This was always going to be a really tough test for Arsenal. Already having to cope with so many key player out of action due to availablility, the last thing Arsene Wenger needed was to lose our only regular central midfielder, but that is exactly what the manager had to do after Mathieu Flamini was ruled out.
So Calum Chambers and Francis Coquelin were given the unenviable task of keeping an in form Southampton from controlling the centre of the pitch. To be fair to the youngsters, they did not do too bad a job and cannot be blamed for the way the home side took the lead around 10 minutes from halftime.
That blame can be shared by Mertesacker, Szczesny and Koscielny, with the keeper most at fault for me. We did have some chances, with Cazorla’s probably the best. You would say that Southampton shaded it but we could easily fgeel a bit unlucky being behind at the break. But the old enemies of not making the most of chances and making mistakes at the back had cost us again.
And although Arsenal gave it a good go after the break, we could not break down a good Saints defence and were punished about 15 minutes into the second half. Wenger gave Walcott a good half an hour to try to retrieve the situation but it had little effect and the injury ravaged Gunners had to take their punishment and hope that some key players come back into play very soon.
I am not going to be too harsh on Wenger and the players because 2014 has been a never ending run of problems. All we can hope for is an end to the problems that have beset us for so long. A not very happy new year to you all.