Mikel Arteta praises Arsenal stars for ‘defending with their lives’ as Bukayo Saka says fans ‘deserve more’ following Southampton draw December 17, 2020 – Posted in: Soccer

Mikel Arteta has praised Arsenal for ‘defending for their lives’ following his side’s 1-1 stalemate with Southampton.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang ended his five-match goal drought to help the ten-man Gunners avoid a record fifth consecutive league defeat at the Emirates.

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Arteta was happy with his side’s spirited performance against Saints

Arteta was pleased with his side’s spirited effort to keep Southampton at bay after Gabriel Magalhaes was sent off for two yellow cards – the seventh dismissal of his tenure.

“When you cannot win it you don’t lose it,” the Spaniard said after the match.

“Going again with ten men and playing so long against a good side you have to take it. The boys defended with their lives and you have to take a point.

“I was disappointed with the way we conceded the first goal because it was the first action that they really created.

“We had some good moments and some good opportunities where we didn’t score. Hopefully that’s going to unlock us because in the last few weeks it’s been a struggle. In this case for Auba [Aubameyang] individually I think it’s really important.”

Gabriel was sent off in the second-half – Arsenal’s seventh red card since Arteta took over

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Gabriel was sent off in the second-half – Arsenal’s seventh red card since Arteta took over

Gabriel was sent off for two yellow cards in the match, his first earned for time wasting and second for a clumsy challenge on Theo Walcott.

Arteta lamented referee Paul Tierney’s decision to book him for time wasting and said Southampton were not punished for similar infringements.

He added: “There were many incidents before that where the referee didn’t give any yellow cards for blocking free-kicks, for kicking the ball out and we got it. You have to be a little stable on that understand the game and the tension.”

Bukayo Saka was a standout performer for Arsenal in the match and the England defender said Gunners fans ‘deserve better’ in a post on social media after the game.

He wrote: “You deserve more Arsenal fans.”

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