By 1970's Gooner
I can see very clearly why Wenger is usually so reluctant to play with two holding defensive midfielders. The formation will then have to transform into 4 2 3 1 which means that the team is shorn of a creative midfielder who can link defence into attack. Just as Ramsey used to do and of course as Wilshere has been doing so brilliantly until his recent knock on that ankle.
Having a creative midfielder means he can hold onto the ball and more importantly carry it forward into more dangerous areas further up the pitch thus quickly switching away from defence and into attack.
But it also provides another very important advantage. When the opponents win the ball they more often than not find space to move forward direct on the defensive line. This is because when there are two defensive midfielders they naturally tend to drop back in front of their defence or even stay further back than they should be even if their team have the ball!
This is what had been happening last night. Arteta and Flamini could not bring the ball out of defence with any great success and also they tended to stay back most of the time inviting the Saints players to come further forward.
This is the major reason why we never got a kick in the first half. Another that may have helped of course is the late arrival at the stadium. I don't know about the latter but it may have been a contributing factor for the all round lack of energy.
In the second half this misalignment in midfield was corrected by Wenger and Flamini and Arteta moved up which changed the complexion of the whole game.
Flamini's ban may be a blessing in disguise therefore. Wenger will now play Arteta along with either the Ox or Rosicky and a natural balance may be restored.