Leicester City’s 1-0 loss at Anfield on Boxing Day meant that Arsenal were going into the game at St Marys knowing that a victory can see them end the day at the top of the Barclays Premier League table.
But an impressive performance from Southampton saw them blow the Gunners away in 4-0 victory on the night. Arsenal were completely outplayed in every department on the field and were humiliated by the Saints.
They finished the game in emphatic fashion putting an end to six winless matches in style. The score line could have been lot worse for the visitors but was a reality check as they have shown weaknesses all around the pitch.
The manager will rue the loss said in a press conference that the referees on the night were to take the blame as much as his squad for the loss on Saturday. Jon Moss the official for the game and was subject to a lot of criticism from Arsene Wenger.
“Well, I think Southampton made the game very physical,” the Arsenal manager said. “We lost too many challenges and that explains why we lost the game. But that’s one aspect, so well done to them”.
“The second aspect is that on the first three goals we were really unlucky with the decision of the referee.
“The first goal was offside, the second goal was a foul and third goal was a goal kick, so if you’re a bit below par and on top of that you have the first three goals against you in the decision-making then it’s even more difficult.
“On top of that, well done Southampton and I hope in the next game we have this kind of decisions for us.”
Cuco Martina scored a screamer to open the scoring at St Marys but Steven Davis appeared marginally off side in the lead up to the goal. Shane Long’s first goal came after Koscielny pocket was picked in the defense but Wenger felt that the challenge on his center back was un-fair.
Asked why Wenger was smiling as he bemoaned a 4-0 loss, he said: “Look, I smile, I don’t smile — what can I do about it?
“I cannot influence that but I must say they were sharper than us in the challenges and on that front we’ve got to look at what we can master.
“Decisions of the referee you cannot master, but our own behavior we can and on that front I believe Southampton looked stronger in the challenges and we lost too many tonight.”
The Arsenal boss also felt that Fonte’s goal was only possible because of a poor decision before that allowed Southampton to keep possession of the ball. This left just the last stoppage time goal without a complaint and Southampton manager Ronald Koeman saw the funny side of it.
“Only the first three? He didn’t say anything about the fourth goal? That’s strange,” he said. “I like to analyze the game and if you lose 4-0 and you talk about the referee it’s not my way to analyze a football game.”