Southampton 3-2 Arsenal: Arsenal player ratings | Premier League 2018-19
Arsenal has rarely performed at the St Mary's Stadium and when Arsene Wenger was in-charge, he suffered a couple of embarrassing defeats. The three points up for grabs at St Mary's has always been a challenge for the Gunners.
For Unai Emery's first game in charge there, a major setback he faced was the lack of the centre-backs who have played almost every week since the season started. Both Shkodran Mustafi and Sokratis were suspended following their fifth yellow of the season last weekend. Fortunately, the team welcomed back their captain, Laurent Koscielny, into the starting eleven.
Danny Ings opened the scoring for his side in the 20th minute when Matt Targett sent in an accurate and powerful cross into Arsenal's penalty box. Less than 10 minutes later, Mkhitaryan equalized for the Gunners through a header. But just before half-time, Ings scored his second goal of the afternoon. With a touch of luck, the Englishman's header went into the top corner of the Arsenal goal, something the goalkeeper could do nothing about.
Just as fans thought that the Gunners would be able to cling on to at least a point, Charlie Austin came on to score against the club which he loves scoring against. Emery finally had a taste of how the atmosphere at the St Mary's Stadium is and perhaps, understand why the Gunners find it so hard to get points there in recent years.
Here we take a look at how the Arsenal players fared in their first loss since August.
Bernd Leno: 6/10
Leno was left helpless with Ings' two goals for his side, both scored with total precision and accuracy. He could have done better in handling the ball for Southampton's third goal and prevent Austin from netting the winner.
Hector Bellerin: 5.5/10
Bellerin was more active than Monreal in getting forward, but his crosses and runs were closely blocked and tracked by his opponents. The Spaniard injured himself before half-time and this has now become another defensive setback for the Gunners.
Stephan Lichtsteiner: 6/10
The Swiss defender started playing as part of a back-three at the start of the game. He shifted to a right-back after Bellerin went off injured and had more opportunities to advance forward. Lichtsteiner's aggressiveness is something that the Gunners should value as he is constantly showing eagerness to win every challenge and every ball, whereas the rest of the team lacked that attitude this afternoon.
Laurent Koscielny: 5/10
The Arsenal captain looked vulnerable as he adapted to playing for the first team once again. Although he stretched to clear the cross delivered by Targett, the Frenchman could not reach far enough to block the header from Ings, thereby causing his team to concede first.
Ings found space between Xhaka and him and utilized that space to score two goals for the Saints. Koscielny looked off the pace and couldn't cope with the demands of the game.
Nacho Monreal: 6/10
Monreal marked his comeback into the first team with an assist for Mkhitaryan's first goal. He was rarely caught out of position, but as compared to Sead Kolasinac, he offered a less powerful attacking threat.
Granit Xhaka: 5/10
Xhaka was simply ineffective as a defender and contributed little. He has a greater impact on the result when playing in the midfield and should utilize his talents there rather than play as a defender.
Matteo Guendouzi: 5.5/10
After that wonderful lob pass which helped Aubameyang to set up Lucas Torreira a week ago, Guendouzi could not repeat his success. He might have been able to find Aubameyang and a few other attacking midfielders, but Southampton was able to deal with the pressure from the Arsenal players.
Lucas Torreira: 6/10
Unfortunately, his hard work this time did not quite pay off. Torreira pulled off a couple of great blocks and interceptions, but the Gunners were far too vulnerable to Southampton's great crossing this afternoon. With Xhaka alongside him, there was a missing link between him and the attacking players.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan: 6.5/10
As a creative midfielder, Mkhitaryan struggled to create chances in the game. Somehow, he fulfilled the role of a goalscorer and did amazingly well for his first equalizer for Arsenal through a header. His second goal for the club took a deflection and left McCarthy at the wrong position to save his shot. It was his third goal in his last six appearances for the club.
Alex Iwobi: 5/10
His only significant contribution in the first 45 minutes was probably the pass to Monreal which eventually led to Arsenal's equalizer. Iwobi seemed to have lost the influence he once had at the beginning of the season under the new manager.
He lost the ball on too many occasions and his runs were easily predicted by Southampton's defenders. Iwobi's finishing still needs more polishing before he can be a real threat for the team.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang: 5.5/10
He missed a few good chances to either put his team in front or equalize for his side. Aubameyang's shots were constantly blocked at the last minute by the Saints' defenders and his misses eventually did no good for his club. The Gabonese international was unlucky not to score, but overall, his performance summed up Arsenal's afternoon.
Alexandre Lacazette: 6/10
Lacazette's arrival in the second half changed the team's momentum and energy. His introduction helped pull some strings between the midfielders and the Aubameyang. His hard work in trying to help his side get more of the ball in the final third created many more chances for the Gunners. Lacazette really deserves a start alongside Aubameyang.
Mesut Ozil: 4.5/10
The German did little since he came on for Alex Iwobi in the 69th minute. The worst was when he acted as a dummy in the build-up to Southampton's third goal of the afternoon and it simply did not go well among the fans and for the team.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles: 4.5/10
Maitland-Niles was too slow in tracking back and following Austin's run into the penalty box. It left Austin with all the time and space to do whatever he wanted. As much as the position of a right-back is not his favored position, Maitland-Niles should have done better there.