Saints beaten by Arsenal

By SFC Media Wed 10 May Saints vs Arsenal
Photo by Naomi Baker
Wed 10 May 7.45PM
Premier League
Southampton
0
Arsenal
2
Sánchez [60'] Giroud [83']
Ward-Prowse (44')
Özil (73') Bellerín (90+3')
Referee: Jonathan Moss | Venue: St Mary's Stadium | Attendance: 31,474

Second-half goals from Arsenal's Alexis Sánchez and Olivier Giroud condemned Southampton to a 2-0 defeat on a night where, for long periods, there had been little to choose between the sides.

Sànchez's exquisite turn and clinical finish was followed by a late header from substitute Giroud, as the Gunners prevented Saints from climbing as high as eighth in the Premier League.

Saints had enjoyed the better of the first half, but were unable to turn their pressure into a goal, as Petr Čech made two big saves, first from Manolo Gabbiadini and then from Nathan Redmond, before the visitors took control in the final 30 minutes.

Saints manager Claude Puel made just the one change from the side that toughed out a 0-0 draw at Liverpool on Sunday, with Sofiane Boufal dropping to the bench in favour of Redmond.

While it had been a stout defensive display at Anfield, Saints were more on the front foot at the start of this game.

They created an opening after seven minutes, as Cédric worked room for a cross, picking out an unmarked Ryan Bertrand on the far side of the area, with the defender dragging his volley back across the face of goal.

Arsenal, unsurprisingly, looked potent when they burst forward, and they carved out a decent chance when former Saint Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain slipped a pass into Aaron Ramsey, who fired a right-footed shot just wide of the near post.

Saints were doing well to scupper them when they did break into the final third, though, with Forster untested through the first half-an-hour.

It was right at that point when Saints went close again, as James Ward-Prowse whipped in a glorious cross from the right that arced towards Redmond, but his header from a few yards out was deflected away.

Seconds later, an even better chance appeared, as a ball over the top found Dušan Tadić in behind. He chested it down and was about to shoot, when Shkodran Mustafi made a last-ditch sliding tackle. The ball only spun to Gabbiadini on the angle, though, but his low shot was repelled by the legs of Čech.

The game was really opening up at this point and, at the other end, Jack Stephens had to make a brilliant sliding tackle to deny Mesut Özil, as he was released in the box by Danny Welbeck’s clever flick.

The Gunners were dealt a blow ten minutes before the interval, as the lively Oxlade-Chamberlain picked up an injury and was replaced by Héctor Bellerin.

Manolo Gabbiadini goes close with a free-kick

An over-zealous Mustafi tackle on Tadić then presented Saints with an opening five minutes ahead of the interval, but Gabbiadini’s 25-yard free-kick whipped past the upright.

Two minutes later, Redmond drew a superb flying save from Čech, as the Arsenal keeper sprung to his right to tip his fierce long-ranger over the bar.

There was still time left in the half for Ward-Prowse to go into the book for hauling back Welbeck as he broke, but it was Saints who went in happier with their efforts at the break.
They started positively after half-time too, with Gabbiadini finding Steven Davis 20 yards out moments after the restart, but he sliced his first-time effort high and wide.

Still, for as well as Saints were defending, an Arsenal threat is rarely ever too far away, and they went within inches of taking the lead in the 51st minute, as Ramsey turned a square cross from Bellerin just wide.

Unfortunately for Puel's side, Sánchez, who had been quiet all night up until this point, did not miss the target in the 61st minute.

A slick move worked the ball into his feet 18 yards out, and he twisted and turned to work space on his left foot, before slotting the ball past Forster to give the Gunners a 1-0 lead.

After Forster made an excellent diving stop from Granit Xhaka's powerful long-range effort, Puel made a double change with 20 minutes left, as Boufal and Shane Long replaced Ward-Prowse and Redmond.

Boufal nearly produced a moment of brilliance shortly after coming on, as he danced past a host of Arsenal defenders on the edge of the area, but his left-footed effort sliced wide.

Puel then sent on Jay Rodriguez in place of Tadić, but there was no chance for him to have an impact before Arsenal doubled the lead.

Sánchez sent a cross to the back post, picking out Ramsey, who nodded the ball back across the box, with Giroud on hand to head past Forster from close range.

Match sponsor: SportPesa
Southampton

Head to Head Stats

Arsenal
  • Possession (%)
    47
    53
  • Shots
    14
    11
  • Shots on target
    3
    4
  • Corners
    5
    5
  • Passes Complete
    350
    410

Southampton

1
Fraser Forster (GK)
3
Maya Yoshida
24
Jack Stephens
21
Ryan Bertrand
2
Cédric Soares
11
Dusan Tadic
Jay Rodriguez (80′)
14
Oriol Romeu
22
Nathan Redmond
Shane Long (70′)
16
James Ward-Prowse
Sofiane Boufal (70′)
8
Steven Davis (C)
20
Manolo Gabbiadini
40
Mouez Hassen
19
Sofiane Boufal
23
Pierre-Emile Højbjerg
7
Shane Long
26
Jérémy Pied
12
Martín Cáceres
9
Jay Rodriguez

Arsenal

33
Petr Cech (GK) (C)
20
Shkodran Mustafi
16
Rob Holding
18
Nacho Monreal
15
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
Héctor Bellerín (36′)
29
Granit Xhaka
8
Aaron Ramsey
3
Kieran Gibbs
23
Danny Welbeck
Olivier Giroud (80′)
7
Alexis Sánchez
11
Mesut Özil
Francis Coquelin (89′)
13
David Ospina
34
Francis Coquelin
24
Héctor Bellerín
17
Alex Iwobi
5
Gabriel
14
Theo Walcott
12
Olivier Giroud
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