-in for Arsenal.  12:21PM 20 min Saints clear the corner after Lacazette finds juggling the ball with his leg at 90 degrees is, quite literally pop pickers, a bit of a stretch.  12:20PM 18 min Arsenal break at pace with Lacazette, Bellerin, Sanchez and Ozil. Lacazette plays it out to the left and moves into prime position to shoot but takes an extra touch when Bellerin fires the pass back at him which allows Hojbjerg to make the crucial tackle. Corner.  Possession: Southampton vs Arsenal   12:17PM 16 min Lacazette controls a chipped pass with his back to goal 18 yards out, swivels and turns Yoshida but doesn't connect properly with his shot, poking it low at Forster.  12:16PM 15 min A spell of possession has stemmed the Southampton onslaught.  12:15PM 13 min Ramsey overhits a left-foo diagonal that pushes Ozil too far wide but he retrieves the ball by the touchline, combines with Bellerin but Hojbjerg steps in to whip the ball away and send Redmond off up the flank. His control lets him down as he hurtles up the whitewash and briefly takes it out of play.  12:12PM 11 min Arsenal have had a couple of raids in the opening 10 minutes, the best when Kolasinac immediately after the goal went on a 60-yard dribble into the box before he was block-tackled by Stephens. But ever since their final ball has ended the move, particularly just now when Ozil's, intended for Lacazette, skipped too close to Forster.  Charlie Austin opens the scoring Credit: REUTERS/Dylan Martinez   12:09PM 8 min Here we go again. Redmond dices and slices Koscielny as he strides down the left, squares to Austin who rattles his shot against the woodwork. Have Saints created as many chances in their previous three games as they have in eight minutes here?   12:07PM 7 min Good Lord. Now Koscielny gives the ball away to Redmond with a dozy pass and is reprieved when Redmond steers a pass beyond him for Austin to run clear through on Cech by a questionable offside call.  12:06PM 5 min Southampton almost carve Arsenal apart again when Tadic skates forward, leaves Mertesacker for dead and slips another deft pass to Austin, this time outside the box. He takes a touch and drills a low shot that Cech drops quickly to smother. Mertesacker can't live with Tadic's movement.   12:04PM 3 min Mertesacker slips as Tadic glides past him, zipping in from the right wing, tacking horizontally across the 18-yard box before slipping a  reverse pass down the inside-right channel for Austin who was just onside and buried his shot from 12 yards. Southampton 1 - 0 Arsenal (Charlie Austin, 3 min)   12:02PM GOAL!! Southampton 1-0 Arsenal (Austin) 12:01PM 1 min Monreal bends a 50-yard ball up the left for Sanchez's run but Stephens, who is playing at right-back, heads him off and knocks the ball upfield for Tadic who had gone too soon and wandered offside.  12:00PM The weather Has done for Owen Hargreaves as co-com. Enter curry magnate Francis Benali. The sleet has abated and we're about to kick off.  11:56AM Pelllegrino says ... Stephens may start at right-back and all the briefings about a 3-4-3 were smoke.  11:45AM Formations Southampton have switched to a back three to match Arsenal's, which seems a waste of Ward-Prowse to me. If he's going to be shuttling up and down that flank and trying to deal with Kolasinac, Monreal and Sanchez he may well be overwhelmed. They played five at the back against Man City and held on at 1-1 for almost 20 minutes but at least then they had a European Championship-winning right back in place. Credit: BT SPORT  Pellegrino's Alaves side played with four at the back for all but a handful of games last season and when he switched to five against Real Madrid, they were still humped 4-1 and 3-0, though they did knock off Barcelona at the start of the campaign 2-1.  11:33AM Sadly ... There's not enough snow on the ground on the fairly temperate south coast to afford us the treat of an orange ball. But given that any colour seems to go these days, it could be anything. Those teams in black and white: Southampton Forster; Yoshida, Stephens, van Dijk, Bertrand;  Hojbjerg, Romeu; Ward-Prowse, Tadic, Redmond; Austin. Substitutes  McCarthy, Hoedt, Davis, Lemina, Boufal, Gabbiadini, Pied.  It's taters at St Mary's Credit: REUTERS/Dylan Martinez Arsenal Cech; Koscielny, Mertesacker, Monreal; Bellerin,  Ramsey, Xhaka, Kolasinac; Ozil, Sanchez; Lacazette.  Substitutes  Ospina, Wilshere, Giroud, Iwobi, Welbeck, Maitland-Niles,  Coquelin.  Referee Robert Madley (Leeds)  11:19AM Team news The teams are in! �� Here's how #SaintsFC line-up against #Arsenal this afternoon in the #PL: pic.twitter.com/KclQBRWiYi— Southampton FC (@SouthamptonFC) December 10, 2017 The waiting is over - here's our team for #SFCvAFCpic.twitter.com/04RatCAXwk— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) December 10, 2017   11:18AM Good morning And welcome to coverage of Southampton vs Arsenal from St Mary's. The last December meeting between the two in Hampshire two years ago left us with the indelible memory of Cuco Martina's cracker and a pulverising 4-0 home victory. A win would have put Arsenal top but when it came to it they wilted. Today, after that dismal  first 11 minutes against Manchester United, Arsenal again have to start from the beginning in terms of putting together a winning run. Southampton, much improved over recent weeks after those depressingly sterile early performances, ought to give them a proper midfield test with Romeu and Hojbjerg. Surprised that Mario Lemina isn't starting, I would have thought he would be ideal. 

Southampton 1 Arsenal 1: Olivier Giroud rescues a point after Charlie Austin terrorises chaotic defence

The Arsenal supporters who were delayed prior to kick-off at least had a good excuse. A combination of the typically erratic Sunday rail service and weather-induced traffic chaos was their explanation but, for the second successive week, their team’s defence was also inexplicably absent at the start of the match.  Yes, super-sub Olivier Giroud did later arrive to rescue a point with an 88th-minute header, but it was no exaggeration to say that Charlie Austin could have scored four times for Southampton in an extraordinary eight-minute opening burst. The similarities to Arsenal’s match against Manchester United last week were impossible to ignore, and after seeing his team drop valuable points despite again having around 70 per cent of possession, manager Arsene Wenger even admitted that the problem may have been psychological. “I felt that the Manchester United game played a bit of a part in the heads of our defenders,” he said. “They were a bit apprehensive to start. That’s why sometimes it’s not too good to talk about a problem because you create an even bigger one.”  Per Mertesacker endures a torrid return to the starting XI Credit: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images The positive for Arsenal was the benefit again of having such a distinct option off the bench as Giroud, whose goals to minutes ratio continues to overshadow most of his team-mates. With the January transfer window fast approaching, Wenger again also reiterated his opposition to the French striker leaving. “Why should we lose an important player?” he asked. “It’s up to us. He will start games.”  Austin had been similarly frustrated at a lack of starting opportunities at Southampton until his recent recall coincided with a wider improvement, and he finished emphatically here after three minutes. Arsenal captain Per Mertesacker had come back into the team following a thigh injury to Shkodran Mustafi but was easily dispossessed by Austin who then exchanged passes with Dusan Tadic before shooting confidently past Petr Cech.  The presence of Mertesacker seemed to have disorientated Arsenal defensively, and Southampton could and should soon have been further ahead. Austin was then released by Tadic after Mertesacker had again been caught, but Cech got down well to save his low shot.  Southampton celebrate Charlie Austin's early opening goal Credit: Action Images via Reuters/John Sibley  The Southampton striker was then only marginally offside after again getting behind the Arsenal defence before also hitting the post from a narrowly offside position after running onto Ryan Bertrand’s cross.  Austin has now scored four goals in his past four games but admitted that Southampton missed their big chance in that opening salvo. “We get the second and it’s over – one’s not enough in the Premier League,” he said.  Arsenal remained defensively vulnerable throughout, but they did eventually at least settle into a passing rhythm that allowed them to dominate possession.  Alexandre Lacazette had again been preferred to Giroud as the main striker and wasted an excellent counter-attacking chance when his heavy first touch just gave Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg sufficient time to make a goal-saving block. Southampton vs Arsenal shots on goal Aaron Ramsey did also almost equalise, but his low shot was quite brilliantly saved at his near-post by Forster following Sanchez’s cross.  The pattern was set, and while Arsenal continued to have most of the ball, Southampton’s defence was solid and they also always retained their threat. Cech made another save from James Ward-Prowse, and from the resulting corner, a header back across goal by Bertand was almost inadvertently turned in by Granit Xhaka. Oriol Romeu also shook Cech’s crossbar with a powerful dipping shot from 25 yards.  Arsenal’s supporters were becoming increasingly frustrated, and there were persistent chants for Jack Wilshere. But Danny Welbeck was Wenger’s choice when he did make his first change after 64 minutes, predictably replacing Mertesacker as Arsenal switched to a more attacking 4-2-3-1 formation.  They were almost immediately punished, with Laurent Koscielny and Nacho Monreal getting themselves into a mess and fortunate that Bertrand just lofted his finish wide after lifting the ball over Cech. Wenger did then bring on Wilshere for Xhaka in an attempt to add some cutting edge. Southampton, however, are a class above BATE Borisov, and Wilshere had nothing like the time or space that had allowed him to exert such influence on Thursday.  The more telling change was Giroud, whose introduction for Lacazette was still greeted with groans from Arsenal fans. Sanchez, who again kept losing possession, had just tested Forster with a curling free-kick before producing a perfectly weighted cross for Giroud to glance his header past Forster.  “We missed players in the box so I tried to bring it. This was a good point,” said Giroud, whose 17th goal as a substitute places him level with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on the all-time Premier League list.  It was just about what Arsenal deserved – but there is little doubt now that their Premier League season will again be about no more than fighting for a top-four place. 1:53PM Full time Arsenal salvage a point after looking all at sea in the first 15 minutes. They spent most of the second half huffing and puffing, probing around the box, and eventually made the breakthrough by virtue of a substitute's skill in the air. Plenty of positives for Saints, not so many for Arsenal who scrapped for their point but did little to persuade they can go any higher than fifth.  Credit: Catherine Ivill/Getty Images   1:51PM 90+3 min Gabbiadini goes up for the corner but is taken out by Cech who claims the ball before toppling the Italy striker. Arsenal break and are awarded a free-kick.  1:50PM  90+2 min Francis Benali anoints Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg as man of the match and it is he who earns Saints a late corner with a fizzed pass from centre down the left.  1:48PM 90+1 min The first of four minutes of added time end with Wilshere charging down a Boufal shot.  1:48PM 90 min Ozil dawdles on the ball during a break, taking too long to assess his options and ending up lost down a cul de sac when Welbeck had peeled off into a promising position on the left. He was waiting for Bellerin, I assume, who was detained 1:46PM 89 min Wilshere goes through Gabbiadini from behind and cuts him off the the ankles. Yellow card.  Olivier Giroud leaps to steer the equaliser past Van Dijk and Forster Credit: REUTERS/Dylan Martinez   1:46PM 88 min That's a terrific header from the substitute, who leapt to steer it deftly inside the left post when picked out by Sanchez's artful inswinging right-foot cross from the left.  Southampton 1 - 1 Arsenal (Olivier Giroud, 88 min)   1:44PM GOAL!! Southampton 1-1 Arsenal (Giroud) 1:43PM 86 min Gabbiadini on for Austin who leaves to a hero's ovation.  1:43PM 84 min Daft, yellow-card worthy foul from Romeu on Wilshere gives Arsenal a free-kick maybe 23 yards out, just left of centre. Sanchez takes it and bends it over the wall. Forster leaps to his right to claw it away as it threatened to sneak in under the crossbar.  1:41PM 82 min Arsenal try to pass their way through the crowd in the Southampton box, first Wilshere, then Sanchez, then Ramsey but to no avail and Southampton break briskly. Boufal takes it on and hurries through the centre-circle. He should take it on but instead passes to Austin, who was offside and then inadvertently, I think, elbows Monreal in the face when the centre-back was trying to get the ball back to restart quickly.  1:38PM 81 min Stephens is booked for dallying over a throw-in.  1:37PM 79 min First booking of the match goes to Bellerin for manhandling Boufal with an octopus armed block after being beaten on the inside. Saints chip it into the box, beyond the Arsenal defensive line that let Van Dijk through solo. But the ball eludes him too as it sails towards Cech. Possession: Southampton vs Arsenal   1:34PM 77 min Arsene Wenger is involved in a heated discussion with the fourth official but I can't see anything to quibble with the referee about. Quibble with his own players, yes. Ah, it's timewasting he's protesting. Fair enough but even educated bees do it.  1:32PM 75 min Southampton sub: Boufal replaces Redmond. Van Dijk is awarded a free-kick when he has his achilles clipped with an impolite stab of the boot.  1:31PM 74 min Rubbish cross from Welbeck on the right, beats everyone in the box bar Ward-Prowse whose first touch flick it over Kolasinac and sets him off on an upfield run. He then picks out a tremendous pass up to Austin whose first touch from his suddenly cemented boots bludgeons it too close to Cech.  1:28PM 73 min Last Arsenal sub: Giroud on for Lacazette.  1:28PM 72 min Tadic shoulder barges Wilshere, cutting across the Arsenal midfielder and catching him in the chest to send him sprawling. Free kick.  1:26PM 70 min Wilshere's second touch is a chip over the top for Ozil's run. He was about five yards offside. Giroud is stripping, too.  1:26PM 69 min Arsenal substitution: Wilshere on for Xhaka.  1:25PM 68 min Monreal has a dig and bends a shot on to the left post and behind for a goalkick.   Miss: Southampton 1 - 0 Arsenal (Ryan Bertrand, 66 min)   1:24PM 66 min Bertrand misses from 12 yards. A difficult chance after being found by Tadic's lovely reverse pass in from the left. Cech was closing him down as he hit it on the angle with his left and it flashed wide of the post. Koscielny's errors again to blame.  1:22PM 65 min Welbeck goes out to the right and Ozil drops into a central No10 role. Koscielny gives the ball away and invites Southampton on to them.   1:20PM 64 min No, it's Mertesacker who comes off and Arsenal revert to a back four.  1:20PM 64 min Danny Welbeck sia bout to come on. Ozil or Sanchez, surely?  1:19PM 62 min Romeu, on a rare sortie, crashes a right-foot shot on to the crossbar.  Blocked Pass: Southampton 1 - 0 Arsenal (Pierre-Emile Højbjerg, 47 min)   1:18PM 61 min Saints break and have a three v three with the usual suspects but horse up the support work so they are eventually outnumbered. Arsenal counter swiftly but once more Sanchez, in rime shooting territory, goes for another threaded pass that misses the eye of the needle.   1:16PM 59 min Pellegrino in his technical area shows him precisely how to stun a ball with a lovely right-foot cushion when the ball flies out. Xhaka shoots from a corner, walloping a volley that Stephens intercepts.  1:14PM 57 min Sanchez 25 yards out ekes out a chink to shoot through with a dip of the shoulder and shuffling feet but chooses instead to ping it in to Lacazette by the penalty spot but under pressure he cannot trap it.  1:12PM 54 min Tadic, Redmond and Austin break quickly on the counter, well two of them were quick, one a rather more stately presence, until Redmond barrels a shot straight at Cech from 22 yards. Arsenal now break briskly back upfield and have the numbers but Ramsey's shot from the right slides harmlessly past the left post. Lacazette tried to gloss it by sliding in to deflect it in but couldn't reach it.  Miss: Southampton 1 - 0 Arsenal (Aaron Ramsey, 53 min)   1:10PM 52 min Arsenal almost pick the lock to send Kolasinac round the back from the left but Stephens and Ward-Prowse diligently read the throughball and both combine to tackle the left wing-back. Ward-Prowse gets up hobbling.  1:08PM 51 min Kolasinac's cross from the left is blocked out for a throw which he takes and passes back to Monreal while he stands his ground in an advanced position. Sanchez and Ozil find each other but Romeu and Hojbjerg are disciplined, stay close, hold their shape and spring out to intercept.  1:06PM 49 min Sanchez shapes to whack a Ray Parlour shot from 28 yards but bails out and skedaddles inside instead, passing to Kolasinac, the one Arsenal player who probably would channel Parlour and have a long-range pop. But he doesn't here. So they go back to trying to score the goal of the season with dainty passes.  1:05PM 47 min Romeu steers a pass out to the left for Redmond who skitter forward on the left but can't beat Bellerin. Arsenal come back up the right, concede, recover then play it to Ozil who bears down on the D, slips a pas to Lacazette whose shot is block-tackled. Arsenal come again, shifting the ball from side to side from 40 yards to 20 yards out and back again. Probing.  1:02PM 46 min Southampton kick off and whack it long up the right but it comes straight back at them so they go back to Forster who tries again.  12:48PM Half time An alarmingly dreadful start from Arsenal defensively could and probably should have left them three down, so getting to the break, when they have threatened Forster's goal five times, only one down, will probably be a relief. Southampton are playing very well and though Mertesacker has calmed down and stopped panicking every time Tadic runs at him, every player needs to up his game in the second half.  Southampton vs Arsenal shots on goal   12:46PM 44 min Rubbish pass from Xhaka threatens to allow Austin to put Redmond clear on goal but his pass from the centre-circle strikes the retreating Mertesacker on the back of the hand. Saints fans bellow for a free-kick but none is forthcoming so they console themselves by accusing Arsenal of a habitual tendency to cheat.  12:44PM 43 min Austin on the edge of the area and bursting through lacks the explosive pace to latch on to Bertrand's inviting pass, allowing Cech to smother it.  12:43PM 42 min A minute before Lacazette's effort Cech had made a fine diving-header clearance when Hojbjerg's long pass caught him in no man's land.  12:42PM 40 min Bellerin cuts the ball back from the right to Lacazette who makes a near-post run from the penalty spot. He gets there first, wraps his foot around it and spears a shot over the bar half a second before Yoshida wipes him out with a desperate slide.    12:40PM 38 min Southampton so far are concentrating in defence, not diving in when the Arsenal forwards crisply shift the ball between each other.    Charlie Austin, an old-fashioned celebration for an old-fashioned player Credit:  Matt Watson/Southampton FC via Getty Images   12:37PM 36 min Southampton work neat triangles on the left with Tadic, Hojbjerg and Bertrand. Bellerin twice has to block Bertrand's crosses which weren't deserving of the slick build-up play.  12:36PM 34 min Xhaka makes a vital tackle with a sliding scissor movement to stall Redmond's momentum when he had only the midfielder to beat and 25 yards of unoccupied grass ahead of him to run into.  12:33PM 32 min Ramsey fed from the right at the edge of the box, drills a curling low shot powerfully towards a spot just inside the right post. Forster, who was woeful against Newcastle, gets down smartly to tip it round the post.  Southampton vs Arsenal   12:32PM 31 min Arsenal counter quickly but Southampton, through Yoshida and Van Dijk, thwart first Kolasinac and then Ramsey.  12:31PM 29 min This one, from the right by Bertrand, ricochets through the box and Ward-Prowse picks it up on the left. He swerves and inswinger to the fr post where Redmond, a metre past it, had peeled off. He dinks it back on the volley to Van Dijk who has a swing at it but it bobbles safely through to Cech. Not without alarm, though.  12:28PM 27 min Ward-Prowse whips it in viciously with his right and it dips towards the far post. Cech slaps it over for a corner which leads to another after Xhaka's defensive header.  12:27PM 26 min Southampton snap into pressurising Arsenal by hounding the man in possession from the front, earning a throw when Koscielny loses his composure. From the re-start Xhaka's clumsy challenge on Bertrand concedes a free-kick by the left touchline, 25 yards upfield.  12:26PM 24 min Ramsey does a near perfect imitation of Lacazette's earlier disappointing effort at the edge of the box, controlling the ball superbly with hi body before turning adroitly and bottoming off the move with a tame shot straight down Forster's throat.  Credit: Action Images via Reuters/John Sibley    12:23PM 22 min Kolasinac chips a cross to the near post, Laczette makes the run but Van Dijk, who towers over him, blocks his path and Forster punches it clear, although without the force or precision he had hoped. Throw-in for Arsenal.  12:21PM 20 min Saints clear the corner after Lacazette finds juggling the ball with his leg at 90 degrees is, quite literally pop pickers, a bit of a stretch.  12:20PM 18 min Arsenal break at pace with Lacazette, Bellerin, Sanchez and Ozil. Lacazette plays it out to the left and moves into prime position to shoot but takes an extra touch when Bellerin fires the pass back at him which allows Hojbjerg to make the crucial tackle. Corner.  Possession: Southampton vs Arsenal   12:17PM 16 min Lacazette controls a chipped pass with his back to goal 18 yards out, swivels and turns Yoshida but doesn't connect properly with his shot, poking it low at Forster.  12:16PM 15 min A spell of possession has stemmed the Southampton onslaught.  12:15PM 13 min Ramsey overhits a left-foo diagonal that pushes Ozil too far wide but he retrieves the ball by the touchline, combines with Bellerin but Hojbjerg steps in to whip the ball away and send Redmond off up the flank. His control lets him down as he hurtles up the whitewash and briefly takes it out of play.  12:12PM 11 min Arsenal have had a couple of raids in the opening 10 minutes, the best when Kolasinac immediately after the goal went on a 60-yard dribble into the box before he was block-tackled by Stephens. But ever since their final ball has ended the move, particularly just now when Ozil's, intended for Lacazette, skipped too close to Forster.  Charlie Austin opens the scoring Credit: REUTERS/Dylan Martinez   12:09PM 8 min Here we go again. Redmond dices and slices Koscielny as he strides down the left, squares to Austin who rattles his shot against the woodwork. Have Saints created as many chances in their previous three games as they have in eight minutes here?   12:07PM 7 min Good Lord. Now Koscielny gives the ball away to Redmond with a dozy pass and is reprieved when Redmond steers a pass beyond him for Austin to run clear through on Cech by a questionable offside call.  12:06PM 5 min Southampton almost carve Arsenal apart again when Tadic skates forward, leaves Mertesacker for dead and slips another deft pass to Austin, this time outside the box. He takes a touch and drills a low shot that Cech drops quickly to smother. Mertesacker can't live with Tadic's movement.   12:04PM 3 min Mertesacker slips as Tadic glides past him, zipping in from the right wing, tacking horizontally across the 18-yard box before slipping a  reverse pass down the inside-right channel for Austin who was just onside and buried his shot from 12 yards. Southampton 1 - 0 Arsenal (Charlie Austin, 3 min)   12:02PM GOAL!! Southampton 1-0 Arsenal (Austin) 12:01PM 1 min Monreal bends a 50-yard ball up the left for Sanchez's run but Stephens, who is playing at right-back, heads him off and knocks the ball upfield for Tadic who had gone too soon and wandered offside.  12:00PM The weather Has done for Owen Hargreaves as co-com. Enter curry magnate Francis Benali. The sleet has abated and we're about to kick off.  11:56AM Pelllegrino says ... Stephens may start at right-back and all the briefings about a 3-4-3 were smoke.  11:45AM Formations Southampton have switched to a back three to match Arsenal's, which seems a waste of Ward-Prowse to me. If he's going to be shuttling up and down that flank and trying to deal with Kolasinac, Monreal and Sanchez he may well be overwhelmed. They played five at the back against Man City and held on at 1-1 for almost 20 minutes but at least then they had a European Championship-winning right back in place. Credit: BT SPORT  Pellegrino's Alaves side played with four at the back for all but a handful of games last season and when he switched to five against Real Madrid, they were still humped 4-1 and 3-0, though they did knock off Barcelona at the start of the campaign 2-1.  11:33AM Sadly ... There's not enough snow on the ground on the fairly temperate south coast to afford us the treat of an orange ball. But given that any colour seems to go these days, it could be anything. Those teams in black and white: Southampton Forster; Yoshida, Stephens, van Dijk, Bertrand;  Hojbjerg, Romeu; Ward-Prowse, Tadic, Redmond; Austin. Substitutes  McCarthy, Hoedt, Davis, Lemina, Boufal, Gabbiadini, Pied.  It's taters at St Mary's Credit: REUTERS/Dylan Martinez Arsenal Cech; Koscielny, Mertesacker, Monreal; Bellerin,  Ramsey, Xhaka, Kolasinac; Ozil, Sanchez; Lacazette.  Substitutes  Ospina, Wilshere, Giroud, Iwobi, Welbeck, Maitland-Niles,  Coquelin.  Referee Robert Madley (Leeds)  11:19AM Team news The teams are in! �� Here's how #SaintsFC line-up against #Arsenal this afternoon in the #PL: pic.twitter.com/KclQBRWiYi— Southampton FC (@SouthamptonFC) December 10, 2017 The waiting is over - here's our team for #SFCvAFCpic.twitter.com/04RatCAXwk— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) December 10, 2017   11:18AM Good morning And welcome to coverage of Southampton vs Arsenal from St Mary's. The last December meeting between the two in Hampshire two years ago left us with the indelible memory of Cuco Martina's cracker and a pulverising 4-0 home victory. A win would have put Arsenal top but when it came to it they wilted. Today, after that dismal  first 11 minutes against Manchester United, Arsenal again have to start from the beginning in terms of putting together a winning run. Southampton, much improved over recent weeks after those depressingly sterile early performances, ought to give them a proper midfield test with Romeu and Hojbjerg. Surprised that Mario Lemina isn't starting, I would have thought he would be ideal. 

Southampton 1 Arsenal 1: Olivier Giroud rescues a point after Charlie Austin terrorises chaotic defence

The Arsenal supporters who were delayed prior to kick-off at least had a good excuse. A combination of the typically erratic Sunday rail service and weather-induced traffic chaos was their explanation but, for the second successive week, their team’s defence was also inexplicably absent at the start of the match.  Yes, super-sub Olivier Giroud did later arrive to rescue a point with an 88th-minute header, but it was no exaggeration to say that Charlie Austin could have scored four times for Southampton in an extraordinary eight-minute opening burst. The similarities to Arsenal’s match against Manchester United last week were impossible to ignore, and after seeing his team drop valuable points despite again having around 70 per cent of possession, manager Arsene Wenger even admitted that the problem may have been psychological. “I felt that the Manchester United game played a bit of a part in the heads of our defenders,” he said. “They were a bit apprehensive to start. That’s why sometimes it’s not too good to talk about a problem because you create an even bigger one.”  Per Mertesacker endures a torrid return to the starting XI Credit: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images The positive for Arsenal was the benefit again of having such a distinct option off the bench as Giroud, whose goals to minutes ratio continues to overshadow most of his team-mates. With the January transfer window fast approaching, Wenger again also reiterated his opposition to the French striker leaving. “Why should we lose an important player?” he asked. “It’s up to us. He will start games.”  Austin had been similarly frustrated at a lack of starting opportunities at Southampton until his recent recall coincided with a wider improvement, and he finished emphatically here after three minutes. Arsenal captain Per Mertesacker had come back into the team following a thigh injury to Shkodran Mustafi but was easily dispossessed by Austin who then exchanged passes with Dusan Tadic before shooting confidently past Petr Cech.  The presence of Mertesacker seemed to have disorientated Arsenal defensively, and Southampton could and should soon have been further ahead. Austin was then released by Tadic after Mertesacker had again been caught, but Cech got down well to save his low shot.  Southampton celebrate Charlie Austin's early opening goal Credit: Action Images via Reuters/John Sibley  The Southampton striker was then only marginally offside after again getting behind the Arsenal defence before also hitting the post from a narrowly offside position after running onto Ryan Bertrand’s cross.  Austin has now scored four goals in his past four games but admitted that Southampton missed their big chance in that opening salvo. “We get the second and it’s over – one’s not enough in the Premier League,” he said.  Arsenal remained defensively vulnerable throughout, but they did eventually at least settle into a passing rhythm that allowed them to dominate possession.  Alexandre Lacazette had again been preferred to Giroud as the main striker and wasted an excellent counter-attacking chance when his heavy first touch just gave Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg sufficient time to make a goal-saving block. Southampton vs Arsenal shots on goal Aaron Ramsey did also almost equalise, but his low shot was quite brilliantly saved at his near-post by Forster following Sanchez’s cross.  The pattern was set, and while Arsenal continued to have most of the ball, Southampton’s defence was solid and they also always retained their threat. Cech made another save from James Ward-Prowse, and from the resulting corner, a header back across goal by Bertand was almost inadvertently turned in by Granit Xhaka. Oriol Romeu also shook Cech’s crossbar with a powerful dipping shot from 25 yards.  Arsenal’s supporters were becoming increasingly frustrated, and there were persistent chants for Jack Wilshere. But Danny Welbeck was Wenger’s choice when he did make his first change after 64 minutes, predictably replacing Mertesacker as Arsenal switched to a more attacking 4-2-3-1 formation.  They were almost immediately punished, with Laurent Koscielny and Nacho Monreal getting themselves into a mess and fortunate that Bertrand just lofted his finish wide after lifting the ball over Cech. Wenger did then bring on Wilshere for Xhaka in an attempt to add some cutting edge. Southampton, however, are a class above BATE Borisov, and Wilshere had nothing like the time or space that had allowed him to exert such influence on Thursday.  The more telling change was Giroud, whose introduction for Lacazette was still greeted with groans from Arsenal fans. Sanchez, who again kept losing possession, had just tested Forster with a curling free-kick before producing a perfectly weighted cross for Giroud to glance his header past Forster.  “We missed players in the box so I tried to bring it. This was a good point,” said Giroud, whose 17th goal as a substitute places him level with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on the all-time Premier League list.  It was just about what Arsenal deserved – but there is little doubt now that their Premier League season will again be about no more than fighting for a top-four place. 1:53PM Full time Arsenal salvage a point after looking all at sea in the first 15 minutes. They spent most of the second half huffing and puffing, probing around the box, and eventually made the breakthrough by virtue of a substitute's skill in the air. Plenty of positives for Saints, not so many for Arsenal who scrapped for their point but did little to persuade they can go any higher than fifth.  Credit: Catherine Ivill/Getty Images   1:51PM 90+3 min Gabbiadini goes up for the corner but is taken out by Cech who claims the ball before toppling the Italy striker. Arsenal break and are awarded a free-kick.  1:50PM  90+2 min Francis Benali anoints Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg as man of the match and it is he who earns Saints a late corner with a fizzed pass from centre down the left.  1:48PM 90+1 min The first of four minutes of added time end with Wilshere charging down a Boufal shot.  1:48PM 90 min Ozil dawdles on the ball during a break, taking too long to assess his options and ending up lost down a cul de sac when Welbeck had peeled off into a promising position on the left. He was waiting for Bellerin, I assume, who was detained 1:46PM 89 min Wilshere goes through Gabbiadini from behind and cuts him off the the ankles. Yellow card.  Olivier Giroud leaps to steer the equaliser past Van Dijk and Forster Credit: REUTERS/Dylan Martinez   1:46PM 88 min That's a terrific header from the substitute, who leapt to steer it deftly inside the left post when picked out by Sanchez's artful inswinging right-foot cross from the left.  Southampton 1 - 1 Arsenal (Olivier Giroud, 88 min)   1:44PM GOAL!! Southampton 1-1 Arsenal (Giroud) 1:43PM 86 min Gabbiadini on for Austin who leaves to a hero's ovation.  1:43PM 84 min Daft, yellow-card worthy foul from Romeu on Wilshere gives Arsenal a free-kick maybe 23 yards out, just left of centre. Sanchez takes it and bends it over the wall. Forster leaps to his right to claw it away as it threatened to sneak in under the crossbar.  1:41PM 82 min Arsenal try to pass their way through the crowd in the Southampton box, first Wilshere, then Sanchez, then Ramsey but to no avail and Southampton break briskly. Boufal takes it on and hurries through the centre-circle. He should take it on but instead passes to Austin, who was offside and then inadvertently, I think, elbows Monreal in the face when the centre-back was trying to get the ball back to restart quickly.  1:38PM 81 min Stephens is booked for dallying over a throw-in.  1:37PM 79 min First booking of the match goes to Bellerin for manhandling Boufal with an octopus armed block after being beaten on the inside. Saints chip it into the box, beyond the Arsenal defensive line that let Van Dijk through solo. But the ball eludes him too as it sails towards Cech. Possession: Southampton vs Arsenal   1:34PM 77 min Arsene Wenger is involved in a heated discussion with the fourth official but I can't see anything to quibble with the referee about. Quibble with his own players, yes. Ah, it's timewasting he's protesting. Fair enough but even educated bees do it.  1:32PM 75 min Southampton sub: Boufal replaces Redmond. Van Dijk is awarded a free-kick when he has his achilles clipped with an impolite stab of the boot.  1:31PM 74 min Rubbish cross from Welbeck on the right, beats everyone in the box bar Ward-Prowse whose first touch flick it over Kolasinac and sets him off on an upfield run. He then picks out a tremendous pass up to Austin whose first touch from his suddenly cemented boots bludgeons it too close to Cech.  1:28PM 73 min Last Arsenal sub: Giroud on for Lacazette.  1:28PM 72 min Tadic shoulder barges Wilshere, cutting across the Arsenal midfielder and catching him in the chest to send him sprawling. Free kick.  1:26PM 70 min Wilshere's second touch is a chip over the top for Ozil's run. He was about five yards offside. Giroud is stripping, too.  1:26PM 69 min Arsenal substitution: Wilshere on for Xhaka.  1:25PM 68 min Monreal has a dig and bends a shot on to the left post and behind for a goalkick.   Miss: Southampton 1 - 0 Arsenal (Ryan Bertrand, 66 min)   1:24PM 66 min Bertrand misses from 12 yards. A difficult chance after being found by Tadic's lovely reverse pass in from the left. Cech was closing him down as he hit it on the angle with his left and it flashed wide of the post. Koscielny's errors again to blame.  1:22PM 65 min Welbeck goes out to the right and Ozil drops into a central No10 role. Koscielny gives the ball away and invites Southampton on to them.   1:20PM 64 min No, it's Mertesacker who comes off and Arsenal revert to a back four.  1:20PM 64 min Danny Welbeck sia bout to come on. Ozil or Sanchez, surely?  1:19PM 62 min Romeu, on a rare sortie, crashes a right-foot shot on to the crossbar.  Blocked Pass: Southampton 1 - 0 Arsenal (Pierre-Emile Højbjerg, 47 min)   1:18PM 61 min Saints break and have a three v three with the usual suspects but horse up the support work so they are eventually outnumbered. Arsenal counter swiftly but once more Sanchez, in rime shooting territory, goes for another threaded pass that misses the eye of the needle.   1:16PM 59 min Pellegrino in his technical area shows him precisely how to stun a ball with a lovely right-foot cushion when the ball flies out. Xhaka shoots from a corner, walloping a volley that Stephens intercepts.  1:14PM 57 min Sanchez 25 yards out ekes out a chink to shoot through with a dip of the shoulder and shuffling feet but chooses instead to ping it in to Lacazette by the penalty spot but under pressure he cannot trap it.  1:12PM 54 min Tadic, Redmond and Austin break quickly on the counter, well two of them were quick, one a rather more stately presence, until Redmond barrels a shot straight at Cech from 22 yards. Arsenal now break briskly back upfield and have the numbers but Ramsey's shot from the right slides harmlessly past the left post. Lacazette tried to gloss it by sliding in to deflect it in but couldn't reach it.  Miss: Southampton 1 - 0 Arsenal (Aaron Ramsey, 53 min)   1:10PM 52 min Arsenal almost pick the lock to send Kolasinac round the back from the left but Stephens and Ward-Prowse diligently read the throughball and both combine to tackle the left wing-back. Ward-Prowse gets up hobbling.  1:08PM 51 min Kolasinac's cross from the left is blocked out for a throw which he takes and passes back to Monreal while he stands his ground in an advanced position. Sanchez and Ozil find each other but Romeu and Hojbjerg are disciplined, stay close, hold their shape and spring out to intercept.  1:06PM 49 min Sanchez shapes to whack a Ray Parlour shot from 28 yards but bails out and skedaddles inside instead, passing to Kolasinac, the one Arsenal player who probably would channel Parlour and have a long-range pop. But he doesn't here. So they go back to trying to score the goal of the season with dainty passes.  1:05PM 47 min Romeu steers a pass out to the left for Redmond who skitter forward on the left but can't beat Bellerin. Arsenal come back up the right, concede, recover then play it to Ozil who bears down on the D, slips a pas to Lacazette whose shot is block-tackled. Arsenal come again, shifting the ball from side to side from 40 yards to 20 yards out and back again. Probing.  1:02PM 46 min Southampton kick off and whack it long up the right but it comes straight back at them so they go back to Forster who tries again.  12:48PM Half time An alarmingly dreadful start from Arsenal defensively could and probably should have left them three down, so getting to the break, when they have threatened Forster's goal five times, only one down, will probably be a relief. Southampton are playing very well and though Mertesacker has calmed down and stopped panicking every time Tadic runs at him, every player needs to up his game in the second half.  Southampton vs Arsenal shots on goal   12:46PM 44 min Rubbish pass from Xhaka threatens to allow Austin to put Redmond clear on goal but his pass from the centre-circle strikes the retreating Mertesacker on the back of the hand. Saints fans bellow for a free-kick but none is forthcoming so they console themselves by accusing Arsenal of a habitual tendency to cheat.  12:44PM 43 min Austin on the edge of the area and bursting through lacks the explosive pace to latch on to Bertrand's inviting pass, allowing Cech to smother it.  12:43PM 42 min A minute before Lacazette's effort Cech had made a fine diving-header clearance when Hojbjerg's long pass caught him in no man's land.  12:42PM 40 min Bellerin cuts the ball back from the right to Lacazette who makes a near-post run from the penalty spot. He gets there first, wraps his foot around it and spears a shot over the bar half a second before Yoshida wipes him out with a desperate slide.    12:40PM 38 min Southampton so far are concentrating in defence, not diving in when the Arsenal forwards crisply shift the ball between each other.    Charlie Austin, an old-fashioned celebration for an old-fashioned player Credit:  Matt Watson/Southampton FC via Getty Images   12:37PM 36 min Southampton work neat triangles on the left with Tadic, Hojbjerg and Bertrand. Bellerin twice has to block Bertrand's crosses which weren't deserving of the slick build-up play.  12:36PM 34 min Xhaka makes a vital tackle with a sliding scissor movement to stall Redmond's momentum when he had only the midfielder to beat and 25 yards of unoccupied grass ahead of him to run into.  12:33PM 32 min Ramsey fed from the right at the edge of the box, drills a curling low shot powerfully towards a spot just inside the right post. Forster, who was woeful against Newcastle, gets down smartly to tip it round the post.  Southampton vs Arsenal   12:32PM 31 min Arsenal counter quickly but Southampton, through Yoshida and Van Dijk, thwart first Kolasinac and then Ramsey.  12:31PM 29 min This one, from the right by Bertrand, ricochets through the box and Ward-Prowse picks it up on the left. He swerves and inswinger to the fr post where Redmond, a metre past it, had peeled off. He dinks it back on the volley to Van Dijk who has a swing at it but it bobbles safely through to Cech. Not without alarm, though.  12:28PM 27 min Ward-Prowse whips it in viciously with his right and it dips towards the far post. Cech slaps it over for a corner which leads to another after Xhaka's defensive header.  12:27PM 26 min Southampton snap into pressurising Arsenal by hounding the man in possession from the front, earning a throw when Koscielny loses his composure. From the re-start Xhaka's clumsy challenge on Bertrand concedes a free-kick by the left touchline, 25 yards upfield.  12:26PM 24 min Ramsey does a near perfect imitation of Lacazette's earlier disappointing effort at the edge of the box, controlling the ball superbly with hi body before turning adroitly and bottoming off the move with a tame shot straight down Forster's throat.  Credit: Action Images via Reuters/John Sibley    12:23PM 22 min Kolasinac chips a cross to the near post, Laczette makes the run but Van Dijk, who towers over him, blocks his path and Forster punches it clear, although without the force or precision he had hoped. Throw-in for Arsenal.  12:21PM 20 min Saints clear the corner after Lacazette finds juggling the ball with his leg at 90 degrees is, quite literally pop pickers, a bit of a stretch.  12:20PM 18 min Arsenal break at pace with Lacazette, Bellerin, Sanchez and Ozil. Lacazette plays it out to the left and moves into prime position to shoot but takes an extra touch when Bellerin fires the pass back at him which allows Hojbjerg to make the crucial tackle. Corner.  Possession: Southampton vs Arsenal   12:17PM 16 min Lacazette controls a chipped pass with his back to goal 18 yards out, swivels and turns Yoshida but doesn't connect properly with his shot, poking it low at Forster.  12:16PM 15 min A spell of possession has stemmed the Southampton onslaught.  12:15PM 13 min Ramsey overhits a left-foo diagonal that pushes Ozil too far wide but he retrieves the ball by the touchline, combines with Bellerin but Hojbjerg steps in to whip the ball away and send Redmond off up the flank. His control lets him down as he hurtles up the whitewash and briefly takes it out of play.  12:12PM 11 min Arsenal have had a couple of raids in the opening 10 minutes, the best when Kolasinac immediately after the goal went on a 60-yard dribble into the box before he was block-tackled by Stephens. But ever since their final ball has ended the move, particularly just now when Ozil's, intended for Lacazette, skipped too close to Forster.  Charlie Austin opens the scoring Credit: REUTERS/Dylan Martinez   12:09PM 8 min Here we go again. Redmond dices and slices Koscielny as he strides down the left, squares to Austin who rattles his shot against the woodwork. Have Saints created as many chances in their previous three games as they have in eight minutes here?   12:07PM 7 min Good Lord. Now Koscielny gives the ball away to Redmond with a dozy pass and is reprieved when Redmond steers a pass beyond him for Austin to run clear through on Cech by a questionable offside call.  12:06PM 5 min Southampton almost carve Arsenal apart again when Tadic skates forward, leaves Mertesacker for dead and slips another deft pass to Austin, this time outside the box. He takes a touch and drills a low shot that Cech drops quickly to smother. Mertesacker can't live with Tadic's movement.   12:04PM 3 min Mertesacker slips as Tadic glides past him, zipping in from the right wing, tacking horizontally across the 18-yard box before slipping a  reverse pass down the inside-right channel for Austin who was just onside and buried his shot from 12 yards. Southampton 1 - 0 Arsenal (Charlie Austin, 3 min)   12:02PM GOAL!! Southampton 1-0 Arsenal (Austin) 12:01PM 1 min Monreal bends a 50-yard ball up the left for Sanchez's run but Stephens, who is playing at right-back, heads him off and knocks the ball upfield for Tadic who had gone too soon and wandered offside.  12:00PM The weather Has done for Owen Hargreaves as co-com. Enter curry magnate Francis Benali. The sleet has abated and we're about to kick off.  11:56AM Pelllegrino says ... Stephens may start at right-back and all the briefings about a 3-4-3 were smoke.  11:45AM Formations Southampton have switched to a back three to match Arsenal's, which seems a waste of Ward-Prowse to me. If he's going to be shuttling up and down that flank and trying to deal with Kolasinac, Monreal and Sanchez he may well be overwhelmed. They played five at the back against Man City and held on at 1-1 for almost 20 minutes but at least then they had a European Championship-winning right back in place. Credit: BT SPORT  Pellegrino's Alaves side played with four at the back for all but a handful of games last season and when he switched to five against Real Madrid, they were still humped 4-1 and 3-0, though they did knock off Barcelona at the start of the campaign 2-1.  11:33AM Sadly ... There's not enough snow on the ground on the fairly temperate south coast to afford us the treat of an orange ball. But given that any colour seems to go these days, it could be anything. Those teams in black and white: Southampton Forster; Yoshida, Stephens, van Dijk, Bertrand;  Hojbjerg, Romeu; Ward-Prowse, Tadic, Redmond; Austin. Substitutes  McCarthy, Hoedt, Davis, Lemina, Boufal, Gabbiadini, Pied.  It's taters at St Mary's Credit: REUTERS/Dylan Martinez Arsenal Cech; Koscielny, Mertesacker, Monreal; Bellerin,  Ramsey, Xhaka, Kolasinac; Ozil, Sanchez; Lacazette.  Substitutes  Ospina, Wilshere, Giroud, Iwobi, Welbeck, Maitland-Niles,  Coquelin.  Referee Robert Madley (Leeds)  11:19AM Team news The teams are in! �� Here's how #SaintsFC line-up against #Arsenal this afternoon in the #PL: pic.twitter.com/KclQBRWiYi— Southampton FC (@SouthamptonFC) December 10, 2017 The waiting is over - here's our team for #SFCvAFCpic.twitter.com/04RatCAXwk— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) December 10, 2017   11:18AM Good morning And welcome to coverage of Southampton vs Arsenal from St Mary's. The last December meeting between the two in Hampshire two years ago left us with the indelible memory of Cuco Martina's cracker and a pulverising 4-0 home victory. A win would have put Arsenal top but when it came to it they wilted. Today, after that dismal  first 11 minutes against Manchester United, Arsenal again have to start from the beginning in terms of putting together a winning run. Southampton, much improved over recent weeks after those depressingly sterile early performances, ought to give them a proper midfield test with Romeu and Hojbjerg. Surprised that Mario Lemina isn't starting, I would have thought he would be ideal. 

Southampton 1 Arsenal 1: Olivier Giroud rescues a point after Charlie Austin terrorises chaotic defence

The Arsenal supporters who were delayed prior to kick-off at least had a good excuse. A combination of the typically erratic Sunday rail service and weather-induced traffic chaos was their explanation but, for the second successive week, their team’s defence was also inexplicably absent at the start of the match.  Yes, super-sub Olivier Giroud did later arrive to rescue a point with an 88th-minute header, but it was no exaggeration to say that Charlie Austin could have scored four times for Southampton in an extraordinary eight-minute opening burst. The similarities to Arsenal’s match against Manchester United last week were impossible to ignore, and after seeing his team drop valuable points despite again having around 70 per cent of possession, manager Arsene Wenger even admitted that the problem may have been psychological. “I felt that the Manchester United game played a bit of a part in the heads of our defenders,” he said. “They were a bit apprehensive to start. That’s why sometimes it’s not too good to talk about a problem because you create an even bigger one.”  Per Mertesacker endures a torrid return to the starting XI Credit: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images The positive for Arsenal was the benefit again of having such a distinct option off the bench as Giroud, whose goals to minutes ratio continues to overshadow most of his team-mates. With the January transfer window fast approaching, Wenger again also reiterated his opposition to the French striker leaving. “Why should we lose an important player?” he asked. “It’s up to us. He will start games.”  Austin had been similarly frustrated at a lack of starting opportunities at Southampton until his recent recall coincided with a wider improvement, and he finished emphatically here after three minutes. Arsenal captain Per Mertesacker had come back into the team following a thigh injury to Shkodran Mustafi but was easily dispossessed by Austin who then exchanged passes with Dusan Tadic before shooting confidently past Petr Cech.  The presence of Mertesacker seemed to have disorientated Arsenal defensively, and Southampton could and should soon have been further ahead. Austin was then released by Tadic after Mertesacker had again been caught, but Cech got down well to save his low shot.  Southampton celebrate Charlie Austin's early opening goal Credit: Action Images via Reuters/John Sibley  The Southampton striker was then only marginally offside after again getting behind the Arsenal defence before also hitting the post from a narrowly offside position after running onto Ryan Bertrand’s cross.  Austin has now scored four goals in his past four games but admitted that Southampton missed their big chance in that opening salvo. “We get the second and it’s over – one’s not enough in the Premier League,” he said.  Arsenal remained defensively vulnerable throughout, but they did eventually at least settle into a passing rhythm that allowed them to dominate possession.  Alexandre Lacazette had again been preferred to Giroud as the main striker and wasted an excellent counter-attacking chance when his heavy first touch just gave Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg sufficient time to make a goal-saving block. Southampton vs Arsenal shots on goal Aaron Ramsey did also almost equalise, but his low shot was quite brilliantly saved at his near-post by Forster following Sanchez’s cross.  The pattern was set, and while Arsenal continued to have most of the ball, Southampton’s defence was solid and they also always retained their threat. Cech made another save from James Ward-Prowse, and from the resulting corner, a header back across goal by Bertand was almost inadvertently turned in by Granit Xhaka. Oriol Romeu also shook Cech’s crossbar with a powerful dipping shot from 25 yards.  Arsenal’s supporters were becoming increasingly frustrated, and there were persistent chants for Jack Wilshere. But Danny Welbeck was Wenger’s choice when he did make his first change after 64 minutes, predictably replacing Mertesacker as Arsenal switched to a more attacking 4-2-3-1 formation.  They were almost immediately punished, with Laurent Koscielny and Nacho Monreal getting themselves into a mess and fortunate that Bertrand just lofted his finish wide after lifting the ball over Cech. Wenger did then bring on Wilshere for Xhaka in an attempt to add some cutting edge. Southampton, however, are a class above BATE Borisov, and Wilshere had nothing like the time or space that had allowed him to exert such influence on Thursday.  The more telling change was Giroud, whose introduction for Lacazette was still greeted with groans from Arsenal fans. Sanchez, who again kept losing possession, had just tested Forster with a curling free-kick before producing a perfectly weighted cross for Giroud to glance his header past Forster.  “We missed players in the box so I tried to bring it. This was a good point,” said Giroud, whose 17th goal as a substitute places him level with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on the all-time Premier League list.  It was just about what Arsenal deserved – but there is little doubt now that their Premier League season will again be about no more than fighting for a top-four place. 1:53PM Full time Arsenal salvage a point after looking all at sea in the first 15 minutes. They spent most of the second half huffing and puffing, probing around the box, and eventually made the breakthrough by virtue of a substitute's skill in the air. Plenty of positives for Saints, not so many for Arsenal who scrapped for their point but did little to persuade they can go any higher than fifth.  Credit: Catherine Ivill/Getty Images   1:51PM 90+3 min Gabbiadini goes up for the corner but is taken out by Cech who claims the ball before toppling the Italy striker. Arsenal break and are awarded a free-kick.  1:50PM  90+2 min Francis Benali anoints Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg as man of the match and it is he who earns Saints a late corner with a fizzed pass from centre down the left.  1:48PM 90+1 min The first of four minutes of added time end with Wilshere charging down a Boufal shot.  1:48PM 90 min Ozil dawdles on the ball during a break, taking too long to assess his options and ending up lost down a cul de sac when Welbeck had peeled off into a promising position on the left. He was waiting for Bellerin, I assume, who was detained 1:46PM 89 min Wilshere goes through Gabbiadini from behind and cuts him off the the ankles. Yellow card.  Olivier Giroud leaps to steer the equaliser past Van Dijk and Forster Credit: REUTERS/Dylan Martinez   1:46PM 88 min That's a terrific header from the substitute, who leapt to steer it deftly inside the left post when picked out by Sanchez's artful inswinging right-foot cross from the left.  Southampton 1 - 1 Arsenal (Olivier Giroud, 88 min)   1:44PM GOAL!! Southampton 1-1 Arsenal (Giroud) 1:43PM 86 min Gabbiadini on for Austin who leaves to a hero's ovation.  1:43PM 84 min Daft, yellow-card worthy foul from Romeu on Wilshere gives Arsenal a free-kick maybe 23 yards out, just left of centre. Sanchez takes it and bends it over the wall. Forster leaps to his right to claw it away as it threatened to sneak in under the crossbar.  1:41PM 82 min Arsenal try to pass their way through the crowd in the Southampton box, first Wilshere, then Sanchez, then Ramsey but to no avail and Southampton break briskly. Boufal takes it on and hurries through the centre-circle. He should take it on but instead passes to Austin, who was offside and then inadvertently, I think, elbows Monreal in the face when the centre-back was trying to get the ball back to restart quickly.  1:38PM 81 min Stephens is booked for dallying over a throw-in.  1:37PM 79 min First booking of the match goes to Bellerin for manhandling Boufal with an octopus armed block after being beaten on the inside. Saints chip it into the box, beyond the Arsenal defensive line that let Van Dijk through solo. But the ball eludes him too as it sails towards Cech. Possession: Southampton vs Arsenal   1:34PM 77 min Arsene Wenger is involved in a heated discussion with the fourth official but I can't see anything to quibble with the referee about. Quibble with his own players, yes. Ah, it's timewasting he's protesting. Fair enough but even educated bees do it.  1:32PM 75 min Southampton sub: Boufal replaces Redmond. Van Dijk is awarded a free-kick when he has his achilles clipped with an impolite stab of the boot.  1:31PM 74 min Rubbish cross from Welbeck on the right, beats everyone in the box bar Ward-Prowse whose first touch flick it over Kolasinac and sets him off on an upfield run. He then picks out a tremendous pass up to Austin whose first touch from his suddenly cemented boots bludgeons it too close to Cech.  1:28PM 73 min Last Arsenal sub: Giroud on for Lacazette.  1:28PM 72 min Tadic shoulder barges Wilshere, cutting across the Arsenal midfielder and catching him in the chest to send him sprawling. Free kick.  1:26PM 70 min Wilshere's second touch is a chip over the top for Ozil's run. He was about five yards offside. Giroud is stripping, too.  1:26PM 69 min Arsenal substitution: Wilshere on for Xhaka.  1:25PM 68 min Monreal has a dig and bends a shot on to the left post and behind for a goalkick.   Miss: Southampton 1 - 0 Arsenal (Ryan Bertrand, 66 min)   1:24PM 66 min Bertrand misses from 12 yards. A difficult chance after being found by Tadic's lovely reverse pass in from the left. Cech was closing him down as he hit it on the angle with his left and it flashed wide of the post. Koscielny's errors again to blame.  1:22PM 65 min Welbeck goes out to the right and Ozil drops into a central No10 role. Koscielny gives the ball away and invites Southampton on to them.   1:20PM 64 min No, it's Mertesacker who comes off and Arsenal revert to a back four.  1:20PM 64 min Danny Welbeck sia bout to come on. Ozil or Sanchez, surely?  1:19PM 62 min Romeu, on a rare sortie, crashes a right-foot shot on to the crossbar.  Blocked Pass: Southampton 1 - 0 Arsenal (Pierre-Emile Højbjerg, 47 min)   1:18PM 61 min Saints break and have a three v three with the usual suspects but horse up the support work so they are eventually outnumbered. Arsenal counter swiftly but once more Sanchez, in rime shooting territory, goes for another threaded pass that misses the eye of the needle.   1:16PM 59 min Pellegrino in his technical area shows him precisely how to stun a ball with a lovely right-foot cushion when the ball flies out. Xhaka shoots from a corner, walloping a volley that Stephens intercepts.  1:14PM 57 min Sanchez 25 yards out ekes out a chink to shoot through with a dip of the shoulder and shuffling feet but chooses instead to ping it in to Lacazette by the penalty spot but under pressure he cannot trap it.  1:12PM 54 min Tadic, Redmond and Austin break quickly on the counter, well two of them were quick, one a rather more stately presence, until Redmond barrels a shot straight at Cech from 22 yards. Arsenal now break briskly back upfield and have the numbers but Ramsey's shot from the right slides harmlessly past the left post. Lacazette tried to gloss it by sliding in to deflect it in but couldn't reach it.  Miss: Southampton 1 - 0 Arsenal (Aaron Ramsey, 53 min)   1:10PM 52 min Arsenal almost pick the lock to send Kolasinac round the back from the left but Stephens and Ward-Prowse diligently read the throughball and both combine to tackle the left wing-back. Ward-Prowse gets up hobbling.  1:08PM 51 min Kolasinac's cross from the left is blocked out for a throw which he takes and passes back to Monreal while he stands his ground in an advanced position. Sanchez and Ozil find each other but Romeu and Hojbjerg are disciplined, stay close, hold their shape and spring out to intercept.  1:06PM 49 min Sanchez shapes to whack a Ray Parlour shot from 28 yards but bails out and skedaddles inside instead, passing to Kolasinac, the one Arsenal player who probably would channel Parlour and have a long-range pop. But he doesn't here. So they go back to trying to score the goal of the season with dainty passes.  1:05PM 47 min Romeu steers a pass out to the left for Redmond who skitter forward on the left but can't beat Bellerin. Arsenal come back up the right, concede, recover then play it to Ozil who bears down on the D, slips a pas to Lacazette whose shot is block-tackled. Arsenal come again, shifting the ball from side to side from 40 yards to 20 yards out and back again. Probing.  1:02PM 46 min Southampton kick off and whack it long up the right but it comes straight back at them so they go back to Forster who tries again.  12:48PM Half time An alarmingly dreadful start from Arsenal defensively could and probably should have left them three down, so getting to the break, when they have threatened Forster's goal five times, only one down, will probably be a relief. Southampton are playing very well and though Mertesacker has calmed down and stopped panicking every time Tadic runs at him, every player needs to up his game in the second half.  Southampton vs Arsenal shots on goal   12:46PM 44 min Rubbish pass from Xhaka threatens to allow Austin to put Redmond clear on goal but his pass from the centre-circle strikes the retreating Mertesacker on the back of the hand. Saints fans bellow for a free-kick but none is forthcoming so they console themselves by accusing Arsenal of a habitual tendency to cheat.  12:44PM 43 min Austin on the edge of the area and bursting through lacks the explosive pace to latch on to Bertrand's inviting pass, allowing Cech to smother it.  12:43PM 42 min A minute before Lacazette's effort Cech had made a fine diving-header clearance when Hojbjerg's long pass caught him in no man's land.  12:42PM 40 min Bellerin cuts the ball back from the right to Lacazette who makes a near-post run from the penalty spot. He gets there first, wraps his foot around it and spears a shot over the bar half a second before Yoshida wipes him out with a desperate slide.    12:40PM 38 min Southampton so far are concentrating in defence, not diving in when the Arsenal forwards crisply shift the ball between each other.    Charlie Austin, an old-fashioned celebration for an old-fashioned player Credit:  Matt Watson/Southampton FC via Getty Images   12:37PM 36 min Southampton work neat triangles on the left with Tadic, Hojbjerg and Bertrand. Bellerin twice has to block Bertrand's crosses which weren't deserving of the slick build-up play.  12:36PM 34 min Xhaka makes a vital tackle with a sliding scissor movement to stall Redmond's momentum when he had only the midfielder to beat and 25 yards of unoccupied grass ahead of him to run into.  12:33PM 32 min Ramsey fed from the right at the edge of the box, drills a curling low shot powerfully towards a spot just inside the right post. Forster, who was woeful against Newcastle, gets down smartly to tip it round the post.  Southampton vs Arsenal   12:32PM 31 min Arsenal counter quickly but Southampton, through Yoshida and Van Dijk, thwart first Kolasinac and then Ramsey.  12:31PM 29 min This one, from the right by Bertrand, ricochets through the box and Ward-Prowse picks it up on the left. He swerves and inswinger to the fr post where Redmond, a metre past it, had peeled off. He dinks it back on the volley to Van Dijk who has a swing at it but it bobbles safely through to Cech. Not without alarm, though.  12:28PM 27 min Ward-Prowse whips it in viciously with his right and it dips towards the far post. Cech slaps it over for a corner which leads to another after Xhaka's defensive header.  12:27PM 26 min Southampton snap into pressurising Arsenal by hounding the man in possession from the front, earning a throw when Koscielny loses his composure. From the re-start Xhaka's clumsy challenge on Bertrand concedes a free-kick by the left touchline, 25 yards upfield.  12:26PM 24 min Ramsey does a near perfect imitation of Lacazette's earlier disappointing effort at the edge of the box, controlling the ball superbly with hi body before turning adroitly and bottoming off the move with a tame shot straight down Forster's throat.  Credit: Action Images via Reuters/John Sibley    12:23PM 22 min Kolasinac chips a cross to the near post, Laczette makes the run but Van Dijk, who towers over him, blocks his path and Forster punches it clear, although without the force or precision he had hoped. Throw-in for Arsenal.  12:21PM 20 min Saints clear the corner after Lacazette finds juggling the ball with his leg at 90 degrees is, quite literally pop pickers, a bit of a stretch.  12:20PM 18 min Arsenal break at pace with Lacazette, Bellerin, Sanchez and Ozil. Lacazette plays it out to the left and moves into prime position to shoot but takes an extra touch when Bellerin fires the pass back at him which allows Hojbjerg to make the crucial tackle. Corner.  Possession: Southampton vs Arsenal   12:17PM 16 min Lacazette controls a chipped pass with his back to goal 18 yards out, swivels and turns Yoshida but doesn't connect properly with his shot, poking it low at Forster.  12:16PM 15 min A spell of possession has stemmed the Southampton onslaught.  12:15PM 13 min Ramsey overhits a left-foo diagonal that pushes Ozil too far wide but he retrieves the ball by the touchline, combines with Bellerin but Hojbjerg steps in to whip the ball away and send Redmond off up the flank. His control lets him down as he hurtles up the whitewash and briefly takes it out of play.  12:12PM 11 min Arsenal have had a couple of raids in the opening 10 minutes, the best when Kolasinac immediately after the goal went on a 60-yard dribble into the box before he was block-tackled by Stephens. But ever since their final ball has ended the move, particularly just now when Ozil's, intended for Lacazette, skipped too close to Forster.  Charlie Austin opens the scoring Credit: REUTERS/Dylan Martinez   12:09PM 8 min Here we go again. Redmond dices and slices Koscielny as he strides down the left, squares to Austin who rattles his shot against the woodwork. Have Saints created as many chances in their previous three games as they have in eight minutes here?   12:07PM 7 min Good Lord. Now Koscielny gives the ball away to Redmond with a dozy pass and is reprieved when Redmond steers a pass beyond him for Austin to run clear through on Cech by a questionable offside call.  12:06PM 5 min Southampton almost carve Arsenal apart again when Tadic skates forward, leaves Mertesacker for dead and slips another deft pass to Austin, this time outside the box. He takes a touch and drills a low shot that Cech drops quickly to smother. Mertesacker can't live with Tadic's movement.   12:04PM 3 min Mertesacker slips as Tadic glides past him, zipping in from the right wing, tacking horizontally across the 18-yard box before slipping a  reverse pass down the inside-right channel for Austin who was just onside and buried his shot from 12 yards. Southampton 1 - 0 Arsenal (Charlie Austin, 3 min)   12:02PM GOAL!! Southampton 1-0 Arsenal (Austin) 12:01PM 1 min Monreal bends a 50-yard ball up the left for Sanchez's run but Stephens, who is playing at right-back, heads him off and knocks the ball upfield for Tadic who had gone too soon and wandered offside.  12:00PM The weather Has done for Owen Hargreaves as co-com. Enter curry magnate Francis Benali. The sleet has abated and we're about to kick off.  11:56AM Pelllegrino says ... Stephens may start at right-back and all the briefings about a 3-4-3 were smoke.  11:45AM Formations Southampton have switched to a back three to match Arsenal's, which seems a waste of Ward-Prowse to me. If he's going to be shuttling up and down that flank and trying to deal with Kolasinac, Monreal and Sanchez he may well be overwhelmed. They played five at the back against Man City and held on at 1-1 for almost 20 minutes but at least then they had a European Championship-winning right back in place. Credit: BT SPORT  Pellegrino's Alaves side played with four at the back for all but a handful of games last season and when he switched to five against Real Madrid, they were still humped 4-1 and 3-0, though they did knock off Barcelona at the start of the campaign 2-1.  11:33AM Sadly ... There's not enough snow on the ground on the fairly temperate south coast to afford us the treat of an orange ball. But given that any colour seems to go these days, it could be anything. Those teams in black and white: Southampton Forster; Yoshida, Stephens, van Dijk, Bertrand;  Hojbjerg, Romeu; Ward-Prowse, Tadic, Redmond; Austin. Substitutes  McCarthy, Hoedt, Davis, Lemina, Boufal, Gabbiadini, Pied.  It's taters at St Mary's Credit: REUTERS/Dylan Martinez Arsenal Cech; Koscielny, Mertesacker, Monreal; Bellerin,  Ramsey, Xhaka, Kolasinac; Ozil, Sanchez; Lacazette.  Substitutes  Ospina, Wilshere, Giroud, Iwobi, Welbeck, Maitland-Niles,  Coquelin.  Referee Robert Madley (Leeds)  11:19AM Team news The teams are in! �� Here's how #SaintsFC line-up against #Arsenal this afternoon in the #PL: pic.twitter.com/KclQBRWiYi— Southampton FC (@SouthamptonFC) December 10, 2017 The waiting is over - here's our team for #SFCvAFCpic.twitter.com/04RatCAXwk— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) December 10, 2017   11:18AM Good morning And welcome to coverage of Southampton vs Arsenal from St Mary's. The last December meeting between the two in Hampshire two years ago left us with the indelible memory of Cuco Martina's cracker and a pulverising 4-0 home victory. A win would have put Arsenal top but when it came to it they wilted. Today, after that dismal  first 11 minutes against Manchester United, Arsenal again have to start from the beginning in terms of putting together a winning run. Southampton, much improved over recent weeks after those depressingly sterile early performances, ought to give them a proper midfield test with Romeu and Hojbjerg. Surprised that Mario Lemina isn't starting, I would have thought he would be ideal. 

Southampton 1 Arsenal 1: Olivier Giroud rescues a point after Charlie Austin terrorises chaotic defence

The Arsenal supporters who were delayed prior to kick-off at least had a good excuse. A combination of the typically erratic Sunday rail service and weather-induced traffic chaos was their explanation but, for the second successive week, their team’s defence was also inexplicably absent at the start of the match.  Yes, super-sub Olivier Giroud did later arrive to rescue a point with an 88th-minute header, but it was no exaggeration to say that Charlie Austin could have scored four times for Southampton in an extraordinary eight-minute opening burst. The similarities to Arsenal’s match against Manchester United last week were impossible to ignore, and after seeing his team drop valuable points despite again having around 70 per cent of possession, manager Arsene Wenger even admitted that the problem may have been psychological. “I felt that the Manchester United game played a bit of a part in the heads of our defenders,” he said. “They were a bit apprehensive to start. That’s why sometimes it’s not too good to talk about a problem because you create an even bigger one.”  Per Mertesacker endures a torrid return to the starting XI Credit: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images The positive for Arsenal was the benefit again of having such a distinct option off the bench as Giroud, whose goals to minutes ratio continues to overshadow most of his team-mates. With the January transfer window fast approaching, Wenger again also reiterated his opposition to the French striker leaving. “Why should we lose an important player?” he asked. “It’s up to us. He will start games.”  Austin had been similarly frustrated at a lack of starting opportunities at Southampton until his recent recall coincided with a wider improvement, and he finished emphatically here after three minutes. Arsenal captain Per Mertesacker had come back into the team following a thigh injury to Shkodran Mustafi but was easily dispossessed by Austin who then exchanged passes with Dusan Tadic before shooting confidently past Petr Cech.  The presence of Mertesacker seemed to have disorientated Arsenal defensively, and Southampton could and should soon have been further ahead. Austin was then released by Tadic after Mertesacker had again been caught, but Cech got down well to save his low shot.  Southampton celebrate Charlie Austin's early opening goal Credit: Action Images via Reuters/John Sibley  The Southampton striker was then only marginally offside after again getting behind the Arsenal defence before also hitting the post from a narrowly offside position after running onto Ryan Bertrand’s cross.  Austin has now scored four goals in his past four games but admitted that Southampton missed their big chance in that opening salvo. “We get the second and it’s over – one’s not enough in the Premier League,” he said.  Arsenal remained defensively vulnerable throughout, but they did eventually at least settle into a passing rhythm that allowed them to dominate possession.  Alexandre Lacazette had again been preferred to Giroud as the main striker and wasted an excellent counter-attacking chance when his heavy first touch just gave Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg sufficient time to make a goal-saving block. Southampton vs Arsenal shots on goal Aaron Ramsey did also almost equalise, but his low shot was quite brilliantly saved at his near-post by Forster following Sanchez’s cross.  The pattern was set, and while Arsenal continued to have most of the ball, Southampton’s defence was solid and they also always retained their threat. Cech made another save from James Ward-Prowse, and from the resulting corner, a header back across goal by Bertand was almost inadvertently turned in by Granit Xhaka. Oriol Romeu also shook Cech’s crossbar with a powerful dipping shot from 25 yards.  Arsenal’s supporters were becoming increasingly frustrated, and there were persistent chants for Jack Wilshere. But Danny Welbeck was Wenger’s choice when he did make his first change after 64 minutes, predictably replacing Mertesacker as Arsenal switched to a more attacking 4-2-3-1 formation.  They were almost immediately punished, with Laurent Koscielny and Nacho Monreal getting themselves into a mess and fortunate that Bertrand just lofted his finish wide after lifting the ball over Cech. Wenger did then bring on Wilshere for Xhaka in an attempt to add some cutting edge. Southampton, however, are a class above BATE Borisov, and Wilshere had nothing like the time or space that had allowed him to exert such influence on Thursday.  The more telling change was Giroud, whose introduction for Lacazette was still greeted with groans from Arsenal fans. Sanchez, who again kept losing possession, had just tested Forster with a curling free-kick before producing a perfectly weighted cross for Giroud to glance his header past Forster.  “We missed players in the box so I tried to bring it. This was a good point,” said Giroud, whose 17th goal as a substitute places him level with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on the all-time Premier League list.  It was just about what Arsenal deserved – but there is little doubt now that their Premier League season will again be about no more than fighting for a top-four place. 1:53PM Full time Arsenal salvage a point after looking all at sea in the first 15 minutes. They spent most of the second half huffing and puffing, probing around the box, and eventually made the breakthrough by virtue of a substitute's skill in the air. Plenty of positives for Saints, not so many for Arsenal who scrapped for their point but did little to persuade they can go any higher than fifth.  Credit: Catherine Ivill/Getty Images   1:51PM 90+3 min Gabbiadini goes up for the corner but is taken out by Cech who claims the ball before toppling the Italy striker. Arsenal break and are awarded a free-kick.  1:50PM  90+2 min Francis Benali anoints Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg as man of the match and it is he who earns Saints a late corner with a fizzed pass from centre down the left.  1:48PM 90+1 min The first of four minutes of added time end with Wilshere charging down a Boufal shot.  1:48PM 90 min Ozil dawdles on the ball during a break, taking too long to assess his options and ending up lost down a cul de sac when Welbeck had peeled off into a promising position on the left. He was waiting for Bellerin, I assume, who was detained 1:46PM 89 min Wilshere goes through Gabbiadini from behind and cuts him off the the ankles. Yellow card.  Olivier Giroud leaps to steer the equaliser past Van Dijk and Forster Credit: REUTERS/Dylan Martinez   1:46PM 88 min That's a terrific header from the substitute, who leapt to steer it deftly inside the left post when picked out by Sanchez's artful inswinging right-foot cross from the left.  Southampton 1 - 1 Arsenal (Olivier Giroud, 88 min)   1:44PM GOAL!! Southampton 1-1 Arsenal (Giroud) 1:43PM 86 min Gabbiadini on for Austin who leaves to a hero's ovation.  1:43PM 84 min Daft, yellow-card worthy foul from Romeu on Wilshere gives Arsenal a free-kick maybe 23 yards out, just left of centre. Sanchez takes it and bends it over the wall. Forster leaps to his right to claw it away as it threatened to sneak in under the crossbar.  1:41PM 82 min Arsenal try to pass their way through the crowd in the Southampton box, first Wilshere, then Sanchez, then Ramsey but to no avail and Southampton break briskly. Boufal takes it on and hurries through the centre-circle. He should take it on but instead passes to Austin, who was offside and then inadvertently, I think, elbows Monreal in the face when the centre-back was trying to get the ball back to restart quickly.  1:38PM 81 min Stephens is booked for dallying over a throw-in.  1:37PM 79 min First booking of the match goes to Bellerin for manhandling Boufal with an octopus armed block after being beaten on the inside. Saints chip it into the box, beyond the Arsenal defensive line that let Van Dijk through solo. But the ball eludes him too as it sails towards Cech. Possession: Southampton vs Arsenal   1:34PM 77 min Arsene Wenger is involved in a heated discussion with the fourth official but I can't see anything to quibble with the referee about. Quibble with his own players, yes. Ah, it's timewasting he's protesting. Fair enough but even educated bees do it.  1:32PM 75 min Southampton sub: Boufal replaces Redmond. Van Dijk is awarded a free-kick when he has his achilles clipped with an impolite stab of the boot.  1:31PM 74 min Rubbish cross from Welbeck on the right, beats everyone in the box bar Ward-Prowse whose first touch flick it over Kolasinac and sets him off on an upfield run. He then picks out a tremendous pass up to Austin whose first touch from his suddenly cemented boots bludgeons it too close to Cech.  1:28PM 73 min Last Arsenal sub: Giroud on for Lacazette.  1:28PM 72 min Tadic shoulder barges Wilshere, cutting across the Arsenal midfielder and catching him in the chest to send him sprawling. Free kick.  1:26PM 70 min Wilshere's second touch is a chip over the top for Ozil's run. He was about five yards offside. Giroud is stripping, too.  1:26PM 69 min Arsenal substitution: Wilshere on for Xhaka.  1:25PM 68 min Monreal has a dig and bends a shot on to the left post and behind for a goalkick.   Miss: Southampton 1 - 0 Arsenal (Ryan Bertrand, 66 min)   1:24PM 66 min Bertrand misses from 12 yards. A difficult chance after being found by Tadic's lovely reverse pass in from the left. Cech was closing him down as he hit it on the angle with his left and it flashed wide of the post. Koscielny's errors again to blame.  1:22PM 65 min Welbeck goes out to the right and Ozil drops into a central No10 role. Koscielny gives the ball away and invites Southampton on to them.   1:20PM 64 min No, it's Mertesacker who comes off and Arsenal revert to a back four.  1:20PM 64 min Danny Welbeck sia bout to come on. Ozil or Sanchez, surely?  1:19PM 62 min Romeu, on a rare sortie, crashes a right-foot shot on to the crossbar.  Blocked Pass: Southampton 1 - 0 Arsenal (Pierre-Emile Højbjerg, 47 min)   1:18PM 61 min Saints break and have a three v three with the usual suspects but horse up the support work so they are eventually outnumbered. Arsenal counter swiftly but once more Sanchez, in rime shooting territory, goes for another threaded pass that misses the eye of the needle.   1:16PM 59 min Pellegrino in his technical area shows him precisely how to stun a ball with a lovely right-foot cushion when the ball flies out. Xhaka shoots from a corner, walloping a volley that Stephens intercepts.  1:14PM 57 min Sanchez 25 yards out ekes out a chink to shoot through with a dip of the shoulder and shuffling feet but chooses instead to ping it in to Lacazette by the penalty spot but under pressure he cannot trap it.  1:12PM 54 min Tadic, Redmond and Austin break quickly on the counter, well two of them were quick, one a rather more stately presence, until Redmond barrels a shot straight at Cech from 22 yards. Arsenal now break briskly back upfield and have the numbers but Ramsey's shot from the right slides harmlessly past the left post. Lacazette tried to gloss it by sliding in to deflect it in but couldn't reach it.  Miss: Southampton 1 - 0 Arsenal (Aaron Ramsey, 53 min)   1:10PM 52 min Arsenal almost pick the lock to send Kolasinac round the back from the left but Stephens and Ward-Prowse diligently read the throughball and both combine to tackle the left wing-back. Ward-Prowse gets up hobbling.  1:08PM 51 min Kolasinac's cross from the left is blocked out for a throw which he takes and passes back to Monreal while he stands his ground in an advanced position. Sanchez and Ozil find each other but Romeu and Hojbjerg are disciplined, stay close, hold their shape and spring out to intercept.  1:06PM 49 min Sanchez shapes to whack a Ray Parlour shot from 28 yards but bails out and skedaddles inside instead, passing to Kolasinac, the one Arsenal player who probably would channel Parlour and have a long-range pop. But he doesn't here. So they go back to trying to score the goal of the season with dainty passes.  1:05PM 47 min Romeu steers a pass out to the left for Redmond who skitter forward on the left but can't beat Bellerin. Arsenal come back up the right, concede, recover then play it to Ozil who bears down on the D, slips a pas to Lacazette whose shot is block-tackled. Arsenal come again, shifting the ball from side to side from 40 yards to 20 yards out and back again. Probing.  1:02PM 46 min Southampton kick off and whack it long up the right but it comes straight back at them so they go back to Forster who tries again.  12:48PM Half time An alarmingly dreadful start from Arsenal defensively could and probably should have left them three down, so getting to the break, when they have threatened Forster's goal five times, only one down, will probably be a relief. Southampton are playing very well and though Mertesacker has calmed down and stopped panicking every time Tadic runs at him, every player needs to up his game in the second half.  Southampton vs Arsenal shots on goal   12:46PM 44 min Rubbish pass from Xhaka threatens to allow Austin to put Redmond clear on goal but his pass from the centre-circle strikes the retreating Mertesacker on the back of the hand. Saints fans bellow for a free-kick but none is forthcoming so they console themselves by accusing Arsenal of a habitual tendency to cheat.  12:44PM 43 min Austin on the edge of the area and bursting through lacks the explosive pace to latch on to Bertrand's inviting pass, allowing Cech to smother it.  12:43PM 42 min A minute before Lacazette's effort Cech had made a fine diving-header clearance when Hojbjerg's long pass caught him in no man's land.  12:42PM 40 min Bellerin cuts the ball back from the right to Lacazette who makes a near-post run from the penalty spot. He gets there first, wraps his foot around it and spears a shot over the bar half a second before Yoshida wipes him out with a desperate slide.    12:40PM 38 min Southampton so far are concentrating in defence, not diving in when the Arsenal forwards crisply shift the ball between each other.    Charlie Austin, an old-fashioned celebration for an old-fashioned player Credit:  Matt Watson/Southampton FC via Getty Images   12:37PM 36 min Southampton work neat triangles on the left with Tadic, Hojbjerg and Bertrand. Bellerin twice has to block Bertrand's crosses which weren't deserving of the slick build-up play.  12:36PM 34 min Xhaka makes a vital tackle with a sliding scissor movement to stall Redmond's momentum when he had only the midfielder to beat and 25 yards of unoccupied grass ahead of him to run into.  12:33PM 32 min Ramsey fed from the right at the edge of the box, drills a curling low shot powerfully towards a spot just inside the right post. Forster, who was woeful against Newcastle, gets down smartly to tip it round the post.  Southampton vs Arsenal   12:32PM 31 min Arsenal counter quickly but Southampton, through Yoshida and Van Dijk, thwart first Kolasinac and then Ramsey.  12:31PM 29 min This one, from the right by Bertrand, ricochets through the box and Ward-Prowse picks it up on the left. He swerves and inswinger to the fr post where Redmond, a metre past it, had peeled off. He dinks it back on the volley to Van Dijk who has a swing at it but it bobbles safely through to Cech. Not without alarm, though.  12:28PM 27 min Ward-Prowse whips it in viciously with his right and it dips towards the far post. Cech slaps it over for a corner which leads to another after Xhaka's defensive header.  12:27PM 26 min Southampton snap into pressurising Arsenal by hounding the man in possession from the front, earning a throw when Koscielny loses his composure. From the re-start Xhaka's clumsy challenge on Bertrand concedes a free-kick by the left touchline, 25 yards upfield.  12:26PM 24 min Ramsey does a near perfect imitation of Lacazette's earlier disappointing effort at the edge of the box, controlling the ball superbly with hi body before turning adroitly and bottoming off the move with a tame shot straight down Forster's throat.  Credit: Action Images via Reuters/John Sibley    12:23PM 22 min Kolasinac chips a cross to the near post, Laczette makes the run but Van Dijk, who towers over him, blocks his path and Forster punches it clear, although without the force or precision he had hoped. Throw-in for Arsenal.  12:21PM 20 min Saints clear the corner after Lacazette finds juggling the ball with his leg at 90 degrees is, quite literally pop pickers, a bit of a stretch.  12:20PM 18 min Arsenal break at pace with Lacazette, Bellerin, Sanchez and Ozil. Lacazette plays it out to the left and moves into prime position to shoot but takes an extra touch when Bellerin fires the pass back at him which allows Hojbjerg to make the crucial tackle. Corner.  Possession: Southampton vs Arsenal   12:17PM 16 min Lacazette controls a chipped pass with his back to goal 18 yards out, swivels and turns Yoshida but doesn't connect properly with his shot, poking it low at Forster.  12:16PM 15 min A spell of possession has stemmed the Southampton onslaught.  12:15PM 13 min Ramsey overhits a left-foo diagonal that pushes Ozil too far wide but he retrieves the ball by the touchline, combines with Bellerin but Hojbjerg steps in to whip the ball away and send Redmond off up the flank. His control lets him down as he hurtles up the whitewash and briefly takes it out of play.  12:12PM 11 min Arsenal have had a couple of raids in the opening 10 minutes, the best when Kolasinac immediately after the goal went on a 60-yard dribble into the box before he was block-tackled by Stephens. But ever since their final ball has ended the move, particularly just now when Ozil's, intended for Lacazette, skipped too close to Forster.  Charlie Austin opens the scoring Credit: REUTERS/Dylan Martinez   12:09PM 8 min Here we go again. Redmond dices and slices Koscielny as he strides down the left, squares to Austin who rattles his shot against the woodwork. Have Saints created as many chances in their previous three games as they have in eight minutes here?   12:07PM 7 min Good Lord. Now Koscielny gives the ball away to Redmond with a dozy pass and is reprieved when Redmond steers a pass beyond him for Austin to run clear through on Cech by a questionable offside call.  12:06PM 5 min Southampton almost carve Arsenal apart again when Tadic skates forward, leaves Mertesacker for dead and slips another deft pass to Austin, this time outside the box. He takes a touch and drills a low shot that Cech drops quickly to smother. Mertesacker can't live with Tadic's movement.   12:04PM 3 min Mertesacker slips as Tadic glides past him, zipping in from the right wing, tacking horizontally across the 18-yard box before slipping a  reverse pass down the inside-right channel for Austin who was just onside and buried his shot from 12 yards. Southampton 1 - 0 Arsenal (Charlie Austin, 3 min)   12:02PM GOAL!! Southampton 1-0 Arsenal (Austin) 12:01PM 1 min Monreal bends a 50-yard ball up the left for Sanchez's run but Stephens, who is playing at right-back, heads him off and knocks the ball upfield for Tadic who had gone too soon and wandered offside.  12:00PM The weather Has done for Owen Hargreaves as co-com. Enter curry magnate Francis Benali. The sleet has abated and we're about to kick off.  11:56AM Pelllegrino says ... Stephens may start at right-back and all the briefings about a 3-4-3 were smoke.  11:45AM Formations Southampton have switched to a back three to match Arsenal's, which seems a waste of Ward-Prowse to me. If he's going to be shuttling up and down that flank and trying to deal with Kolasinac, Monreal and Sanchez he may well be overwhelmed. They played five at the back against Man City and held on at 1-1 for almost 20 minutes but at least then they had a European Championship-winning right back in place. Credit: BT SPORT  Pellegrino's Alaves side played with four at the back for all but a handful of games last season and when he switched to five against Real Madrid, they were still humped 4-1 and 3-0, though they did knock off Barcelona at the start of the campaign 2-1.  11:33AM Sadly ... There's not enough snow on the ground on the fairly temperate south coast to afford us the treat of an orange ball. But given that any colour seems to go these days, it could be anything. Those teams in black and white: Southampton Forster; Yoshida, Stephens, van Dijk, Bertrand;  Hojbjerg, Romeu; Ward-Prowse, Tadic, Redmond; Austin. Substitutes  McCarthy, Hoedt, Davis, Lemina, Boufal, Gabbiadini, Pied.  It's taters at St Mary's Credit: REUTERS/Dylan Martinez Arsenal Cech; Koscielny, Mertesacker, Monreal; Bellerin,  Ramsey, Xhaka, Kolasinac; Ozil, Sanchez; Lacazette.  Substitutes  Ospina, Wilshere, Giroud, Iwobi, Welbeck, Maitland-Niles,  Coquelin.  Referee Robert Madley (Leeds)  11:19AM Team news The teams are in! �� Here's how #SaintsFC line-up against #Arsenal this afternoon in the #PL: pic.twitter.com/KclQBRWiYi— Southampton FC (@SouthamptonFC) December 10, 2017 The waiting is over - here's our team for #SFCvAFCpic.twitter.com/04RatCAXwk— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) December 10, 2017   11:18AM Good morning And welcome to coverage of Southampton vs Arsenal from St Mary's. The last December meeting between the two in Hampshire two years ago left us with the indelible memory of Cuco Martina's cracker and a pulverising 4-0 home victory. A win would have put Arsenal top but when it came to it they wilted. Today, after that dismal  first 11 minutes against Manchester United, Arsenal again have to start from the beginning in terms of putting together a winning run. Southampton, much improved over recent weeks after those depressingly sterile early performances, ought to give them a proper midfield test with Romeu and Hojbjerg. Surprised that Mario Lemina isn't starting, I would have thought he would be ideal. 

Manchester United vs Manchester City player ratings: Who starred and who flopped in Old Trafford derby duel?

Manchester United David De Gea The goalkeeper who was sensational against Arsenal enjoyed a far quieter day, despite Manchester City’s possession. Still had to make a handful of good saves. 6/10 Antonio Valencia Defended tidily against Sane, although his chances of making an impact further up the pitch were restricted by United’s failure to keep the ball. 5/10 Chris Smalling The central defender was kept busy by City’s movement and quick passing on the edge of the area. Maintained his concentration and made some vital interceptions. 5/10 Marcos Rojo Solid at the back until he suffered a head injury in a mid-air collision which needed lengthy treatment. He stayed on before being replaced at the interval. 6/10 Ashley Young Sane’s trickery provided a serious test for the former winger who has switched to full-back, but he stuck to his task well. 5/10 Ander Herrera He wasn’t sharp enough to give United any midfield authority and was unable to neutralise City’s threat. Booked for diving near the end. 4/10 Nemanja Matic Also unable to influence the derby from midfield and allowed De Bruyne far too much space to spray the ball around - and that’s always dangerous. 5/10 Marcus Rashford Took his goal well, but became increasingly frustrated and was eventually booked for hurling the ball to the ground in protest at one decision that went against him. 6/10 Jesse Lingard He did his best to drive United forward in the early stages before fading as he had to feed on scraps because of City’s domination of the ball. 5/10 Anthony Martial A couple of dangerous breaks, but another who spent too much of the match chasing shadows as City kept him on the fringes of the action. 5/10 Romelu Lukaku A forgettable day for the striker. He failed to accept a glorious late chance,  while his poor clearance led to City’s second goal. 4/10 Substitutes: Victor Lindelof for Rojo 46 – did nothing wrong. 6/10. Zlatan Ibrahimovic for Lingard 76 – rarely involved. 5/10. Juan Mata for Herrera 82 – too late to shine. 5/10. Manchester City Ederson The keeper showed a perfect first touch when dealing with one overhit backpass. No chance with United’s goal and pulled off a remarkable double save in the closing stages. 7/10 Kyle Walker A foolish tackle earned him a booking after only four minutes and left him facing a tricky 86 minutes, but he emerged with credit. 6/10 Vincent Kompany United were furious over one of his tackles, but it showed the defender’s determined approach before he had to to be replaced at the interval. 6/10 Nicolas Otamendi He must take some of the blame for Rashford’s goal, but it was a rare mistake from the defender who finished well for City’s second goal. 6/10 Fabian Delph The left-back was looking comfortable until his failure to control the ball let in Rashford for his goal. Sadly for him, that’s what the City fans will remember. 5/10 Kevin De Bruyne Not one of his most spectacular performances, but the Belgian always located space inside United’s half and rarely wasted a pass. 7/10 Fernandinho Produced some fine passes which threatened to open up United’s defence, particularly in the opening half. 6/10 David Silva United rarely succeeded in stifling his threat. Scored the opening goal and was even more for influential after the interval. 8/10 Raheem Sterling Given a free role and popped up all across the forward line and  saw a lot of the ball, but took a touch too many on too many occasions. 5/10 Gabriel Jesus Another who was guilty of being over elaborate and was substituted after only 58 minutes. Fortunate not to be booked when he went down very easily inside the area. 5/10 Leroy Sane Mainly involved down the right flank where he showed his usual bewitching footwork and forced an excellent first-half save from David De Gea. 6/10 Substitutes: Ilkay Gundogan for Komay 46 – settled in well. 6/10. Eliaquim Mangala for Jesus 58 – unable to make an impact. 5/10. Bernardo Silva for Sane 88 – no time to impress. 5/10.

Manchester United's striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic (R) challenges Manchester City's defender Nicolas Otamendi (L) in the air during the English Premier League football match December 10, 2017

Manchester United's striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic (R) challenges Manchester City's defender Nicolas Otamendi (L) in the air during the English Premier League football match December 10, 2017 (AFP Photo/Oli SCARFF )

Manchester City's midfielder Raheem Sterling (L) and Manchester City's midfielder Kevin De Bruyne (R) celebrate at the end of the English Premier League football match against Manchester United December 10, 2017

Manchester City's midfielder Raheem Sterling (L) and Manchester City's midfielder Kevin De Bruyne (R) celebrate at the end of the English Premier League football match against Manchester United December 10, 2017 (AFP Photo/Oli SCARFF )

Porsche confirms more plans ahead of Formula E entry

Porsche aiming to begin on-track testing for its Formula E car in early 2019.

Porsche confirms more plans ahead of Formula E entry

Porsche aiming to begin on-track testing for its Formula E car in early 2019.

Porsche confirms more plans ahead of Formula E entry

Porsche aiming to begin on-track testing for its Formula E car in early 2019.

Guardiola volvió a ganarle el duelo a Mourinho

Pep es la piedra en el zapato de Mou: es contra quien más partidos ha perdido en toda su carrera como entrenador.

Gordon Hayward on playing this season: “It’s definitely in the back of my mind”

Just in time to make a run for an Eastern Conference Finals showdown against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers?

Gordon Hayward on playing this season: “It’s definitely in the back of my mind”

Just in time to make a run for an Eastern Conference Finals showdown against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers?

Guardiola volvió a ganarle el duelo a Mourinho

Pep es la piedra en el zapato de Mou: es contra quien más partidos ha perdido en toda su carrera como entrenador.

Gordon Hayward on playing this season: “It’s definitely in the back of my mind”

Just in time to make a run for an Eastern Conference Finals showdown against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers?

The Latest: AP counts 5 NFL players protesting during anthem

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon (12) celebrate with David Njoku after Gordon scored on an 18-yard touchdown pass in the first half of an NFL football game against the Green Bay Packers, Sunday, Dec. 10, 2017, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)

The Latest: AP counts 5 NFL players protesting during anthem

Kansas City Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt (27) scores on a one-yard run in front of Oakland Raiders linebacker NaVorro Bowman (53), during the first half of an NFL football game in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, Dec. 10, 2017. (AP Photo/Ed Zurga)

The Latest: AP counts 5 NFL players protesting during anthem

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon catches a 18-yard touchdown pass in the first half of an NFL football game against the Green Bay Packers, Sunday, Dec. 10, 2017, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/David Richard)