Mikel Arteta urges Arsenal to use Southampton draw to spark a run of form
Mikel Arteta hopes Arsenal’s battling 1-1 draw with Southampton can be the catalyst for a reversal of fortunes for the struggling Gunners.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang struck his first goal in six games as 10-man Arsenal avoided a fifth successive home league loss.
Former Gunner Theo Walcott dinked a fine finish to put high-flying Saints into the lead, but the hosts fought back for a point – despite losing Gabriel to a red card.
Frustrated boss Arteta lamented a third red card in five matches, castigating his players’ ill discipline – but insisted this small step in the right direction must spark a full-scale recovery for the listing Gunners.
Asked if the manner of the fightback could prove the start of a genuine recovery, Arteta replied: “Yeah I agree, yes, because if you lose that game at the end it would have been really difficult to take.
“The players showed what we expect them to do, so at least the work is there.
“I saw all the players that weren’t participating and they were in the stands, shouting and right behind the team.
“It’s a really strong signal as well and I’m really pleased with that.
“It’s very difficult to compete in this league when you play for so long with 10 men.
“It makes it more complicated, but the boys stood up to it, they showed their character and resilience and they never gave up.
“I was worried because you could start to see players hiding when we conceded the first goal, but they did exactly the opposite.
“I was really disappointed with two yellow cards, one for Dani (Ceballos) and one for Gabriel.
“But the second one (for Gabriel)…yeah.”
Walcott revealed he sensed “fear” in the Arsenal ranks after netting against his old club.
Arteta admitted however that Walcott did not say anything of that ilk to him when the two had a post-match chat.
“I was going to say, I just spoke with him and he never mentioned that to me,” said Arteta.
“If he said that it’s his feeling. Considering the fact we played 35 minutes with 10 men we have to take the point.
“We showed some resilience and character to hang in there for so long against a really dangerous team. We came back after conceding the goal and showed how much we wanted it.”
Southampton again showed their quality with a draw that kept them in the Premier League’s top four.
Saints boss Ralph Hasenhuttl insisted he never brought in Walcott to make up the numbers in his squad.
The Austrian said he was always convinced Walcott could make the big impact he has on his south coast return.
“I was convinced about his quality from the first moment,” said Hasenhuttl.
“It was only interesting how what we want to do here, a little bit different what we do. He learned quick I think and this is the reason why he’s performing so well.”
When quizzed on whether Arsenal are showing fear at the moment, Hasenhuttl added: “They are not convinced so much of what they are doing at the moment, you can feel this.
“But they are always dangerous such an opponent, it only takes one moment for that to change.
“So it was good that we did what we did today, we take a point here and we keep on going.”