Premier League
ArsenalArsenal0SouthamptonSouthampton0

Arsenal 0-0 Southampton

By Phil DawkesBBC Sport
Fraser Forster saves a shot from Mesut Ozil
Southampton have taken four points off Arsenal this season

Arsenal lost further ground in the Premier League title race as they were held to a goalless draw by Southampton.

The Gunners had numerous chances but were unable to break down a resilient Saints side, who have now gone four games without conceding.

Away keeper Fraser Forster was superb, making a string of impressive saves, including two to deny Mesut Ozil.

Arsenal are now winless in four league games and drop to fourth in the table, five points behind leaders Leicester.

Arsene Wenger's side are also now two points behind both second-placed Manchester City and north London rivals Tottenham, who are third and have a superior goal difference.

Worryingly for the Gunners boss, who opted not to recruit another striker in the recent transfer window, his side have now gone three Premier League games without scoring.

The result is further proof of the resilience Ronald Koeman has instilled in Southampton, who won 1-0 at Manchester United 10 days ago and are seventh in the table after picking up 10 points in their last four matches.

Arsenal make it three games without a goal

Laurent Koscielny

On Boxing Day, Arsenal lost 4-0 at Southampton - their only truly heavy defeat of this league campaign and a result that cost them the chance to go top of the Premier League at Leicester's expense.

The Foxes' victory over Liverpool on Tuesday meant that Arsenal would not have gone top even with a win over Southampton, but this will be just as frustrating a result as the one they suffered at St Mary's.

Credit must go to Koeman's side for their defensive display but that does not excuse the Gunners for their pedestrian start and the chances they missed.

Ozil should have scored twice in the first half but Forster was alert and nimble to block his close-range shots and in the second half a host of players had good opportunities, including Olivier Giroud, who had a shot and header tipped away, and Laurent Koscielny who headed over from six yards out.

Alexis Sanchez was typically lively in his first league start since the end of November, but was also unable to find a way past the Saints keeper as the Gunners made it three games without a goal for the first time since February 2009.

Forster again shows his quality

Arsenal shots on target
Arsenal had 11 shots on target without scoring in his match, a league-high figure this season

It is no coincidence that Southampton's recent resurgence and newfound resilience began with the recovery of Forster from injury.

Prior to the England keeper's return, the Saints had lost eight of 10 games in all competitions, conceding 19 goals, but have since kept three clean sheets in winning three and drawing the other of their four matches.

On the evidence of his stellar performance at the Emirates, the 27-year-old will be challenging Joe Hart for a starting spot in the England team at this summer's Euro 2016.

During the course of the game he made 10 big saves and dominated his area.

In front of him, Jose Fonte and Virgil van Dijk were also superb, keeping the physical Giroud at bay while Victor Wanyama and Oriol Romeu restricted the space available to Ozil, Sanchez and Joel Campbell, who was later replaced by the equally anonymous Theo Walcott.

The only negative in Southampton's performance was their inability to make the most of their chances to attack, with Sadio Mane particularly wasteful in a performance that stretches his run of games without a goal to 10 in all competitions.

Man of the match - Fraser Forster

Fraser Forster saves
Fraser Forster has kept four clean sheets in his four Premier League appearances for Southampton since his return from injury, saving all 12 shots he has faced

What they said...

Wenger feels 'guilty' after draw

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger: "We put the energy level in and created chances. I cannot fault the team on that front. It is not only luck. I don't believe too much in luck. We feel disappointed and guilty. In a game like that when you create chances you want to win. We had the chances to win it. But their keeper kept them in it.

"You have to always think the opponent will play well and despite that still score. We had all kind of chances and it looked like it would come. But sometimes you lose these games."

Koeman happy with 'lucky' point

Southampton boss Ronald Koeman: "One point away at Arsenal is a good result. To get a good result you need to be lucky and we had that on our side. We had good defending and great goalkeeper. But we needed to create more.

"He is a fantastic goalkeeper. Sometimes you think you can't score because he is massive. Maybe today was his best performance. We are happy he is the keeper of Southampton."

The stats you need to know

  • The Gunners' last three top-flight games have produced a total of just one goal.
  • The north Londoners have now gone four Premier League games without enjoying a win for the first time since April 2014.
  • Southampton have registered four consecutive clean sheets in the Premier League for the first time since November 2014.

What's next?

Arsenal are away at Bournemouth in the Premier League next Sunday, while Southampton host West Ham the day before.

Line-ups

Arsenal

  • 33Cech
  • 24Bellerín
  • 5GabrielBooked at 89mins
  • 6Koscielny
  • 18Monreal
  • 20FlaminiSubstituted forCoquelinat 85'minutesBooked at 87mins
  • 16Ramsey
  • 28CampbellSubstituted forWalcottat 62'minutes
  • 11Özil
  • 17Sánchez
  • 12Giroud

Substitutes

  • 3Gibbs
  • 4Mertesacker
  • 13Ospina
  • 14Walcott
  • 15Oxlade-Chamberlain
  • 21Chambers
  • 34Coquelin

Southampton

  • 44Forster
  • 2Cédric SoaresBooked at 61mins
  • 6José Fonte
  • 17van Dijk
  • 21Bertrand
  • 12Wanyama
  • 14Romeu
  • 16Ward-ProwseSubstituted forJuanmiat 83'minutes
  • 10ManéSubstituted forTargettat 86'minutes
  • 11TadicSubstituted forPellèat 69'minutes
  • 7Long

Substitutes

  • 3Yoshida
  • 4Clasie
  • 15Martina
  • 19Pellè
  • 20Juanmi
  • 22Stekelenburg
  • 33Targett
Referee:
Lee Mason
Attendance:
60,044

Match Stats

Home TeamArsenalAway TeamSouthampton
Possession
Home67%
Away33%
Shots
Home22
Away14
Shots on Target
Home11
Away3
Corners
Home13
Away3
Fouls
Home11
Away19

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Arsenal 0, Southampton 0.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Arsenal 0, Southampton 0.

  3. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Graziano Pellè (Southampton) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

  4. Post update

    Attempt saved. Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Mesut Özil.

  5. Booking

    Gabriel Paulista (Arsenal) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  6. Post update

    Foul by Gabriel Paulista (Arsenal).

  7. Post update

    Matt Targett (Southampton) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  8. Booking

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

  9. Post update

    Foul by Francis Coquelin (Arsenal).

  10. Post update

    Shane Long (Southampton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  11. Substitution

    Substitution, Southampton. Matt Targett replaces Sadio Mané.

  12. Post update

    Corner, Arsenal. Conceded by Shane Long.

  13. Substitution

    Substitution, Arsenal. Francis Coquelin replaces Mathieu Flamini.

  14. Post update

    Corner, Arsenal. Conceded by Fraser Forster.

  15. Post update

    Attempt saved. Alexis Sánchez (Arsenal) left footed shot from the left side of the six yard box is saved in the centre of the goal.

  16. Post update

    Petr Cech (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  17. Post update

    Foul by Virgil van Dijk (Southampton).

  18. Post update

    Foul by Mathieu Flamini (Arsenal).

  19. Post update

    Cédric Soares (Southampton) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  20. Substitution

    Substitution, Southampton. Juanmi replaces James Ward-Prowse.

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Leicester24148244261850
2Man City24145546232347
3Tottenham24129344192545
4Arsenal24136537221545
5Man Utd24117631211040
6West Ham24109538281039
7Southampton249783224834
8Liverpool249783034-434
9Stoke249692428-433
10Watford239592726132
11Crystal Palace2494112529-431
12Everton2361164034629
13West Brom247892331-829
14Chelsea237793234-228
15Bournemouth2477102939-1028
16Swansea2468102332-926
17Norwich2465132846-1823
18Newcastle2356122541-1621
19Sunderland2454152847-1919
20Aston Villa2427151840-2213
View full Premier League table

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