Last Updated: 28/01/14 9:57pm
Southampton denied Premier League leaders Arsenal an eighth successive victory after holding them to an entertaining 2-2 draw at St Mary's Stadium. Jose Fonte handed Saints a first-half lead against a slugglish Arsenal. But Arsene Wenger's men came for the second-half with a real sense of purpose and turned the game around thanks to goals from Olivier Giroud and Santi Cazorla in the space of four minutes. However, Adam Lallana struck to rescue a point. Mathieu Flamini was handed a straight red card late on as the Gunners settled for a point which sees them move two points clear of second-placed Manchester City.
Mathieu Flamini has been shown a straight red by referee Lee Mason for a two-footed challenge on Morgan Schneiderlin.
@philiptillyer says: "Are you only posting Arsenal fans tweets? How about a mention about the fact that Southampton out played Arsenal in first half!"
Jay Rodriguez races clear but out comes Wojciech Szczesny to make a telling touch and clear to safety.
CHANCE! Mikel Arteta picks out Nacho Monreal down the left but he takes a big swing at the ball which sends it high and wide.
Couple of changes to bring you! Sam Gallagher is replaced by James Ward-Prowse while former Saints man Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain comes on for Serge Gnabry for Arsenal.
It's going to be a testing period ahead for Arsenal who were drawn against Liverpool in the FA Cup. That clash is slated for the weekend of February 15 and 16, will come just days before Arsenal's Champions League last 16 first-leg clash with Bayern Munich at the Emirates Stadium and after vital Premier League games against both Liverpool away and Manchester United at home.
Michael Rogers says: "My beloved Gunners amazing defence has just gone down the pan tonight, we won't win the league like this."
OFF THE CROSSBAR!! Mesut Ozil picks up the ball inside his own half and races away from Maya Yoshida, Calum Chambers and Jose Fonte before seeing his deflected effort clip off the woodwork.
Arsenal have won five and lost none of their last eight Premier League games against Southampton, but have won just one of the last four trips to St Mary's (W1 D2 L1).
Sam Gallagher twists and turns on the edge of the box as he looks to find some space to get his shot away.
Saints have steadied the ship this month, in large part thanks to a run of three straight home wins, although two of those have been in the FA Cup against Championship duo Burnley and Yeovil. They're really giving Arsenal a game this evening. We've had just about everything and there's more to come!
ALL SQUARE! Southampton find a gap in the Arsenal defence and Jay Rodriguez picks out an unmarked Adam Lallana in the box to hammer his left-foot shot beyond Wojciech Szczesny.
WHAT A TURNAROUND! Mesut Ozil works his way down the right and pulls the ball across for Santi Cazorla to dispatch.
FANTASTIC IMPROVISATION! Bacary Sagna whips in a low cross from the right and Olivier Giroud cleverly backheels the ball past Artur Boruc in a flash. A wonderful finish from the Frenchman!
Consecutive away wins over West Ham, Newcastle and Aston Villa have contributed to a total of 25 points on Arsenal's travels - a tally which can only be matched by Tottenham.
Remember, if you'd like to send me your views during the second-half, email Raz...that's me! at firstname.lastname@example.org or Tweet me: @RazMirza and I'll publish as many as I can.
Kevin Dineen says: "Just plain poor. There is no other word to describe the Arsenal performance thus far, and everyone is guilty of a sub par performance. Thankfully we are only down 1-0. The boys better put their big boy pants on for the second half and show a little more heart and determination in this game. If they can do that, then I think we can come back and win. If we don't, well, we all know what will happen."
Paul Malley is not a happy Gunner: "Arsene needs to kick some hair dryers and get his starting eleven off the tranquillisers. Hoping to see some major improvements from the Gunners in the second 45 minutes, we're being totally outclassed."
Southampton are now 4/6 to claim victory with our friends @Skybet, who make Arsenal 9/2 and the draw 5/2. Adam Lallana and young Sam Gallagher are both 10/1 to score next. For Arsenal, Olivier Giroud is 5/1 to score next. I'm went for Arsenal to win 2-1 and that scoreline which was priced at 15/2 and is now 9/1. Head now to SKYBET to place your bets on this match.
Southampton are on course to end Arsenal's five-match Premier League winning streak thanks to a headed goal from Jose Fonte after 21 minutes. Luke Shaw's delicious left-wing cross was met by Fonte, who climbed above Nacho Monreal at the far post to power his downward header past Wojciech Szczesny. Teenage striker Sam Gallagher should have added a second but missed the target from just six yards out.
EXCELLENT SAVE! Artur Boruc comes to Southampton's rescue with a fine save to deny Laurent Koscielny from close-range.
Olivier Giroud tries to get the ball through for Mesut Ozil. I think that might be the first time I've mentioned the German's name this evening!
Sam Gallagher is thwarted by Laurent Koscielny, but Saints are running rings around their opponents.
The Gunners have yet to have a shot at goal in this match. Saints have utterly dominated this first-half.
Wojciech Szczesny needed some treatement after colliding with Gallagher, but Arsenal have been let off the hook again.
WHAT A MISS! Sam Gallagher misses a sitter after a poor clearance falls to the teenager in the six-yard box.
Arsenal players feel Jose Fonte handles the ball in the area and a they go up to referee Lee Mason asking for a penalty.
Luke Shaw is stretching Arsenal again down the left. He's having another good game is the young full-back. What a talent he is!
The Gunners are giving the ball away for fun here as Mikel Arteta fails to find Bacary Sagna wide right.
The last time Southampton beat Arsenal was in November 2002, with a James Beattie brace helping them to a 3-2 win at St Mary's.
Wojciech Szczesny brings down Sam Gallagher outside his box but the flag goes up and saves the goalkeeper's blushes.
Adam Lallana's effort is deflected away for a corner and he gets another half chance, but Arsenal just about manage to clear.
IT'S BEEN COMING! Southampton deservedly take the lead at St Mary's and the league leaders are behind. Luke Shaw's delicious left-wing cross is met brilliantly by Jose Fonte above Nacho Monreal and past Wojciech Szczesny at his near post. The goalkeeper might feel he should have done better!
Paul Malley isn't a happy Arsenal fan: "Somebody pull the starter cord for my beloved Gunners PLEASE."
Calum Chambers, who has been keeping out Nathaniel Clyne, fails to collect Morgan Schneiderlin's ambitious pass.
Arsenal have won five and drawn three of their last eight Premier League games against Southampton, but have won just one of the last four trips to St Mary's. The last two matches between the teams at St Mary's have ended 1-1.
Mauricio Pochettino's side have had over 63 per cent of possession which just shows what a good start they've made here and with so many big name players missing.
The Arsenal supporters make themselves heard as Saints keep possession. Arsene Wenger's side have yet to threaten!
Well, he looks a talented young player and not afraid to have a shot when given an opportunity. It is the Saints policy to bring the young blood through of course!
Alan emails in to say: Hi Raz. Watched Sam on Saturday. Reminded me of a young Peter Crouch - thank The Lord he didn't cut any of his robotic shapes when he scored. A fine goal by the way. Up The Saints!"
The hosts are not giving Arsenal any time to breath and Mathieu Flamini is forced to make a last-ditch tackle to clear the ball away for another corner.
It's all Southampton at St Mary's! Arsenal have yet to settle and are being pushed back in their own half.
FINE SAVE! Sam Gallagher is already proving a hit! He gets his instant shot away from just inside the area after a mistake by defender Nacho Monreal but Wojciech Szczesny is on his toes to parry the ball away.
ANOTHER CHANCE! Luke Shaw's left-wing cross is missed by Per Mertesacker and Sam Gallagher miscues his effort wide of the near post.
Edward Ball says: "Come on the gunners!!! with Ramsey back they should be unstoppable!!! 3-0 Arsenal."
CHANCE! Adam Lallana is left completely free from the corner, but his header towards the far corner is headed away. Some poor marking from Arsenal however.
Jay Rodriguez looks to get Gallagher away down the middle and now Saints earn a corner down the right.
Saints head coach Mauricio Pochettino has put some pressure on young Scot Sam Gallagher up front, but he seems to be a popular player in this part of the world.
Arsenal get the game underway at St Mary's and are already pressing Southampton defenders. The rain has been coming down, but the pitch is looking pretty immaculate.
Big news here ahead of kick-off because Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has made his way out minus the long winter coat! Maybe he's decided to ditch it in the sea on the south coast.
Don't forget, if you'd like to send me your views during the match, email Raz...that's me! at email@example.com or Tweet me: @RazMirza and I'll publish as many as I can.
Arsenal fan Luke Watkins says: "Arsenal have had an impeccable season so far, and I have been very impressed with the defence (especially Per and Koscielny). Therefore I think we are going to keep a clean sheet at St. Mary's and I am going to go for a 2-0 victory with Giroud and Gnabry on the scoresheet."
Referee Lee Mason leads the sides out and Arsenal are in their changed strip of yellow for this one while Southampton are in their traditional home kit in front of a full house.
Arsene Wenger's side have won five games on the bounce in the league, and have also advanced to a fifth-round FA Cup meeting with Liverpool on the back of home wins over Tottenham and Coventry City this month. He said: "Everybody goes to Southampton now knowing they are in for a very difficult game."
Mauricio Pochettino said ahead of this game: "Arsenal have a great structure and great footballers, that's allowed them to be up there fighting for the title. We will try to win the game. One of our strengths is that we believe we can win every game. We will attack." Can they give them a game tonight, depsite a depleted looking side?
Executive chairman Nicola Cortese's surprise exit and Dani Osvaldo's training ground bust-up threatens to cast a shadow over what has been a very impressive campaign so far for the Saints. They have steadied the ship this month, in large part thanks to a run of three straight home wins, although two of those have been in the FA Cup against Championship duo Burnley and Yeovil.
@davieww says: "With the squad put today it again shows that Arsenal are taking matters very seriously. 4-1 to the Arsenal." It's an important game for them Davie. They won't want any slip-ups!
@Fergyisgreat Tweets: "It's going to be a walk in the park for Arsenal tonight, 3-0 with Ozil scoring first, Ramsey and Cazorla scoring the other two."
Gooner Paul in Lincoln says: "On form, it needs to be a win for the Gunners. The race is too close and we need 3pts to remain a strong contender. Come on Arsene and the boys!"
Trevor P Wheeler says: "Just want to wish Sam Gallagher the best of luck this evening. A tough debut game but a great experience for our young home grown talent." I am looking forward to seeing this teenager in action tonight Trevor!
Hensley Harris is first to write in tonight and he says: "Hello Raz. Difficult game for us today but with Rambo back I can see us winning 3-1. Rambo with a scoring return and Poldi with two."
Southampton are 3/1 to claim victory with our friends @Skybet, who make Arsenal 10/11 and the draw 5/2. Southampton to win 1-0, 2-0 or 2-1 is a 7/2 shout while a 1-1, 2-2 or 3-3 draw is the same odds. Adam Lallana is 12/1 to score first while young Sam Gallagher is 11/1. For Arsenal, Olivier Giroud is 7/2 favourite to bag the first goal while Santi Cazorla is 7/1 and Mesut Ozil is 8/1. I'm going for Arsenal to win 2-1 and that scoreline is priced at a healthy 15/2. Head now to SKYBET to place your bets on this match.
ARSENAL TEAM NEWS: Mikel Arteta replaces Jack Wilshere, who misses out due to an ankle problem. This is Arsenal's only change from their last league outing, a 2-0 win against Fulham.
SOUTHAMPTON TEAM: Boruc, Chambers, Fonte, Yoshida, Shaw, Cork, Schneiderlin, Rodriguez, Steven Davis, Lallana, Gallagher.
ARSENAL TEAM: Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal, Flamini, Arteta, Gnabry, Ozil, Cazorla, Giroud.
EARLY SAINTS TEAM NEWS: Victor Wanyama could return from a seven-week injury lay-off for Southampton, although Rickie Lambert is a doubt. Kenyan midfielder Wanyama suffered a hairline fracture to his leg in defeat to Aston Villa on December 4, but is line for a return against the Gunners. Artur Boruc (hand) should also be back after missing the 2-0 FA Cup defeat of Yeovil, although Lambert (hamstring) will need to be assessed. Dejan Lovren and Gaston Ramirez (both ankle) are definitely absent, as is Dani Osvaldo (club suspension).
EARLY ARSENAL TEAM NEWS: Arsene Wenger is able to welcome three players back into his squad for the trip to Southampton, but may rest Jack Wilshere due to an ankle problem. Midfielders Aaron Ramsey (thigh) and Mikel Arteta (calf) and defender Thomas Vermaelen (knee) are all back training, although Wenger is not planning on using any of them from the start. Wojciech Szczesny should return in goal after being rested for the FA Cup win against Coventry, while the same should go for Olivier Giroud who was a substitute in that game. Ramsey is poised to make his 150th career league appearance.
The Gunners have an eighth successive victory in their sights and a four point lead over Manchester City in tonight's clash which kicks off at 19:45 (GMT).
If you'd like to send me your views before or during the match, email Raz...that's me! at firstname.lastname@example.org or Tweet me: @RazMirza and I'll publish as many as I can.