Arsene Wenger plays down Arsenal's bad starts, blasts Saints time-wasting

Petr Cech admitted Arsenal didn't deserve to beat Southampton as Olivier Giroud snatched a late 1-1 draw and insisted the Gunners were fortunate to not be 3-0 down early on as he called for his team-mates to be "ready to compete" when they step out onto the pitch.

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has paid tribute to his players for coming from one goal behind to snatch a point in Sunday's 1-1 draw at Southampton in the Premier League.

"It was a hard game and I felt that we paid a heavy price for a slow start".

For Southampton, Maya Yoshida and Jack Stephens are among the changes, while Charlie Austin starts another game up front. "Because if you take him on you have another guy who is good who will not play, it is as simple as that".

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But the Gunners will feel it was two points dropped in their pursuit of a top-four spot.

Wenger was very critical of his team's defensive "inefficiency" after the United defeat and conceded this afternoon that the issue was still in the minds of his error-prone defenders, which is why they repeated the same mistakes.

And as Shearer points out, they're going to need to start turning possession into goals to have any chance of qualifying for the Champions League next season. "And secondly, the authority of the referees to act early in the game, because it becomes really a problem in the last two seasons".

Giroud now has 17 Premier League substitute goals to his name, the same number as similarly famed game-changers Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Nwankwo Kanu. "It's a remarkable achievement what he has done again today".

  • Steve Townsend