Southampton vs Arsenal final score: Forster masterclass stuns Gunners
SOUTHAMPTON -- Arsenal lost 1-0 at Southampton, as Mikel Arteta is seeing his side stutter as their top four hopes took another hit.
The Gunners have now lost three-straight games to Crystal Palace, Brighton and Southampton.
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After Tottenham suffered a shock loss to Brighton earlier on Saturday, this was a chance for Arsenal to pull level on points with their north London rivals as they also have a game in-hand.
But Southampton, led by several stunning saves from goalkeeper Fraser Forster, scored right on half time through Jan Bednarek and that was enough to seal a huge win for Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side.
With the victory Southampton have 39 points for the season, while Arsenal remain on 54 points.
Southampton vs Arsenal final score, stats
Southampton 1-0 Arsenal
Goals scored: Bednarek 44'
Shots: Southampton 9, Arsenal 23
Shots on target: Southampton 3, Arsenal 6
Possession: Southampton 24, Arsenal 76
Three things we learned from Southampton vs Arsenal
1. Arsenal playing without confidence: The Gunners had plenty of the ball but no confidence whatsoever, as they lacked creativity and are in a really bad place. Arteta’s side have now lost three on the trot to put a huge dent in their top four hopes but it is the way they’ve lost these games which is the most disappointing. Three defeats against midtable teams has come from nowhere but this is very similar to the start of the season where they looked shaky defensively, played without a clear plan and had no cutting edge. Yes, they were missing Lacazette, Partey, Tierney and Tomiyasu but there was still enough quality in this Arsenal side to get past Southampton. They just never looked like they believed they could.
2. Huge opportunity missed: With Spurs losing at home to Brighton, this was a huge chance for Arsenal to take control of fourth place. They didn’t take it. They knocked the ball around nicely but never really looked like carving Southampton open and this may be the game they look back on if they don’t finish in the top four. They play Chelsea, Manchester United, West Ham and Tottenham in their next few games and they simply have to win at least three of those to give themselves a chance of a top four finish. That sound you can hear is a huge sigh of relief from Tottenham’s fans.
3. Saints go back to basics in search of top 10: This was not a vintage Saints display. They didn’t high-press and they weren’t great on the ball, but they went back to basics and secured a huge win. After the 6-0 home defeat against Chelsea last weekend, Saints needed to play safer and they proved they could. Hasenhuttl went to a 5-4-1 formation and it worked really well. The incoming Lyanco, Valery and Perraud were particularly solid and Armando Broja gave them a focal point up top to play off. Despite slipping into their old defensive habits in recent weeks, Southampton can still finish in the top 10. This display shows they have regained some solidity and Forster pulled off great saves. This is a starting point for a flurry of games against teams around them in the table late in the season, as Hasenhuttl chases a first top 10 finish as Saints boss.
Man of the Match: Fraser Forster - Made four stunning saves to deny Arsenal. Saints’ goalkeeper was simply superb.
Forster denies Saka with save of season contender
Saints started well as Armando Broja ran into the box but his ball back wasn’t scrambled home and Arsenal cleared.
Gabriel Martinelli’s shot was pushed away well by Fraser Forster at one end, while Romain Perraud had a shot deflected wide at the other.
Fraser Forster then made a sensational save to deny Bukayo Saka what looked like a certain goal, as a mistake from Yan Valery allowed Arsenal to break but Forster somehow clawed the ball away at the back post.
Saints take shock lead
Stuart Armstrong had a shot on goal which Aaron Ramsdale saved well down low, as Arsenal struggled to break down the stubborn hosts.
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Southampton then took the lead right on half time as a corner was half cleared.
Mohamed Elyounoussi did superbly to keep the ball in and he played in Bednarek who squeezed the ball home at the near post to put Saints 1-0 up.
In the second half Arsenal pushed to get level, while at the other end Perraud had a shot well blocked by Cedric.
Gunners can’t get past Forster
Eddie Nketiah flicked an acrobatic effort just wide and Saka curled an effort just wide as the Gunners had plenty of the ball late on.
Forster denied substitute Emile Smith Rowe with another fine save as he clawed the ball away.
Then Forster denied Saka, again, while Martin Odegaard flashed a shot just wide as the Gunners cranked up the pressure late on. Forster, again, saved Granit Xhaka’s shot and Arsenal just couldn’t find a way through the brick wall in Southampton’s goal.