The Arsenal squad were shocked to find themselves 2-0 down inside 15 minutes at home to a Southampton side bottom of the Premier League and as a result, an on-field team talk was needed.
Arsenal’s stars were called into an impromptu mid-half team talk by Oleksandr Zinchenko after being stunned by Southampton at the Emirates.
Some may have feared Arsenal’s players had one eye on Wednesday night’s title showdown against Manchester City and they certainly started as such. Carlos Alcaraz put Southampton in front inside the opening 27 seconds after a woeful error from goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale.
The players rallied around their No.1 on that occasion while such is the positivity surrounding the Gunners right now, the home faithful rose to their feet as if their side were the ones who had taken the lead.
Yet, just minutes later the hosts had reduced the deficit. The Emirates still in full voice, some wing wizadry from Bukayo Saka teed up Gabriel Martinelli nicely for his 15th league goal of the season. The Brazilian calmly volleyed his effort into the Saints’ net as the crowd held their breath and thus the momentum swung firmly back in favour of Arsenal.
His choice of celebration was apt, as Martinelli waved his arms frantically in the air desperately trying to remind the home fans that there was plenty of life in the tie yet.
As he did so, fellow Brazilian Gabriel Jesus was engaged in a tussle with James Ward-Prowse who was trying to slow proceedings down while the Arsenal forward hurried and hassled for the ball.
For a man that loves control as much as Mikel Arteta, in truth his side lacked any.
Certainly, on the back of their two two-goal giveaways against Liverpool and West Ham respectively, and with City breathing down their necks, it wasn’t the start he had envisaged.