English Premiership

Blunders see Arsenal defeated

2015-01-01 21:36
Wojciech Szczesny (Gallo Images)

Southampton - Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny made a pair of costly blunders to gift Southampton a 2-0 win that tightened their grip on fourth place in the Premier League on Thursday.

Szczesny was caught badly out of position after racing out of his goal, allowing Sadio Mane to conjure a spectacular finish and give his side a 34th-minute lead at St Mary's.

Then 11 minutes into the second half, the Poland international's poor clearance allowed Dusan Tadic to net the decisive second.

The victory extended Southampton's improved run of form after they suffered a run of five successive defeats, although it came at the cost of an injury to Senegal winger Mane that could threaten his involvement in the Africa Cup of Nations.

But for Arsenal, defeat denied them the opportunity to leap-frog their opponents and left them three points adrift of the Saints in the race to qualify for the Champions League.

Southampton have emerged as surprise contenders for a European place and their gritty reaction to their recent run of poor form suggests they are in it for the long haul.

Saints manager Ronald Koeman added to the rivalry between these two teams by insisting beforehand that his club could profit from Arsenal's crowded schedule when the Champions League resumes in February.

A shortage of fit midfielders meant Wenger was forced to pair Francis Coquelin, recalled recently from a loan spell at Charlton Athletic, with centre-back Calum Chambers in front of the back four, while Alexis Sanchez started up front in the absence of the suspended Olivier Giroud and injured Danny Welbeck.

There was certainly a disjointed look to the visitors as Koeman's side quickly pressed, exposing Arsenal's right flank twice in the opening minutes.

Graziano Pelle should have headed the home side into a sixth-minute lead when he struck the post from Tadic's hooked cross.

Then two minutes later Szczesny was forced to scramble Mane's shot away after his defence had been caught flat-footed.

Arsenal struggled to find their usual fluency but Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain fired narrowly over from a similar opportunity and it appeared as though Arsenal were beginning to settle when Szczesny's rush of blood gifted Southampton the lead.

The 'keeper found himself stranded on the left-hand edge of his penalty area when he attempted to prevent Mane chasing onto a loose ball, and with Szczesny stranded, the forward curled in a left-foot shot from the tightest of angles.

Wenger was clearly incensed by the way his side had conceded but he had cause to thank his 'keeper five minutes before the break when the Pole saved well with his legs to deny James Ward-Prowse.

Arsenal needed to find a reaction after the break if they were to force their way back into the match and Sanchez drew an excellent save from Fraser Forster 10 minutes after the restart.

But less than a minute later, Szczesny was again at fault as he gifted Tadic the chance to open up a two-goal lead.

The visitors were again unsettled by a long ball that allowed Steven Davis to get in behind the defence and drill in a low cross.

With no Saints players on hand to turn the ball home, it appeared as though Mathieu Debuchy had snuffed out the danger when he blocked the cross inside the six-yard box, but the ball rolled towards the grounded Szczesny who hacked it straight to Tadic.

The Serb then had the straightforward task of stabbing home from close range and Arsenal were in deep trouble.

The situation could have got worse for Wenger's side with Pelle again hitting the woodwork before later seeing his shot headed off the line by Debuchy.


Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Friday, 22 February 2019
Cardiff City v Watford, Cardiff City Stadium 21:45
West Ham United v Fulham, London Stadium 21:45
Saturday, 23 February 2019
Burnley v Tottenham Hotspur, Turf Moor 14:30
Newcastle United v Huddersfield Town, St. James' Park 17:00
AFC Bournemouth v Wolverhampton Wanderers, Vitality Stadium 17:00
Leicester City v Crystal Palace, King Power Stadium 19:30
Sunday, 24 February 2019
Chelsea v Brighton & Hove Albion, Stamford Bridge 14:00
Arsenal v Southampton, Emirates Stadium 16:05
Manchester United v Liverpool, Old Trafford 16:05
Team P W PTS
Previous Results

Date Home Team Result Away Team

Who will claim the Premier League title at the end of the 2018/19 season?

Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter


The 2018/19 Absa Premiership season is in full swing. Will Mamelodi Sundowns retain their title? Or can one of Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates, Wits, SuperSport United - or another team perhaps - snatch glory from the Brazilians? Be sure to visit Sport24 for all the latest news!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.