Arsenal fail to close gap in top four race as fantastic Fraser Forster earns Southampton big win

Southampton, Arsenal, Jan Bednarek

Arsenal failed to capitalise on rivals Tottenham’s earlier loss as they also fell to a shock 1-0 defeat against Southampton.

Jan Bednarek grabbed the only goal of the game late in a first half which had minimal chances. However, as the game progressed there was a new man Southampton fans had to thank for the three points, with ‘keeper Fraser Forster delivering a stunning performance.

The first half was a cagey affair, with neither side wanting to give too much away.

The first chance did, however, fall Arsenal’s way. Eddie Nketiah won the ball inside the Southampton half, allowing Arsenal to catch the Saints on the break.

With the ball played across goal, Bukayo Saka looked destined to score – but a stunning save from Forster kept the game goalless.

The Gunners would go on to rue this miss, as Southampton opened the scoring just before half time.

An Aaron Ramsdale punch failed to clear the danger of a Southampton attack, allowing Mohamed Elyounoussi the opportunity to cross.

The ball then fell to Bednarek, who beat Ramsdale at the near post to put Southampton ahead. This was the defenders fourth Premier League goal of the season.

Arsenal fail to make second half pressure count

The second half didn’t start much better for Mikel Arteta’s men, with a scramble in the box nearly leading to a Saints second.

Elyounoussi and Stuart Armstrong battled hard for the ball in the box, with the latter eventually seeing his shot blocked.

On the hour mark Arteta made his first change of the fixture, with Emile Smith Rowe replacing Cedric Soares. Soares, a former Southampton man, will be unimpressed with his return to the Saint Mary’s Stadium, as it was a poor overall performance.

Following the change, Arsenal looked  more like getting back into the game. However,Ralph Hasenhüttl’s side were not giving in easily, and were making it very hard for Arsenal to break them down.

The pressure did begin to mount on the hosts, with Southampton doing an awful lot of defending.

Consequently, Forster was called on again to pull off a second spectacular save. This time, the ‘keeper had to react very quickly to tip away an effort from substitute Smith Rowe, who fired at goal following a loose ball in the box.

Fantastic Fraser Forster

In the last ten minutes, Forster was called on another two times to salvage three points for his side.

The first came from close-range Saka shot, which was well blocked by the 6ft7 ‘keeper.

And the next was just as good, as Granit Xhaka’s deflected header looked to be going in before Forster got a big hand to it.

A nervy five minutes were added on, but the Saints held strong to earn a massive three points.

The win moves Southampton 11th, whereas Arsenal remain three points behind fourth placed Tottenham.

The rearranged meeting between the North London rivals on Thursday May 12 really is all to play for.

READ MORE: Fresh hope for Arsenal, Tottenham as midfield target told he can leave German giants