Southampton strike Arsenal in Capital One encounter


Southampton continued their fantastic start to the season by coming from behind to beat Arsenal in a gripping Capital One Cup third-round tie.

Alexis Sanchez’s superb free-kick opened the scoring for an Arsenal side featuring 10 changes from the weekend.

But Southampton hit back soon after as Dusan Tadic scored a penalty given for a foul on debutant Sadio Mane.

A stunning strike from Nathaniel Clyne gave the Saints a deserved lead, which they protected in a lively second half.

Ronald Koeman’s side continue to make a mockery of the pre-season suggestions that they were en route to mediocrity following the summer exodus of their manager and five key players.

In contrast to the changes made by opposite number Arsene Wenger, Koeman made five alterations to his starting XI and was rewarded with a coherent display consistent with the quick counter-attacking style they have showcased this campaign.

They had to show resolve to come from behind after Sanchez had put Arsenal ahead by curling a superb free-kick over the wall and into the top corner from 25 yards.

It took them six minutes to respond as Mane, playing his first game since obtaining a work permit, drew a trip out of Tomas Rosicky in the box and Tadic side-footed his penalty down the middle to equalise.

Clyne’s goal to give them the lead and ultimately the win was as brilliant as it was unexpected. The defender picked up the ball following a cleared corner, took a touch and smashed a shot that swerved past Arsenal’s debutant keeper David Ospina and into the roof of the net.

Arsenal strove for an equaliser in the second half but they were unable to break down the visitors, who could easily have added to their lead but for some wayward shooting.

None of the players Wenger drafted in did much to stake a claim for a first-team place.

Rosicky covered ground but provided relatively little, Lukas Podolski and Joel Campbell were largely anonymous, while Abou Diaby, making his first start since March 2013, was understandably off the pace.

That the midfielder managed over an hour after such a lengthy period out with yet another injury is the most positive development Wenger can take away from the evening.

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