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Petr Cech shines amid dreadful day for Arsenal in 1-1 draw at Southampton

After last week's defensive disaster against Manchester United, Arsenal were lucky Southampton didn't make more of a similarly disastrous opening period for them, as the Gunners grabbed a late goal to salvage a point at St Mary's.

Sloppiness and poor defending allowed Charlie Austin to open the scoring in the third minute, and but for Petr Cech and some wastefulness on the part of the home side, Arsenal could have found themselves further behind.

It set the tone for what was an insipid Arsenal performance, with few chances created despite the fact they enjoyed almost 70 percent possession. In the past, Arsene Wenger has described this as "sterile domination" and so it was again Sunday.

Thankfully for the Arsenal manager, one of his worst performers on the day, Alexis Sanchez, finally produced a final ball that wasn't dreadful and substitute Olivier Giroud's deft header won them a point you'd be hard pressed to say they deserved.

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Positives

Cech kept Arsenal in it with some good saves, but beyond the fact that they kept plugging away and got a late goal, there was little to shout about today.

Negatives

The defence, the midfield, and the attack. Nothing clicked today, some players look as if they're far too comfortable, under no pressure to perform, and that was evident again. Away from home Arsenal have real problems, and Wenger seems no closer to finding a solution.

Manager rating out of 10

3 -- There's such a lack of consistency to Arsenal's performances this season, yet Wenger seems prepared to let the same players make the same errors and mistakes each week without trying more to counter that. Today was another one of those days.

Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK Petr Cech, 8 -- Sometimes you think back to days when Arsenal's keepers were much less reliable and on days like today how they might have made things worse. Cech made good saves, and commanded his box well.

DF Laurent Koscielny, 5 -- He's been a fantastic player for Arsenal, but now looks like a man who is struggling to deal with his chronic Achilles problem and his legs, which are getting slightly older.

DF Per Mertesacker, 4 -- Got caught out badly for the goal. A player of his experience knows better than to be the wrong side of the attacker.

DF Nacho Monreal, 5 -- Normally so consistent, he didn't match that at St Mary's. Didn't do anything terribly, but was part of the poor overall performance.

MF Hector Bellerin, 4 -- Sloppy, careless, and wasteful. The Spaniard is a fantastic talent but knows his place in the team in this system is under no threat. Needs competition.

MF Aaron Ramsey, 5 -- He's been in fantastic form in recent weeks, but came nowhere close to that. Struggled to make any impact.

MF Granit Xhaka, 5 -- His replacement by Jack Wilshere was met with cheers, but the Swiss international was particularly poor. He remains too isolated in the current Arsenal formation, which only highlights his weaknesses, and that's on the manager for his team selections.

Despite several breakdowns in defence, Petr Cech kept the Gunners in the match.
Despite several breakdowns in defence, Petr Cech kept the Gunners in the match.

MF Sead Kolasinac, 5 -- Was always an option on the left, but could do little to contribute to the attack. His tendency to switch off in defensive situations was notable again.

FW Mesut Ozil, 7 -- Worked hard and looked like the one Arsenal player whose quality hadn't completely deserted him.

FW Alexis Sanchez, 5 -- His rating would have been lower without the late assist, and his carelessness is now a big problem for Arsenal. He's given the ball away a total of 66 times in the past two games, and it's little wonder the Gunners are struggling to score when he blunts their attacking play so much.

FW Alexandre Lacazette, 6 -- Once more failed to play 90 minutes, but got little service of any quality.

Substitutions

FW Danny Welbeck, 5 -- Did almost nothing of note after his introduction.

MF Jack Wilshere, 6 -- Showed some nice touches and helped drive the team forward at times.

FW Olivier Giroud, NR -- It was a very clever header to rescue a point, showed his value to the squad.

Andrew Mangan is one of ESPN FC's Arsenal bloggers. You can follow him on Twitter: @arseblog.

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