Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta rued his players’ inability to capitalise on their early dominance after they were held to a 1-1 Premier League draw with Southampton at St Mary’s on Sunday, a rare stalemate for the north London side.
Arsenal was much the better team in the opening stages and might have had more than Granit Xhaka’s strike to show for it, but it allowed Southampton back into the contest in the second period and had to hang on at the end for a point.
It was, remarkably, Arsenal’s first draw in the Premier League since January, a run of 27 matches in which it was either the victor or the loser, but does leave it two points ahead of second-placed Manchester City after 11 games this campaign.
“We had three or four good opportunities and should have scored more. We needed two or three goals, but only scored one,” Arteta told BBC Match of the Day. “It’s disappointing. We created enough chances but couldn’t put the ball away.”
Arsenal’s inability to kill off the contest will be a frustration as that has been a hallmark of its recent form. It had won its previous 18 Premier League matches in which it scored first.
“It’s a lesson because we wanted to win again. They put us under more pressure through direct play in the second half, and we were struggling,” Arteta said.
Xhaka’s goal was his second this week after he also netted in the 1-0 Europa League win over PSV Eindhoven on Thursday, and his manager believes his form has been key for the side this season.
“He’s really efficient, really consistent and really impressive,” Arteta said.