Gunners miss Cazorla-Coquelin partnership - four talking points from Arsenal vs Southampton

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On what proved to be yet another frustrating night for Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium, Arsene Wenger's side were somehow held to a stalemate by Southampton.

Ronald Koeman's men stood firm and kept out the Gunners throughout the 90 minutes even despite the sheer number of clear-cut chances created by the home side.

Mesut Ozil saw two efforts saved by Saints 'keeper Fraser Forster in the first half, Alexis Sanchez's shot was cleared off the line in the second, Theo Walcott failed to find the net when one-on-one moments before and Laurent Koscielny managed to head over the bar from close range when it seemed easier to score.


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Arsenal will undoubtedly come away from the fixture ruing what should have been three points amidst their bid to end a 12-year wait for a Premier League title, and now find themselves fourth and five points behind league leaders Leicester City.

Here are four talking points from the goalless draw.


The Gunners' clash with Southampton served to emphasise how much they miss having Santi Cazorla and Francis Coquelin in the centre of the park.

Whilst an excellent central midfielder on his day, Aaron Ramsey fails to offer the same creativity from deep than his Spanish teammate, whose ability to keep the ball in small pockets of space and play inch-perfect passes has proved vital to his side in recent seasons.

With regards to Mathieu Flamini, the Frenchman is far less effective when marshalling in front of the back four compared to countryman Coquelin.

His sloppy backpass in the opening ten minutes of the second half, which almost put Shane Long through on goal, was yet another reminder of his frailties and should give Wenger reason to reinstate Coquelin with immediate effect.


Six points from their last five matches, three of which at home, represents a poor return for the Gunners.

With Claudio Ranieri's Leicester showing no signs of slowing, Manchester City always likely to be in the race and Tottenham proving capable of a sustained title bid, Arsenal must start winning the games they're expected to.

Wenger's side face difficult tests away at City, Everton, Spurs and Manchester United in their final 14 games, placing greater importance on claiming all three points against lesser sides.


At just 20-years-old, young Hector Bellerin still has plenty to learn at right-back. However, the Spaniard's form has visibly dropped in recent months, suggesting greater competition is needed to bring the best out of him.

With Mathieu Debuchy's career at the Emirates all-but over and Calum Chambers yet to find consistency in an Arsenal shirt, Wenger could do with buying a new right-back to help Bellerin rediscover the form that saw him terrorise opposing left-backs earlier this season.


Whilst far from a solid defensive display, Gabriel's inclusion in the starting line-up on Tuesday night helped neutralise the threat of balls in behind and pace of Saints frontmen Long and Sadio Mane.

Per Mertesacker, who struggled at St Mary's on Boxing Day in the reverse fixture, has long been an easy target and weak link in Arsenal's defence, and with the German now 31-years-old, it's time Wenger allowed Gabriel and Koscielny to gel as a centre-back partnership.

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