Arsenal’s sloppy defending cost them as Southampton won 2-0 to remain above the Gunners in fourth place in the Premier League.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said that ‘two mistakes’ cost his side in their 2-0 defeat at Southampton. The Frenchman also claimed that Southampton were beatable.

Saints handed Arsenal their first defeat since the 3-2 loss at Stoke on December 6. After winning their last match at West Ham, Wenger says he finds the loss on the south coast “difficult to swallow”.

“We looked like we were in control until the first goal,” Wenger said.

“Overall they defended better than us. We made two mistakes and that cost us. The keeper kept them in the game with early chances and after that we helped them a lot.

“The team really had a great generous attitude after what we had given at West Ham and to lose a game like that is difficult to swallow. Southampton are a good side but beatable today and we can only look at ourselves.”

A goal in either half from Sadio Mane and Dusan Tadic gave Saints the victory. A mix-up in the Arsenal defence helped set-up Mane, who finished brilliantly from a tight angle to put Southampton in front. The second goal was also a result of a defensive blunder from Arsenal, Tadic profited from more miscommunication to take the hosts 2-0 up after half-time.

Fraser Forster had a great game between the sticks as the Saints goalkeeper made a number of good saves in the first half to keep Arsenal at bay. Alexis Sanchez came close to grabbing the equaliser in the second half but a superb save from Forster denied the Chilean.

Arsene Wenger was disappointed with his side for not making full use of the chances in the second half. However, he was also unhappy with the referee, Craig Pawson for not sending off Florian Gardos in the 67th minute for a foul on Alexis Sanchez as he looked to race through on goal.

“When you’re 1-0 down in the Premier League everyone tends to defend well and they did. We had chances today and were a bit unlucky as when Sanchez was through at 2-0 I don’t see how the referee can’t give a red card. It looks like he didn’t get it right.

“We have to learn to win these kind of games. We will give our best to be as high as we can. We have to be more consistent.”

The defeat means that Arsenal now sit sixth in the Premier League table below Southampton and Tottenham. Southampton meanwhile, are placed fourth in the table a point behind Manchester United and two points ahead of Spurs.