Wojciech Szczesny backs Arsenal to remain positive despite poor display

The Gunners could only draw against Southampton yesterday

Wojciech Szczesny believes Arsenal can remain positive despite their uninspiring performance at Southampton.

Arsenal rarely threatened at St Mary's and were fortunate to return to north London with a point.

Their performance in yesterday's 1-1 draw was a far cry from some of their recent Premier League displays, including Saturday's 7-3 defeat of Newcastle.

It led manager Arsene Wenger to express anger after the match, but goalkeeper Szczesny remains in a confident mood.

"I think Southampton defended much better than Newcastle did the other day," the Poland international said.

"You have to give credit to them a little but we are still disappointed with the result.

"We were confident of getting the three points and, unfortunately for us, we have not been able to.

"We are on a good little run. We won four league games on the trot but didn't get the three points here, which is the most important thing.

"We hope to do well in the FA Cup and then carry on our run in the Premier League."

It was hardly the result Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Theo Walcott wanted on their first returns to the club with whom they began their careers.

Arsenal remain in talks with Walcott, whose contract expires in the summer, over an extended stay at the Emirates Stadium which will next play host to Manchester City.

The Gunners, who face a trip to Swansea in the FA Cup on Sunday, welcome the Premier League holders to north London seven days later.

A trip across the capital to Chelsea follows the City match, before clashes with West Ham and Liverpool.

"I think it will be a very good test for us," Szczesny said. "We are confident because we are on a good run.

"It is not just two tough games, because we have Liverpool soon after as well.

"It could not come at a better time because we are confident and playing well.

"Obviously we had a little setback at Southampton, but there is a very good sprit in the dressing room."

Szczesny was surprisingly upbeat given Arsenal were second best throughout at St Mary's, relying on a Guly do Prado own goal to secure a point.

It was a case of what could have been for the hosts, who took the lead through Gaston Ramirez and could have won it had the Uruguayan not had a second chalked off.

"We came into the game full of confidence and I thought we played really well in terms of creating chances," Southampton midfielder Steven Davis said.

"They didn't really have many clear-cut openings and I thought in terms of our own balance between attack and defence we did really well.

"We thoroughly deserved a point at least and I think in the second half we kicked on a bit stronger.

"Jason Puncheon has had a few chances and I don't know if Gaston's second one should have counted or not.

"There is maybe a little bit of disappointment that we have not gone on to win the game."

Yesterday's result was Southampton's third successive draw after impressively taking points at Fulham and Stoke.

"I think every point is going to be valuable come the end of the season," Davis added.

"It was a decent performance here and over the Christmas period.

"We were unlucky not to pick up three points from Stoke away and it was similar against Arsenal, but hopefully if we continue playing the same way we'll start turning some of those draws into wins."

PA

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