Arsene Wenger ‘relieved’ after drama of late Santi Cazorla penalty sees Arsenal edge Southampton 2-1

Arsene Wenger is 'relieved' after a late Santi Cazorla penalty beats Southampton 2-1.

Arsene Wenger is 'relieved' after a late Santi Cazorla penalty beats Southampton 2-1. - Credit: Archant

A relieved Arsenal Wenger revealed his players told him Santi Cazorla’s late spot-kick winner was ‘100 per cent a penalty’ – after Arsenal beat Southampton 2-1 at The Emirates.

Wenger’s men had fallen behind to a Dusan Tadic free kick, helped on its way into the net via Petr Cech’s despairing dive after he had palmed the initial shot onto the bar on 18 minutes.

31-year-old birthday boy Laurent Koscielny then scored with a tremendous overhead kick just before the hour mark to equalise.

But despite longs spells of pressure and possession it appeared the Gunners were to share the points – until substitute Olivier Giroud was pulled down by Saints captain Jose Fonte on 90 minutes – with referee Bobby Madley pointing to the spot despite howls of protest from the visitors.

Cazorla showed his calm temperament and class as he fired his kick down the middle to win the game for Arsenal, despite a long delay as Koscielny received treatment on a head injury.

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Speaking after the game Wenger said: “I haven’t seen the incident on video but my players have told me it was 100 per cent a penalty.

“We had a little bit of a slow start but after 20 minutes we came back into the game.

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“We gave a good response. In the second half I thought we dominated again, and created many dangerous situations – but couldn’t score.

“But we were always under the threat of a counter attack from Southampton so it’s a relief to win.

“When you lose your first home game you cannot afford to drop points in your second as it creates high anxiety levels at home.”

Referring to his side’s two wins on the bounce after triumphing 3-1 at Watford before the international break he added: “If we can put further wins together it will help us to become more confident.”

The win saw Arsenal move up to fifth in the Premier League immediately after the game.

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