Petr Cech urges Arsenal defence to end stuttering starts after Southampton draw

James Benge
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Petr Cech has warned his Arsenal team-mates they cannot continue their stuttering starts in the Premier League.

Having found themselves two down inside 11 minutes against Manchester United earlier this month Arsenal failed to learn their lesson at St Mary’s on Sunday, a lackadaisical Per Mertesacker handing possession to Charlie Austin, who pounced to give Southampton a third minute lead.

Arsenal would ultimately battle back to claim a 1-1 draw through Olivier Giroud’s late header but could easily have been further down had Southampton capitalised on their dominance in the opening period.

Only several crucial interventions from Cech kept Southampton’s lead down to just one and the goalkeeper warned his team-mates their early game woes cannot continue.

“One thing that is really gutting is that we lost the game against Man United in the first 10 minutes,” Cech said.

“We could have been 3-0 down after 10 minutes again [at Southampton] and I think this is something we need to improve.

“In this league, if you give other teams the advantage in the first five minutes, you make it far more difficult for yourselves.

“We were lucky to get a point, even if we deserved to get one in the end, because we put them under pressure. But we wanted all three.”

Arsenal travel to West Ham on Wednesday looking to end a woeful run of away form. In 2017 they have lost 11 of their 20 games on the road, with their only wins this season coming at Everton and Burnley.