Arsenal’s 22-game unbeaten run came to an end at St. Mary’s on Sunday, with struggling Southampton securing a dramatic 3-2 victory.
With injuries and suspensions depleting his defence, Unai Emery fielded a makeshift back three of Granit Xhaka, Laurent Koscielny and Stephan Lichtsteiner.
New Saints boss Ralph Hasenhuttl was looking to move his side out of the drop-zone and the hosts were bright from the start.
On 20 minutes, Saints took the lead, with Danny Ings heading home after Koscielny has failed to deal with a superb centre from Matt Targett.
It didn’t take long for the Gunners to level the scores, with Henrikh Mkhitaryan bagging a header from a Nacho Monreal cross.
At half-time, Emery sent on Alexandre Lacazette for the injured Hector Bellerin and the visitors started to push for a winner.
However, once again it was Ings who would score, this time via a looping header.
In a hugely entertaining clash, Arsenal would soon level the scores again, with Mkhitaryan again finding the back of the net via a deflection.
The north Londoners now looked like the side most likely to find the winner, with Saints ‘keeper Alex McCarthy forced into action a number of times.
At the other end of the pitch, Shane Long had a goal chalked off for offside but it was the hosts who would score the winner, with Charlie Austin continuing his superb record against Arsenal, albeit after an awful mistake from Bernd Leno, who totally missed the cross from Long himself.
5 – Charlie Austin has scored in all five of his Premier League games against Arsenal – only Raheem Sterling versus Bournemouth (6 games) has a better 100% record of scoring against a specific opponent in Premier League history. Routine.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 16, 2018
The game would end 3-2 to Southampton, a much-needed win which sees them move out of the relegation zone, with Hasenhuttl understandably ecstatic.
As for Arsenal, their unbeaten run ends, with the defeat a harsh reality check after an impressive season so far.