St Marys is always a difficult venue for Arsenal and as usual Southampton proved to be tough opponents, and it could have been so much worse if Olivier Giroud hadn’t got his trademark equalizer 2 minutes from the end. Arsene Wenger seemed rather relieved at the end of the game. “We could have lost the game and when you cannot win it you don’t lose it,” he said.
“It is a difficult place to come, Southampton are a good side and I felt again we paid a heavy price for a slow start.
“We continued to attack, you could see that, again these kind of teams are difficult to play, but we were relentless and didn’t give up. I think we could have won, but they as well had a few chances on the counter-attack.”
Giroud is certainly a brilliant player to have on the bench, and he has now equalled the Premier League record for goals scored as a sub (17), an honour previously held by Ole Gunnar Solksjaer for Man United. “He has presence,” Wenger said on our supersub. “You need it [strength] in the air and he is one of the few in the league who can do that.
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“You have to be absolutely in admiration of his mental quality but as well when team has its back to the wall, he’s always got something special to help the team.”
Le Prof was also certain that Giroud would not be allowed to leave in January. When asked about the possibility of losing such an important player, Wenger said: “In your question is the answer, because you say he is important – why should we lose an important player?”
“It is up to us. (The club, not Giroud)”
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“He will start more games. I believe as well it’s always the same when you have many good players, some of them cannot play. The question you get is always why does the guy who is good not play? Because if you take him on you have another guy who is good who will not play, it is as simple as that.”
Giroud himself was very pleased with the comeback, and he is more than happy that we didn’t come away empty handed. He said: “I always try to bring something for the team when I come on the pitch. Today we missed having players in the box, so I tried to bring that. It was a good cross from Alexis and I tried to be at the right place at the right time. It’s nice to come back because since the beginning of the second half, we were pushing and pushing. We are pleased with this point because it’s always difficult to play there.
“The boss said we wanted to start strongly and finish strongly. We were caught behind our defenders at the beginning of the game and Charlie did well – he could have scored a brace. Fortunately for us it was only 1-0 and we were able to come back at the end. It’s a good point.”
Every point is a good point, but I would have preferred three!