Arsenal must pick themselves up from their weekend FA Cup exit as they face a tough Premier League test against Southampton at St Mary’s tonight.
The Gunners face the same opponents who knocked them out of the cup on this very ground on Saturday, with their FA Cup defence ending meekly in the fourth round.
One upshot from their cup exit is that Arsenal can now focus on climbing the League table after a difficult season. Arteta was under serious pressure over Christmas, but a 3-1 Boxing Day win over Chelsea sparked an upturn in form and results to stabilise the Gunners’ season.
While there is renewed optimism at the Emirates, Arsenal sit 11th in the table and seven points off fourth-placed Liverpool. Champions League qualification looks a long shot, but this has been a campaign full of surprises – though the Gunners cannot realistically afford many more setbacks if they are to mount any sort of challenge for European football.
With kick-off at 8:15pm GMT, follow all the match action and latest updates on our live blog with Simon Collings at St Mary’s.
17 mins: Walcott receives the ball on the break, and it’s 2 v 2 – but Walcott gets the ball caught, and then slices wide with Ings also up with him. Poor choice.
Chance for Cedric!
13 mins: The Arsenal full-back watches the ball fall kindly for a long-range volley, but it spins just wide of McCarthy’s left-hand post! That would have been truly sensational.
This game has already had more drama than a few Premier League games this season, and both sides look confident of getting a result tonight – let’s hope the pace holds up, because it’s been great entertainment so far.
11 mins: Diallo looks to break and gets taken out by Lacazette – he’s lucky not to pick up a booking there.
Simon Collings at St Mary’s
And that, just about sums up Pepe. Minutes early he is putting a cross straight into McCarthy’s hands – and then he scores the equaliser.
GOAL! Southampton 1-1 Arsenal | Nicolas Pepe, 7 mins
Arsenal are level! To be fair to Arteta’s men, their heads haven’t dropped. Granit Xhaka splits the Saints defence with a lovely slide-rule pass, and Pepe takes a touch before dragging the ball across McCarthy. Excellent goal.
Simon Collings at St Mary’s
Saints analysts are near the press box here and they jumped up and punched air after that. One from the training ground.
5 mins: Brilliant game so far, with Saka’s cross from the right deflected out for a corner. It’s end to end action.
GOAL! Southampton 1-0 Arsenal Armstrong, 3 mins
The Saints lead! Ther corner is a cheeky one from Ward-Prose, who bends it low to the edge of the area for Armstrong to meet unmarked – and he finishes brilliantly with a side-footed half-volley!
That Lacazette miss already looks costly…
2 mins: At the other end, Southampton win a corner… GOAL!