How Southampton dumped holders Arsenal out of FA Cup


Southampton dumped holders Arsenal out of the FA Cup on Saturday, winning 1-0 courtesy of a Gabriel own goal to set up a fifth-round meeting with Wolves.

The much-changed Gunners, who have won the competition a record 14 times, fell behind midway through the first half against their energetic opponents.

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The Gunners improved in the second period and created some chances but could not find a way back into the game.

Mikel Arteta, who won the FA Cup in August in his first season as Arsenal boss, said he was “really sad” to exit the competition.

“We had issues in the first half and unforced errors as a result of the high-press they do,” he told BT Sport. “In the second half we had two or three big chances but not enough.”

Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl fielded a strong side at St Mary’s, with Danny Ings returning after a hamstring injury and a positive coronavirus test to partner former Arsenal forward Theo Walcott.

Arteta made seven changes from Arsenal’s 3-0 Premier League win against Newcastle on Monday, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and midfielder Emile Smith Rowe both missing.

Southampton, who had never beaten Arsenal in the FA Cup, were the brighter team in the opening period in the winter sunshine on England’s south coast.

James Ward-Prowse rattled the crossbar from a swerving corner and Che Adams forced a fine save from Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno.

Gabriel Martinelli then passed up an opportunity to put Arsenal in front, miscuing his shot after beating the offside trap from a free-kick.

Southampton, the 1976 FA Cup winners, reaped the reward their positive approach deserved in the 24th minute.

Mohamed Elneny gave away possession on the edge of his own box and the ball was worked to Kyle Walker-Peters on the right.

The defender drilled the ball across the six-yard area and it was turned in by Gabriel — the first time rejuvenated Arsenal had conceded for 508 minutes.

Ward-Prowse then struck a shot from distance that sailed wide and Ings hit a fierce volley that was blocked by Hector Bellerin.

Arsenal found their feet in the second half and Fraser Forster was forced to make a sharp save with his feet to keep out Eddie Nketiah’s deflected shot after a pass from Nicolas Pepe.

Arteta threw on forward Alexandre Lacazette as Arsenal pinned the home side back.

Lacazette was inches away from a teasing cross by fellow substitute Bukayo Saka as the minutes ticked away but Arsenal could not find an equaliser.

Hasenhuttl, whose side briefly topped the Premier League earlier this season, was delighted with the win.

“We had in the first half more punch and more power,” he said.

“In the second half it’s normal they have a lift…. In general our work without the ball was good. It was a good team performance today.”

Arteta’s side will return to Southampton on Tuesday for a Premier League meeting, aiming to continue their fine recent run that has lifted them to 10th in the table.