Arsenal 0-0 Southampton: Forster’s heroics halts Gunners
- Forster makes incredible saves
- Gunners slip to fourth
- Saints unbeaten in four
LONDON -- Arsenal and Southampton played out a 0-0 draw at the Emirates Stadium with the home side frustrated by a terrific display from Fraser Forster.
[ MORE: Wenger laments goal-shy Gunners ]
The towering 6-foot 7-inch goalkeeper -- who had missed nine months out with a serious knee injury up until last month -- was in superb form to deny Olivier Giroud, Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez and Theo Walcott on multiple occasions. He made 10 saves in total to deny the Gunners as Arsene Wenger stood frustrated with his hands on his hips.
3 - Arsenal have gone three PL games without a goal for the first time since February 2009. Fading.— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) February 2, 2016
Saints threatened on the break but were outplayed for most of the game and Ronald Koeman’s side will be more than happy with a point, as Forster has not conceded in four-straight games since returning from injury.
[ MORE: Koeman hails “magic” Forster ]
Arsenal slip to fourth on 45 points, while Saints rise to seventh on 34 points.
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Southampton started brightly as Shane Long and Sadio Mane looked dangerous on the break but the best chance fell to Arsenal as Sanchez’s superb long pass found Ozil and his delicious first touch set him up for a shot but Forster saved well down low.
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The visitors continued to look sharp on the break but Arsenal should’ve been 1-0 up after 20 minutes. A cross from the right was flicked on by Giroud and Ozil prodded towards goal four-yards out but somehow Forster’s outstretched arm clawed the ball wide. Incredible save.
Before half time Saints settled down and Mane’s cross was cleared to the edge of the box where it found Oriol Romeu who curled just over the bar. Great effort.
A set-piece then caused Arsenal’s defense all kinds of problem as they first failed to clear the ball properly and then a flick on found Mane clean through but the Senegalese forward scuffed his shot harmlessly wide. The Gunners pushed hard to go ahead before the break but half time arrived with the game scoreless.
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At the start of the second half Forster pulled off another marvelous stop, as Giroud’s curling shot looked destined for the top corner but the towering England international punched it away with one hand. Magnificent stop.
Arsenal continued to turn the screw and Giroud play in Ozil after he ghosted into the box but his cross couldn’t find Joel Campbell at the back post. Mane then raced free but sent his shot straight at Petr Cech, while Forster denied Giroud once again with a comfortable save at the back post.
[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]
Forster then saved brilliantly from Theo Walcott twice, Laurent Koscielny sent a header over the bar, James Ward-Prowse cleared an effort off the line and Forster, once again, tipped Sanchez’s header wide as Arsenal’s fans cursed their luck. Saints had a penalty shout denied when Long’s shot appeared to hit Gabriel’s hand, but the visitors were more than happy to walk away with a point following Forster’s heroics.
Some of the home fans booed at the final whistle but this game was all about one man: Take a bow, Fraser Forster.