BEDNAREK NETS ONLY GOAL AS ARSENAL DEAFEATED BY SOUTHAMPTON ST. MARY’S STADIUM.
A resolute Southampton stunned Arsenal 1-0 in the Premier League (PL) and ended a run of five PL games without victory, as the ‘Gunners’ recorded a third PL defeat in a row.
After watching Tottenham Hotspur succumb to a last-minute defeat to Brighton in the lunchtime kick-off, Arsenal had all the motivation they needed to close the gap on their London rivals. With that in mind, the ‘Gunners’ took the game to Southampton, almost finding an opening in the 9th minute when Gabriel Martinelli flung a shot from the edge of the area, only for it to be comfortably collected by Fraser Forster. The visitors continued to crank up the pressure, and Arsenal’s top goalscorer Bukayo Saka tried his luck inside the penalty area, but the strong hands of Forster were there to deny the England international.
Still in search of the opening goal, Forster was called into action once again, this time to rebuff a fleeting effort from Cédric Soares, as it became apparent the 34-year old shot-stopper was potentially in for a long afternoon. For the ‘Saints’, it was evident they were still trying to re-group following their 6-0 mauling from Chelsea last time out, but out of nowhere, sprung a surprise on the stroke of HT when Mohamed Elyounoussi found Jan Bednarek, who made no mistake in front of goal to give Southampton an unexpected lead.
Now trailing, Arsenal needed to muster up something special in the second half to keep their UEFA Champions League hopes alive. Soares once more attempted a spectacular effort from the edge of the box, but this time, the Euro 2016 winner saw his chance sail high over the bar. Wasteful chances seemed to be the theme of Arsenal’s afternoon, as Martinelli and Martin Ødegaard flashed efforts high into the stands, before Saka thrashed another significant effort past the post.
The fresh legs of Nicolas Pépé were introduced in the 70th minute, as Arsenal sought out an equaliser, as the clock agonisingly ticked down. Substitute Emile Smith Rowe thought he’d pulled his side level just moments later, but the ever-present Forster pulled off another excellent save to keep hold of the ‘Saints’ lead. It turned out to be the ‘Gunners’ last real opportunity to pull level, as they recorded back-to-back away PL defeats for the first time since December 2021.