Still, the result was underwhelming for the Gunners who missed an opportunity to return to the top four. "We were relentless to the end". I can only play with 11 players and the players have to deal with that and so do I.
Having seen Arsenal give up a two-goal deficit early in the 3-1 defeat to Manchester United last weekend, Wenger's best-laid plans were again undermined by a sluggish start on the south coast.
In fairness to the Premier League's all time leading goal scorer, it was hard to disagree with what he was saying, yet that didn't stop Arsenal fans from venting towards the former England captain, all week.
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He was tossed from Friday night's win against the Orlando Magic after yelling at a referee following a non-foul call. I got to be me". "I can't let anybody take me off my game". "I've got to do a better job of that, too".
It was the flawless start for the home side and they should have been two up inside five minutes when Tadic and Austin again combined to open up the unconvincing Gunners back line.
Per Mertesacker, making only his fourth Premier League start of the season, cleared the ball straight to Dusan Tadic and his slip when trying to remedy the situation allowed Austin space to control the Serbia playmaker's chipped pass and steer an unerring finish past Petr Cech. The Arsenal manager declared his only responsibility was to the club's needs, not the global aspirations of the players nor the national head coaches.
Granit Xhaka and Aaron Ramsey will be the central midfield pairing while Hector Bellerin and Sead Kolasinac will start in the wing-back slots.
- Charlie Austin has scored in all three of his Premier League appearances against Arsenal. Another must-win game for the Gunners, and Arsene Wenger will be taking very few chances at a venue which has traditionally been a banana skin for Arsenal in the past. The wasting of time became a real problem and the referees have not found an answer yet.