Gabriel own goal ends Arsenal's FA Cup defence as Southampton set up Wolves meeting in fifth round
FA Cup fourth round, St Mary's - Southampton 1 (Gabriel og 24') Arsenal 0
Gabriel of Arsenal deflects Kyle Walker-Peters of Southampton shot past his goalkeeper Bernd Leno to score an own goal to make it 1-0 during Southampton v Arsenal, The Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round, on January 23, 2021 in Southampton, England.
Published 23/01/2021 at 11:21 GMT | Updated 23/01/2021 at 17:58 GMT
Southampton knocked holders Arsenal out of the FA Cup thanks to an own goal from Gabriel at St Mary's Stadium.
Former Tottenham full back Kyle Walkers-Peters drove a low effort towards the far post which the Brazilian tried to block but only succeeded in diverting past Bernd Leno.
The Saints dominated the first hour of the match, with Arsenal struggling to beat their high press, and could have been further ahead with James Ward-Prowse freakishly hitting the bar from an errant corner and Che Adams forcing a good save from Leno after an inspired run cutting in from the right flank.
The introduction of Thomas Partey, Bakary Saka and Alexandre Lacazette saw the Gunners come to life in the last third of the game, but overall the hosts were worthy winners.
The south coast outfit will now host Wolves in the fifth round in three weeks' time.
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TALKING POINT – Smith Rowe so key to flow
It has been a long time since an inexperienced young player has been as key to his side’s fortunes as Emile Smith-Rowe is to Arsenal’s right now. Admittedly at 20, he has been given his opportunity a good deal older than the likes of shooting starlets like Michael Owen and Wayne Rooney, but his importance was even more pronounced in his absence.
Arsenal created next to nothing for the first hour and had no outlet at all to get the ball in the middle areas of the field and turn to create chances for the Gunners. In Gabriel Martinelli they had a lively player making good runs but no one to feed him. Mikel Arteta's side were better when Partey asserted his influence in the centre of midfield but there still was a lack of fluency in the final third which Smith-Rowe would have provided. It will be interesting to see the difference in the Arsenal side when the teams meet again in the Premier League on Tuesday, assuming he comes back in.
MAN OF THE MATCH – Danny Ings (Southampton)
It was very much a team effort from Southampton with the front six players in particular working in unison to stop Arsenal moving the ball easily from their own third.
Ings looked sharp throughout though. In the first half two efforts that could have gone in were deflected wide and in the second he saw an effort come back off the post - although the linesman's flag would have negated it anyway. He certainly showed no signs of suffering from the dual-curtailment of a hamstring injury and Covid-19, which will boost the Saints as they shoot for European qualification in league and the cup.
5' - Off the bar! Ward-Prowse's corner swerves to hit the bar at the near post. Leno definitely beaten. Did he mean it? Surely not. Had the kind of reverse swing you get kicking a plastic ball at the beach.
15' Wonderful run from Adams down the right wing and he then turned inside Gabriel and fired a ball towards the far post that Leno pushed away on the stretch.
24' GOAL! Southampton 1-0 Arsenal (Gabriel og): Walkers-Peters drove a low cross towards the far post and Gabriel stuck a leg out which only diverted the ball past Leno.
49' Close from Ings! He races onto a long ball over the top, steadies himself and then drives a low effort against the post, with the ball then hitting Leno and drifting just wide of the goal. The linesman had his flag raised after the move in any event, though it looked a borderline call.
59' Chance for Holding! He competed for an aerial challenge after a short corner was shipped in and then swung his leg at the ball only managing to spoon it over the bar.
81' So close! A fine ball from Nketiah plays in Pepe whose effort is blocked by Forster and then Nketiah with the follow up sees his effort blocked by Ward-Prowse on the line. Pepe was offside anyway so it was all moot.