Premier League
SouthamptonSouthampton2ArsenalArsenal0

Southampton 2-0 Arsenal

By Luke ReddyBBC Sport
Dusan Tadic scored
Wojciech Szczesny presented a gift of a second goal to Dusan Tadic
  • Szczesny makes errors for both goals
  • Mane and Tadic take advantage to score
  • Saints stay fourth, three points above Arsenal
  • Supporter confronts Wenger in dugout

Southampton punished two errors by Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny to stay fourth in the Premier League.

Szczesny raced from his goal in the first half to allow Sadio Mane to curl into an empty net from a narrow angle.

Saints' keeper Fraser Forster superbly saved from Alexis Sanchez before Szczesny kicked a loose ball while on the floor to Dusan Tadic, who poked in.

Southampton could have scored more, with Graziano Pelle's shot cleared off the line, as Arsenal drop to sixth.

Southampton 2-0 Arsenal: Saints should have scored more - Koeman

The Gunners' defeat sparked an angry reaction from one supporter, who confronted manager Arsene Wenger in the dugout late on as his side slipped three points behind the victors.

Saints' manager Ronald Koeman suggested his side could finish above Arsenal this week, a feat which seemed unlikely in the summer as almost £100m of players left.

A run of four league defeats from late November issued a reality check at the south coast club but dreams of a top-four finish once again seem realistic with 10 points taken from the last 12 on offer.

Saints in rare territory
Southampton started a calendar year in the top four in the Premier League for the first time since 1990.

Without the suspended Morgan Schneiderlin - a reported target for many teams in January - Koeman's side were solid all over the pitch, none more so than goalkeeper Forster, who saved brilliantly from Santi Cazorla and Sanchez either side of Mane's opener.

By contrast, Szczesny made errors which proved the difference between the teams.

First, the Poland keeper raced from his goal to confront Mane, but the Senegal striker - soon heading for the African Cup of Nations - curled in his third goal in as many games with a measured finish from the byline.

Sadio Mane

The Arsenal keeper then superbly denied James Ward-Prowse from 12 yards before the break, but panicked when grounded in his six-yard box before the hour mark and kicked a loose ball straight to Tadic, who scored his second Premier League goal.

The Arsenal keeper instantly sipped his sports bottle with a bemused look on his face. It was the seventh goal his side have conceded from an error this season - only Everton, with 11, have more.

Wenger rues 'two big mistakes'

The Gunners nearly added to that tally when Szczesny was sold short by a backpass and Mathieu Debuchy was left to clear Pelle's prod off the line.

Pelle had more shots than any other Premier League player in the first half of the season and also came close to adding to his eight league goals when he struck the post in each half.

His missed chances underlined the volume created by the home side but they were fortunate to end with 10 men when Florin Gardos - the last man - felled Alexis Sanchez with a quarter of the game remaining.

Referee Craig Pawson issued only a yellow and despite Arsenal introducing Theo Walcott for the first time since November, they rarely threatened to reduce the arrears.

Former Arsenal defender Martin Keown on BBC Match of the Day:

"There are problems in that defensive area for Arsenal. They were second best. You have to look at what is in front of the goalkeeper. It is embarrassing and it is something we are seeing time and time again."

Graziano Pelle
Graziano Pelle had five attempts at goal, hitting the post twice and seeing one cleared off the line
Per Mertesacker lunged but could not keep out Sadio Mane's curled effort as Szczesny raced back
Per Mertesacker lunged but could not keep out Sadio Mane's curled effort as Szczesny raced back
Southampton score
Szczesny's second error landed at the feet of Dusan Tadic who scored his second league goal of the season
Arsene Wenger
Arsene Wenger cut a frustrated figure on the touchline as his side struggled to hurt their hosts

Line-ups

Southampton

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 23Forster
  • 17Alderweireld
  • 6José Fonte
  • 5GardosBooked at 67minsSubstituted forYoshidaat 71'minutes
  • 21Bertrand
  • 8Davis
  • 12WanyamaBooked at 23mins
  • 16Ward-Prowse
  • 10ManéSubstituted forReedat 42'minutes
  • 11TadicSubstituted forLongat 85'minutes
  • 19Pellè

Substitutes

  • 1Davis
  • 3Yoshida
  • 7Long
  • 27Isgrove
  • 28Reed
  • 32McCarthy
  • 33Targett

Arsenal

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1Szczesny
  • 2DebuchySubstituted forAkpomat 84'minutes
  • 4Mertesacker
  • 6Koscielny
  • 3Gibbs
  • 21ChambersSubstituted forWalcottat 60'minutes
  • 34CoquelinBooked at 74mins
  • 15Oxlade-Chamberlain
  • 19Cazorla
  • 7Rosicky
  • 17Sánchez

Substitutes

  • 14Walcott
  • 18Monreal
  • 26Martinez
  • 28Campbell
  • 38Akpom
  • 39Bellerin
  • 70Maitland-Niles
Referee:
Craig Pawson
Attendance:
31,492

Match Stats

Home TeamSouthamptonAway TeamArsenal
Possession
Home41%
Away59%
Shots
Home13
Away11
Shots on Target
Home6
Away6
Corners
Home2
Away7
Fouls
Home14
Away7

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Southampton 2, Arsenal 0.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Southampton 2, Arsenal 0.

  3. Post update

    Laurent Koscielny (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  4. Post update

    Foul by Shane Long (Southampton).

  5. Post update

    Offside, Southampton. Harrison Reed tries a through ball, but Shane Long is caught offside.

  6. Post update

    Alexis Sánchez (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  7. Post update

    Foul by Jose Fonte (Southampton).

  8. Post update

    Attempt missed. Santiago Cazorla (Arsenal) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left.

  9. Substitution

    Substitution, Southampton. Shane Long replaces Dusan Tadic.

  10. Substitution

    Substitution, Arsenal. Chuba Akpom replaces Mathieu Debuchy.

  11. Post update

    Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  12. Post update

    Foul by James Ward-Prowse (Southampton).

  13. Post update

    Corner, Arsenal. Conceded by Ryan Bertrand.

  14. Post update

    Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  15. Post update

    Foul by Harrison Reed (Southampton).

  16. Post update

    Attempt saved. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

  17. Post update

    Corner, Arsenal. Conceded by Toby Alderweireld.

  18. Booking

    Francis Coquelin (Arsenal) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  19. Post update

    Foul by Francis Coquelin (Arsenal).

  20. Post update

    Harrison Reed (Southampton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.