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BBC Sport's Ian Brown
"A victory Arsenal desparately needed"
 real 14k

Gunners boss Arsene Wenger
"We knew today was a big, big game for us."
 real 14k

Saints boss Glen Hoddle
"Sometimes football kicks you in the teeth."
 real 14k

Southampton's James Beattie
"The lads played with confidence"
 real 56k

Saturday, 2 December, 2000, 17:20 GMT
Last-gasp Arsenal beat Saints
Pires
Arsenal's Pires shields the ball from the Saints
Arsenal 1-0 Southampton

A late Patrick Vieira goal rescued Arsenal in a game in which they again struggled to score.

The Gunners came into the match on the back of an awful run of four defeats in five games, and without a goal in 335 minutes of football.

It quickly became apparent why. They dominated possession but wasted numerous chances and were guilty of being too intricate in front of goal.

Southampton got numbers behind the ball and looked to have achieved their objective of a draw before Vieira's goal.

The French midfielder scored with a weakly struck shot from 10 yards after the ball fell to him at a corner.

Arsenal had quickly started to carve out chances.

After half-an-hour Dennis Bergkamp headed on from the edge of the area and Sylvain Wiltord found himself clean through in the box.

Mounting pressure

But he lingered too long on the ball before hitting a shot from eight yards, which Paul Jones saved well with his legs.

Lundekvam/ Bergkamp
Lundekvam (l) fights Bergkamp for the ball
Minutes later Robert Pires hit the post direct from a corner.

From the rebound Gilles Grimandi struck a firm shot which was deflected to safety.

Home pressure was building and Southampton enjoyed only momentary respite.

Silvinho surged down the left and played the ball to Bergkamp, who was waiting unmarked on the edge of the area.

The Dutchman struck a powerful shot that beat Jones but hit the post and rebounded across the face of goal.

Arsenal continued to miss chances in the second-half.


There was frustration out there when we couldn't get an early goal and our confidence dropped as well. But we managed to get the win - another goalless draw would have been hard to accept
  Arsene Wenger
Arsenal manager
Soon after the interval Fredrik Ljungberg advanced through the middle and slipped a lovely pass past Dodd to Pires.

But the French midfielder hit his left-footed shot woefully wide.

Arsene Wenger brought on Thierry Henry and Kanu in a bid to find a goal and the pair quickly combined to create an opening.

Late breakthrough

Henry sped down the left and squared to Kanu, who dribbled cleverly and had his close-range shot blocked.

Then Kanu got in front of Jones at the corner and cushioned the ball back.

Keown came speeding into the six-yard box but his header went over the crossbar.


It took a very scrappy goal to beat us and I'm disappointed, because over the 90 minutes we deserved something. But you can't legislate for the sort of goal they scored
  Glenn Hoddle
Minutes later Kanu was again involved, playing in Ljungberg, who broke free in the area but bizarrely chose to pass rather than shoot.

Southampton cleared the Swede's effort, but only as far as Henry, who clipped the post with his shot.

Arsenal finally got the breakthrough five minutes from time.

Luzhny swung in a corner from the left, Southampton failed to clear and Vieira's weakly struck shot from 10 yards crawled into the net.


Arsenal: Manninger, Luzhny, Keown, Adams, Silvinho, Vieira, Ljungberg, Grimandi, Pires, Wiltord, Bergkamp.
Subs: Dixon, Henry, Parlour, Lukic, Kanu.

Southampton: Jones, El Khalej, Dodd, Lundekvam, Oakley, Draper, Tessem, Kachloul, Bridge, Davies, Beattie.
Subs: Rosler, Moss, Benali, Bleidelis, Gibbens.

Referee: S Dunn (Bristol).

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See also:

30 Nov 00 |  Leeds United
O'Leary accuses Arsenal
27 Nov 00 |  Eng Prem
Premiership rivals admit defeat
25 Nov 00 |  Eng Prem
Sinclair strike sinks Saints
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