Arsenal stumbled once again as the race for the last Champions League spot continues to heat up in the run-in of the 2021-22 Premier League season, as Southampton earned a 1-0 home win against the traveling Gunners at St. Mary's Stadium this afternoon.
Polish international center-back Jan Bednarek bagged the only goal of the match a minute from first-half stoppage time when his volley found its way past Arsenal keeper Aaron Ramsdale, proving to be enough on a day where Gunners boss Mikel Arteta will feel as though his young side should have taken something - if not everything - away from the south coast.
It is now three consecutive losses for Arsenal, and four losses in their last five in the league as their growing stranglehold on fourth has now reverted into what is potentially an uncontrollable tailspin as the Gunners sit level on points in 5th with Manchester United and trail bitter rivals Tottenham who lost to Brighton at home earlier today.
Southampton Player Ratings
Fraser Forster (8.5) - A man of the match performance from the veteran goalkeeper. Time after time he came up with key saves for the Saints to secure three points.
Yan Valery (7.5) - The Frenchman had a very good afternoon in the back three for Ralph Hasenhüttl which included efficiency in aerial duels as well.
Lyanco (7) - Much like the rest of the back three for Southampton today, Lyanco put himself about well in the center of the defensive line and can walk away head held high.
Jan Bednarek (8) - Got himself on the scoresheet for the lone goal of the match while being stout in defense at the back. A very good all-around performance.
Kyle Walker-Peters (6.5) - Tasked with coming up against a mobile Arsenal front three, the English full-back had a decent performance in all respects.
James Ward-Prowse (6.5) - Decent from the free-kick and creative specialist today but nothing outstanding. Did not put a foot wrong, but not entirely influential either.
Oriol Romeu (7) - A picture of frustration for Arsenal this afternoon. Though he somehow escaped a booking, he did well to try to shut down play through the middle.
Romain Perraud (6.5) - A somewhat grey performance from the Frenchman. Nothing stellar, but was hardly an issue either. He was okay and did the job needed.
Stuart Armstrong (6.5) - Perhaps unlucky to not get something from his performance this afternoon. Put in a real shift in all phases of play.
Mohammed Elyounoussi (7.5) - An assist for the Norwegian winger this afternoon in a good performance all around. Tireless, like many other Saints players.
Armando Broja (6.5) - Lively and a handful as always. Worked hard and tried to feed off the little that he was afforded. Clear why both Southampton and Chelsea fancy him.
74th-minute sub: Shane Long (6) - Brought on to frustrate Arsenal and did just that with a typical press-heavy appearance off the bench.
82nd-minute sub: Nathan Redmond (6) - Was afforded 15-minutes to allow his fresh legs to frustrate a tiring and beleaguered Arsenal.
91st-minute sub: Tino Livramento (N/A) - Tasked with coming on to close out the match for the Saints but only logged 4-minutes in the process.
Arsenal Player Ratings
Aaron Ramsdale (6.5) - Some may say he could have done better on Bednarek's effort for the goal, but the Arsenal keeper was solid on the day otherwise.
Cédric Soares (6.5) - Lively going forward and did well to deliver plenty of decent balls into the area all afternoon, but lacked a little in the defensive third.
Ben White (6.5) - White remains - at current - the better of the two Arsenal center-backs in recent weeks. His booking probably reduces his match rating slightly.
Gabriel (6.5) - Okay throughout but is looking like a reduced version of the player who - in the earlier part of the campaign - was angling for a player of the season nomination.
Nuno Tavares (6.5) - A similar afternoon from the young Portuguese left-back. Decent enough but he has a bit of a way to go before he can replicate and replace Kieran Tierney.
Sambi Lokonga (6) - Talented he may be for a young footballer and full international, but it is clear that Lokonga remains too inconsistent to be tasked with a key role yet.
Martin Ødegaard (7) - Much like Saka, Ødegaard remained a bright spot in an otherwise frustrating performance. Another outing that showed he is the fulcrum of this young side.
Granit Xhaka (7) - The Swiss international veteran had a good day in the center of the park next to Ødegaard in his traditional role. Really did not put a foot wrong.
Gabriel Martinelli (6) - Not a lot from the Brazilian sparkplug today in the Arsenal shirt but that is not entirely down to him. The few chances he did get he needed to do better with.
Bukayo Saka (7) - One of the better - if not the best - performers for Arsenal on the afternoon. Constantly trying to create in the final third while testing Forster as well.
Eddie Nketiah (6.5) - Hardly a poor outing from the English youngster. Got into good positions regularly but was missing a final few percentage points to be a difference-maker.
59th-minute sub: Emile Smith Rowe (6) - Was missing some of what has made him so vital at different points this season but did manage a handful of efforts at goal.
70th-minute sub: Nicolas Pépé (6) - Not the best performance off the bench from the Ivorian who struggled to truly get involved in the impact sub role he has previously shone in.
What the managers said
What you may have missed
Eddie Nketiah was given the nod today ahead of Alexandre Lacazette, not due to a lack of form from the Frenchman, but due to the former Olympique Lyonnais standout testing positive for Covid-19. Though some Arsenal fans have long been frustrated by Lacazette this season, he remains one of the most influential players in the Gunners' first-team.