Mikel Arteta makes Gabriel Magalhaes substitution admission after red card

Mikel Arteta admitted he was about to hook Gabriel Magalhaes before the Arsenal defender was sent off against Southampton.

The Gunners had to settle for a point in Wednesday's Premier League clash at the Emirates after Gabriel was dismissed just past the hour mark following two bookings in four minutes.

It was a third red card in five matches for Arsenal – and a seventh in all since Arteta took charge a year ago.

And it came 10 minutes after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had ended his goal drought to haul Arsenal back into the game after ex-Gunner Theo Walcott had given Southampton a first-half lead.

Arteta said afterwards he was going to haul Gabriel off the pitch following his first yellow card.

But the centre-back didn't give his manager time to make the change as he quickly went into the book a second time for his foul on Walcott.

Asked if he was disappointed about the red card, Arteta said: "Very, because in that moment I was thinking to change the centre-back straight away – we didn't even have time to do that.

"In the end we got a point that considering the circumstances we have to accept."

Speaking to the BBC, Arteta added: "We didn't have time to think – we adjusted two or three things to try and win the game.

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"The boys came out like we did three days ago, we scored a really good goal, on top in the game, and again we shoot ourselves in the foot."

Arteta expanded on how the sending-off affected his side after they had targeted a first win in six games following a run of four defeats in five.

"Obviously when you can not win it, you do not lose it," he told Amazon Prime.

"Going down to 10 men and playing so long against a really good side, we have to take it.

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"We defended with our lives. The boys showed character and personality to hang in there. In these difficult moments you have to take the points."

Arteta was pleased with the way his side fought back after going behind early on to the high-flying Saints – but he said Gabriel's dismissal had given Arsenal "a mountain to climb".

"Disappointed the way we conceded the goal," said the manager. "It was the first action that they really created. It was a very intense game because we are both high pressing teams.

"We had some good moments that we didn't score. After the second half we needed to believe. We scored a really good goal.

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"But going down to 10 men it's a mountain to climb again."

He felt Gabriel's sending-off was harsh in the context of other decisions in the game, saying: "There were many incidents before that where the referee didn't give any yellow cards for blocking, free-kicks, kicking the ball out – and then we got it."

But Arteta hopes Aubameyang's goal can be a turning point for his side, after the forward ended his and Arsenal's barren run in front of goal in the Premier League.

"Hopefully that's going to unlock us because in the last two weeks, it's been a struggle," Arteta told Amazon Prime.

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"We are creating the chance and not scoring. But for the confidence of the team and Auba, it's really important."

He told the BBC: "Aubameyang needed that confidence boost. He is very critical with himself, hopefully he can move and be more optimistic in the future."

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