Boss Arsene Wenger admits Gunners played in second gear after being held to a 2-2 draw
Southampton: Arsenal's team coach was delayed in arriving at Southampton before a performance which Arsene Wenger conceded saw his side play in second gear — but the Gunners' boss refused to see the result as two points dropped.
Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud reacts during their match against Southampton at St Mary's Stadium. Pic/AFP
Arsenal were thoroughly outplayed in the first half as Jose Fonte's 21st-minute header gave Saints a well-deserved lead at the break. Two quick-fire goals after the interval, with Olivier Giroud and Santi Cazorla again on target, gave the visitors a lead to defend before Adam Lallana pulled Southampton level and Mathieu Flamini saw red late on.
The draw means both Manchester City and Chelsea can overtake the EPL leaders if they win their respective fixtures but Wenger refused to see their draw as a missed opportunity. "I think in the first-half Southampton played very well and we didn't play well," he said.
"Southampton deserved the lead at half-time and in the second-half I felt we played well and it was a very good football game. We played in second gear and Southampton in fourth. They played at a higher pace than us, decided to stop us from playing and did it very well.
It is difficult to maintain but they did it for 90 minutes and they did it very well in the first-half. You want the three points in every game but Southampton is a difficult place. When you look at the overall record it can happen sometimes away from home you take only one point."