FA Cup owners Arsenal were knocked out in the fourth round of Southampton on Saturday after a Gabriel own goal in the first half.
The Brazilian center-back steered Kyle Walker-Peters’ low drive past Bernd Leno in the middle of the first half at St Mary’s – the first goal the visitors had conceded in more than eight and a half hours up to Boxing Day – as Southampton against Arsenal won the competition for the first time.
As a result, Ralph Hasenhuttl’s team will face the Wolves in the fifth round in February in Molineux after beating Chorley Town 1-0 on Friday night.
Southampton: Forster (7), Walker-Peters (8), Bednarek (6), Stephens (6), Bertrand (7), Armstrong (7), Diallo (7), Ward-Prowse (9), Walcott (7) Ings (8), Adams (7)
Subs: Long (6), N’Lundulu (6)
Arsenal: Leno (7), Bellerin (6), Holding (7), Gabriel (5), Cedric (7), Elneny (6), Xhaka (6), Pepe (6), Willian (5), Martinelli (5 )), Nketiah (8)
Subs: Saka (7), Lacazette (6), Partey (6)
Man of the Game: James Ward-Prowse
How the Saints eventually defeated Arsenal in the Cup
Both managers made a number of changes when the two teams met again at St. Mary’s in the Premier League on Tuesday night, although the hosts still had a strong line-up after key striker Danny Ings returned.
The Saints dominated the action before the break and, by chance, almost opened the lead when Captain James Ward-Prowse’s corner floated over Leno’s head from the right, then crashed into the bar.
The # 1 Arsenal were put back into action after Che Adams pronounced Gabriel dead, but the German goalkeeper did well to block the striker’s shot on goal before Southampton took the well-deserved lead in the 24th minute.
Danny Ings returned to Southampton for the fourth round of the FA Cup at home against Arsenal. The English striker has recovered from a thigh injury and a positive Covid test, which must be recalled along with former Gunners striker Theo Walcott. Che Adams also joined the team, which showed six changes from their rescheduled third round win over Shrewsbury midweek. Fraser Forster, Jack Stephens, Jan Bednarek, James Ward-Prowse and Ibrahima Diallo all kept their places.
Meanwhile, Arsenal made seven changes to their 3-0 Premier League win over Newcastle on Monday night. New signing Mat Ryan was named on the bench as Bernd Leno continued on goal while Hector Bellerin and Gabriel Magalhaes finished in the last four places. There were also starts for Mohamed Elneny, Nicolas Pepe, Willian, Gabriel Martinelli and Eddie Nketiah.
The hosts worked the ball between Ings and Ward-Prowse across the penalty area before the skipper fed the overlapping Walker-Peters in the lower right. The low center of the full back was then touched past his own goalkeeper by the unfortunate Gabriel, trying to clear his lines.
The visitors were flat in the first stage, threatening only once when Eddie Nketiah’s clever free kick caught the nap in Southampton defense, but Gabriel Martinelli fluffed his lines when he only faced Fraser Forster.
As the sun rose on the south coast after the break, Arsenal’s intent to attack grew as visitors came to life, particularly after Mikel introduced Arteta Bukayo to Saka and Thomas Partey just before the hour.
But a combination of Forster, who did well to deny Nketiah, and Ward-Prowse, who was vigilant enough to clear the former’s shot off the line ten minutes before the end of the line, saw the Saints off for an outing to Molineux.
Arteta suffers a rare cup loss – Opta statistics
- This was Mikel Arteta’s first FA Cup loss as a player or manager in 15 games (W13 D1) since Arsenal’s 1-0 loss to Blackburn in February 2013.
- Southampton beat Arsenal for the first time in the FA Cup. The Saints have played a draw and have lost four of their last five games against the Gunners in competition.
- Southampton excluded the defending champions from the FA Cup for the first time since defeating Tottenham in February 1902. In fact, before today, the Saints had lost each of their previous seven FA Cup games to the competition’s defending champions.
- This is the third time in the last four seasons that Arsenal have not made it to the FA Cup fifth round (2017-18, 2018-19 & 2020-21).
- Gabriel’s own goal was the first Arsenal conceded since Tammy Abraham’s goal for Chelsea on Boxing Day. This ended the Gunners’ run of 508 minutes without conceding a goal in all competitions.
4 – Arsenal have conceded four goals in all competitions this season – more than any other Premier League team and the most goals conceded in a single season since 2015/16 (5). Concern. #SOUARS pic.twitter.com/fnt7ASThFq
– OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) January 23, 2021
Man of the Game – James Ward-Prowse
The Saints Skipper re-directed the show on the south coast, as has so often been the case recently due to its eye-catching shape.
The playmaker almost broke the impasse after just five minutes with one of his typical set games – albeit not after a usual free kick, but after a corner – only for his whipped delivery to hit the crossbar.
The 26-year-old England international was inevitably involved in his team’s winner mid-way through the first half, releasing Walker-Peters in the lower right corner before Gabriel turned the full-back’s cross into his own net.
What the managers said …
Ralph Hasenhuttl: “We had more punch, more power in the first half. In the second half it is always normal for the opponent to get a lift, he makes a few good quality submarines and then it is still difficult to defend.”
“We have to score the second goal. I think there was only a chance or two. I think the penalty for Longy (Shane Long) was a clear penalty for me and then you can end the game but as long as it’s 1: 0 is, you never know.
“But the team was very disciplined today against such a strong team. It’s always important that you are very organized against the ball and I think I saw 11 players on the pitch today who worked really hard to win this Cup to have.”
Mikel Arteta: “Really sad to be out of the competition. Congratulations to Southampton but I am disappointed with how we lost the game.
“We had problems in the first half. We have to play in these games, we have to do better, but it’s a lesson. You’ve all tried so hard, it was an intense game and the Saints are demanding the best of you, because they are. ” aggressive. They all tried their best.
“We’re looking at the market to see what else we can do. We’ve moved some players. We’re a little short in a position or two. Let’s see what we can do.”
Pundit View: “I don’t know what Arteta is doing.”
Paul Merson on Saturday Football:
“I don’t know what he’s doing,” said the former Arsenal forward.
“They won’t win the league. They won’t make it into the top four, I didn’t think so, unless they do one of the best runs in Premier League history.”
“For me it is [competition] Arteta did that for the last time. He came to Arsenal and had a great semifinal and a great final.
“To be honest, I can’t believe it. In my opinion, this was a more important game than the league game during the week. You are not relegated and you are not in the top four.”
“You don’t really want to finish sixth or whatever, because then you play in Europa on Thursdays and that just brings you back.
“So a bad decision for me.”
The two teams will meet again on Tuesday evening in St. Mary’s in the Premier League. The game starts at 8:15 p.m.
FA Cup 2020/21 – deadlines and draw
The FA Cup schedule has been confirmed and the final set will take place at Wembley Stadium Saturday 15th May.
There will be no reruns this season to reduce game congestion.
The draw for the fifth round took place at the same time as that for the fourth round.
- Fourth round: January 22nd to 25th
- Fifth round: Wednesday February 10th
- Quarter finals: Saturday 20th March
- Semifinals: Saturday 17th April
- Final: Saturday 15th May