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Premier League: Southampton 1 Arsenal 1

Southampton held an out-of-sorts Arsenal to a 1-1 draw at St Mary’s to move out of the relegation zone on Tuesday.

Gaston Ramirez gave the Saints the lead just past the half-hour mark after some poor defending from Arsenal, but Guly do Prado gifted the Gunners an equaliser when he put Theo Walcott’s free kick past his own keeper.

Artur Boruc, making his first start since October, made a shaky start and almost handed the Gunners an early lead when he fumbled a routine catch from an Arsenal corner.

The hosts, though, were unlucky not to be awarded a penalty when Thomas Vermaelen brought down Maya Yoshida inside the area after eight minutes.

Ramirez made the breakthrough for Southampton in the 35th minute when he capitalised on some poor defence. Jason Puncheon laid the ball off to the Uruguayan, after mishitting his initial shot, allowing him to sweep past an unsighted Wojciech Szczesny.

But the Saints were only ahead for seven minutes as do Prado turned the ball into his own net from a Theo Walcott free kick. The midfielder slid in at the near post but inadvertently put it past a helpless Boruc.

The sides went in level at the break but Southampton had the better of the half and perhaps should have gone in ahead.

Southampton started the second half brightly. Do Prado almost made amends from his earlier own-goal with a fine turn and shot to test Szczesny in the 55th minute, the Gunners’ stopper doing well turn his effort past the post.

The Poland international was called upon again from the corner, when the ball struck Sagna on the knee forcing Szczesny into a fine reaction save.

It took 70 minutes before Arsenal managed their first shot on target. Walcott found space down the right side but his low shot was easily kept out by Boruc.

The Saints’ reply was instant and should have resulted in a goal. Ramirez’s beautifully taken volley was harshly ruled out for a push on an Arsenal defender.

Arsenal finished the better side, as Mikel Arteta came close with a long range effort in the 80th minute before Gervinho dragged his shot wide of the near post moments later.

But Puncheon almost claimed all three points for the hosts when he ended his penetrative run with a fierce shot which was well blocked by Szczesny.

The Gunners had their own chance to win the game when Gibbs was played in behind the Saints’ defence but the left-back’s low cross was cut out by Yoshida.

Tue 1 January, 2013
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