Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has blamed a week-long hangover from his side's 3-1 defeat to Manchester United last Saturday evening as to why they once again found themselves behind early on during their 1-1 draw with Southampton on Sunday.
Saints striker Charlie Austin broke the deadlock after just two minutes following Gunners defender Per Mertesacker's lazy pass from the back which gifted the hosts the opportunity to take the lead.
However, a point was rescued late on by substitute striker Olivier Giroud, who was able to get the better of Fraser Forster in the 88th minute with a glancing header into the far corner of the net.
17 – No player has scored more substitute goals for a single Premier League team than Olivier Giroud – level with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Man Utd (17). Trademark.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 10, 2017
But despite climbing above Tottenham Hotspur once again in the Premier League table - with Arsenal now one point ahead of their nearest rivals in fifth - a slow start cost the north Londoners vital points once again.
Following the stalemate on the south coast, Wenger admitted that their defeat to Manchester United last Saturday, in which they conceded early twice, player a significant role in the opening moments at St Mary's.
If Man City win today Arsenal are closer to relegation zone than top of table...— Jake Humphrey (@mrjakehumphrey) December 10, 2017
"I felt that we played with an excellent spirit", the Frenchman told BT Sport, as quoted by ESPN.
"But in the last two weeks, unfortunately we dropped points in the last two games for bad starts -- we are caught straight away. And after, it's difficult.
"Of course you're concerned, but you don't want to make too big a problem of it because it takes belief and confidence away from the players. I think you could see today that last week had an influence on today's start of the game.
"The players wanted to start strong, and overall I believe it took us time to get into the game again."
However, despite alluding to a week-long hangover as reasoning behind the result, Wenger was left unimpressed with Southampton's tactics in order to secure the point, insisting the Premier League officials must do more to stamp out gamesmanship.
"I feel the wasting of time becomes a real problem in England, and the referees have not found the answer yet", he added.
"The answer is the authority of the referees. First of all, I think it's in the head of the players to respect the game, and to play.
"And secondly, the authority of the referees to act early in the game, because it becomes really a problem in the last two seasons."