Arsene Wenger
Arsene Wenger says Southampton made the game very physical Getty Images

Arsene Wenger has attributed Arsenal's 4-0 drubbing against Southampton to the team not being able to rise to the challenge. The Gunners trailed after a scorching hit from unlikely hero Cuco Martina in the first half, who swirled a ball from outside the far post to beat Petr Cech's outstretched hands. Wenger also criticised the referee for failing to control the game and making two crucial errors which cost them two goals.

The Gunners had an opportunity to go top of the league with a win here, with Leicester City falling short against Liverpool at Anfield. However, the north London club failed to live up to expectations.

The loss comes as a big reality check for the Gunners, who had won four consecutive games in all competitions before the setback, including a massive win over Manchester City at the Emirates. Failure to get Mesut Ozil on the ball, who was well marshalled by Victor Wanyama, proved their downfall, as the Gunners looked toothless in front of the goal. Wenger has urged his team to make a comeback against Bournemouth less than 48 hours later whom they host at the Emirates on Monday, December 28.

"I think Southampton made the game very physical and we lost many challenges and that explains why we lost the game. That is one aspect, so well done to them. The second aspect is that on the first three goals we were really unlucky with the decision of the referee, the second goal was a foul and the third goal was a goal kick. If you are a bit under level and on top of that you have the first three goals against you with decision-making, it is even more difficult. We hope in the next game we have decisions like that for us," Wenger told Arsenal's official website.

"I said before the game at the moment if we are one point ahead or one point behind it is not too important. It is the performance that counts. We were not good enough to win the game and we have to look at that. On the other hand we can't look too much at that as in 48 hours we play again. We were disappointed and frustrated and the only way is to respond in 48 hours," he added.