Wenger rues another slow Arsenal start
PUBLISHED: 14:45 10 December 2017 | UPDATED: 14:45 10 December 2017
PA Wire/PA Images
Arsene Wenger lamented another sluggish start that led to Arsenal dropping points for a second week in succession following a 1-1 draw at Southampton.
The Gunners conceded twice inside the opening 11 minutes against Manchester United last week and despite dominating thereafter they went down 3-1 at the Emirates Stadium.
Saints only needed three minutes to open the scoring on Sunday, with Charlie Austin taking advantage of some lacklustre defending to burst through on goal and stroke beyond goalkeeper Petr Cech.
Substitute Olivier Giroud rescued a share of the spoils with a cute 88th-minute header but while Wenger was relieved to avoid back-to-back defeats, he admitted a poor opening to a match had cost them once more.
He told BT Sport: “I felt that we played with an excellent spirit but in the last two weeks unfortunately we are losing points after a bad start.
“You could see that last week had an influence on today’s start to the game. The players are wanting to start strong and overall I believe it took us time to get into the game again.
“We are caught straight away and after it’s difficult. We wanted to win but when you cannot win then at least don’t lose it.
“You’re concerned but you don’t want to make too big a problem of it because it takes belief and confidence away from the players.”
Southampton striker Austin felt his side paid for a defensive mindset in the second half.
He said: “We started really well, got the goal and should have got the second, really. In the second half we can’t really play like that, we camped in from minute one.
“It was good defensive play but against Arsenal you give them one chance and the big man’s come on and scored. It’s just one of those things. We take away a point from here but we should have taken all three.
“I think if we get the second goal then it’s all over, I don’t see them coming back. A one-goal lead in the Premier League is not enough.”
Saints head coach Mauricio Pellegrino was disappointed by conceding late on but happy with the performance.
He said: “It’s part of the game, we know that a team with quality like Arsenal, in one action they can create problems but we played a good game.
“We have to draw our positive conclusion. We create chances and we compete really well and we have to be happy with this.
“We are obviously disappointed because we concede at the end, we were really close to winning the game, but the most important thing for us is our game.”