Football Features

Arsenal 2-2 Southampton: The big winners and losers as Lacazette rescues Emery

By Mohamed Moallim

Published: 17:15, 23 November 2019

Arsenal snatched a 2-2 draw from the jaws of defeat against struggling Southampton at the Emirates Stadium.

Ralph Hasenhüttl’s men should have produced one of the shocks of this Premier League after going in front twice, but their soft underbelly was exposed to illustrate why they are in a relegation battle.

For the Gunners, this was two points dropped as they slip further away from the Champions League places after 13 matches played. Even Alexandre Lacazette’s brace, which saw the French striker return to form, created few smiles among the players.

Naturally, there were individual winners and losers. Here are three of each from this encounter.

Winner: Danny Ings

If anyone was going to score for Southampton it was going to be Danny Ings, who heading into today’s game was responsible for nearly half of their Premier League goals (5/11).

He is their best chance of staving off relegation this season; history has often shown a proven goalscorer makes the difference between demotion and survival, and let’s be clear the Saints are in a relegation battle.

The former Liverpool man displayed his striker’s instinct by positioning himself in ample space ready to move if – as he correctly predicted – Ryan Bertrand would take a quick free-kick after Calum Chambers blocked Nathan Redmond.

His job was half done, though, bearing down on Bernd Leno’s goal Ings slotted the ball in the one area where the German ‘keeper had not covered.

Loser: Calum Chambers

There’s no getting away from Calum Chambers’ involvement in Southampton’s surprise opening goal. First up, the former Saints centre-back needlessly, cynically even, blocked Redmond from receiving a one-two with Bertrand.

He was then slow to react to Bertrand’s train of thought. A quick free-kick was always on, and by the time Ings had collected the left-backs pass Chambers was in no-man’s land. But, to be fair, he wasn’t the only Arsenal defender who got caught out.

Winner: Alexandre Lacazette

It’s been a stop-start campaign for Alexandre Lacazette, who not long ago was sidelined with a serious ankle injury. Since returning he’s been somewhat passive, with his only goal contribution being the assist for his partner in crime Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s strike against Wolves a few weeks ago. That all changed today.

No one is in doubt of Lacazette’s prowess – even French national team boss Didier Deschamps who seldom picks him for international duty – and that eye for goal arrived just in time for the Gunners who chaotically chased an equaliser. Lacazette was in the right place at the right time to convert then and in the dying seconds to rescue a point.

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Loser: Kieran Tierney

Kieran Tierney had enjoyed life in at Arsenal until this afternoon. Before the arrival of Southampton, he’d create two goals across eight outings in all competitions.

The former Celtic left-back was rightfully seen as a marquee coup in the summer, and events like today will only accelerate his development. The key moment came 24 minutes after the half-time interval when he callously pulled Ings down, subsequently leading to the Saints earning a penalty kick.

Winner: James Ward-Prowse

Stepping up for the visitors, in his 250th appearance for his boyhood club, was James Ward-Prowse. He couldn’t convert first time as Leno made what those in attendance hoped to be a crucial save. Instead it rebounded back in Ward-Prowse’s path and the England international didn’t need a second invitation.

Much like Ings, the 25-year-old midfielder is so important for the south coast side, no one has scored more for them since Ralph Hasenhüttl’s appointment than JWP. Today’s effort was his 10th under the Austrian tactician. If he continues finding the back of the net regularly, combing with Ings, then Southampton will give themselves every chance of remaining in the English top division.

Loser: Unai Emery

How much longer can this go on? Arsenal supporters this week saw their neighbours dispense of a manager who not long ago could do no wrong. But a tepid start to the 2019/20 season was enough for Spurs chairman Daniel Levy to pull the trigger.

The powers that be at the Emirates have indicated Emery will not be removed anytime soon but with this latest setback – five consecutive Premier League games without victory, something that has not happened to the Gunners in more than a decade – surely his position is now untenable.

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