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Southampton 1-0 Arsenal: Jan Bednarek sends Gunners to third straight defeat as top-four hopes hurt again

Tottenham’s defeat to Brighton earlier on Saturday gave the Gunners a much-needed bost in the race for Champions League football, but once again Mikel Arteta’s side slipped up themselves.

Bednarek put the Saints in front just before the break and Arsenal had no response in the second-half as their dreadful run continued. They trail Spurs by three points with a game in hand, which comes in midweek away to Chelsea.

Alexandre Lacazette missed out for the Gunners with Covid, while Nuno Tavares started after a tough period for the youngster as Granit Xhaka returned to the midfield.

Arsenal were certainly better than they have been in recent games in the early stages, with Gabriel Martinelli cutting inside and having a curling strike saved by Forster.

That was a decent save from the English goalkeeper, but what followed shortly afterwards was absolutely sensational. The Gunners broke quickly after winning it back, Martinelli rolled it across the face of goal and Bukayo Saka looked to have a tap-in, only for Forster to fly across and tip the shot over superbly.

Cedric Soares wasted a couple of set-piece opportunities and Southampton then started to grow into the match as the half went on. They got their reward on the verge of half-time.

Mohamed Elyounoussi did well to keep the ball in, he cut it back for Bednarek and the centre-half swept the shot past Aaron Ramsdale.

Arsenal dominated possession after the break as they looked to keep their top-four hopes alive. Eddie Nketiah flicked a clever effort just wide, before Emile Smith Rowe was introduced and had a powerful strike blocked by teammate Martinelli.

Nicolas Pepe was also brought on as Arteta threw all his attacking options at the problem. The Ivorian sent an acrobatic effort towards goal that flew just wide of the near post.

Forster again denied the Gunners with a brilliant save, this time diving full-stretch to tip Smith Rowe’s scuffed effort behind as the visitors’ frustrations continued.

Saka lashed a strike at goal, only to find Forster in his way once more, before Odegaard dragged an effort just wide seconds later after working the space well. Granit Xhaka then added his name to the list of players to have their afternoon ruined by the goalkeeper.

There was to be no Arsenal equaliser, as they fell to another painful defeat. With matches against Chelsea, Manchester United and West Ham to come, the last two weeks may well prove to be a disastrous spell that defines the Gunners’ season.

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