An own-goal from Gabriel Magalhaes in the first half condemned Arsenal to a 1-0 defeat against Southampton, bringing an end to their FA Cup defence.
The game was off to a busy start, with both Arsenal and Southampton pushing forward in search of the opening goal. the Saints came close early on through James Ward-Prowse and Che Adams while Gabriel Martinelli missed a decent chance for the Gunners.
Midway through the first half, though, Southampton were ahead at St. Mary’s as Gabriel Magalhaes turned a Kyle Walker-Peters shot into his own net. Arsenal saw plenty of the ball in the second period, but lacked the cutting edge in the final third to make anything of it as the hosts held firm to protect their slender lead and dump out the FA Cup holders from the competition.
Here’s how we rated the performances of Mikel Arteta’s men in what was the Spaniard’s first-ever defeat as a manager in the FA Cup.
Bernd Leno: 6/10
Starting in goal ahead of Runar Alex Runarsson and Mat Ryan in the cup tie, the German custodian made a solid save to deny Che Adams in the first half. Was not tested a great deal from that point on, though, and not a lot he could have done to stop the goal after the deflection.
Hector Bellerin: 5.5/10
Captaining the team on the day, Bellerin was a solid presence defensively, making three tackles. However, offered next to nothing in the attacking sense, which was a problem as the Gunners struggled to create any notable openings throughout the game.
Rob Holding: 6/10
Fairly solid at the back, the Englishman did not do much wrong on the day, although he could have been better with his distribution from the back. Had a chance to equalise after half-time but headed over the crossbar.
Gabriel Magalhaes: 4/10
🇧🇷 Gabriel 🆚 Southampton
🟥 Premier League – Sent off
🤦♂️ FA Cup – Scores an own goal
😬 Not his favourite opponent…
— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) January 23, 2021
Back into the starting XI after having spent time on the sidelines after testing positive for COVID-19, the Brazilian looked rusty for most of the game, failing to offer the same kind of assurance he did in early in his time at Arsenal. Looked suspect in 1v1 situations and scored the own goal that was enough for Southampton to win.
Cedric Soares: 5/10
Playing out of position on the left side of the defence, the Portuguese struggled to make the kind of impact that he had in the last game against Newcastle United. Even though he tried to push forward, the end product was never quite there.
Mohamed Elneny: 4/10
Starting in the centre of the park ahead of Thomas Partey, the Egyptian could not handle the pressure that Southampton put and was guilty of making a mistake leading to Southampton’s only goal of the game. Did not show the required intent and ambition when on the ball either and surprisingly made way for Partey early in the second half.
Elneny just can’t cope under pressure. Always gives the ball away. 1-0 down.
— Eduardo Hagn (@EduardoHagn) January 23, 2021
Granit Xhaka: 5/10
Fared slightly better than his partner in the middle of the park as he navigated the Saints’ press better and was much more accurate with his passing as well. However, he too did not show enough positive intent when on the ball to try and open up the Saints’ defence.
Nicolas Pepe: 5.5/10
Starting on the right flank ahead of Bukayo Saka, the Ivorian endured a quiet first period. Did show some urgency after the break but could not influence the proceedings as much. Completed one dribble all game long and although he did make five key passes, none of those led to a goal, however.
Willian has produced just two shots on target in his 20 appearances in all competitions for Arsenal this season. pic.twitter.com/xHJcA1qQaf
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) January 23, 2021
Surprisingly brought into the starting XI as the No. 10 in place of the in-form Emile Smith Rowe, the Brazilian struggled to make any sort of impact in the final third. Did find Martinelli with a good set-piece early in the game, but that was as good as it got for Willian. Another largely anonymous display from the veteran. Not what Arteta would have hoped for when signing him in the summer.
Gabriel Martinelli: 6/10
Showed good energy at the top and tried to make life difficult for the Southampton defenders with his pressing. Could not connect properly with a chance early in the first period. Continued to try and make things happen, but ultimately fell short. Once he is fully fit, he will be a great asset for Arsenal.
Eddie Nketiah: 3/10
Preferred over the likes of Alexandre Lacazette and Folarin Balogun, the Arsenal academy graduate hardly got any change from the Saints’ defence on the day. Constantly let down by his touch, not good enough with his hold-up play and snatched at a few opportunities that did come his way. Disappointing.
Thomas Partey: 6/10
Came on for Elneny just before the hour mark and Arsenal looked a much better side with him on the field. Looked to drive the team forward each time he was on the ball and played some catchy line-breaking passes. Could not help the Gunners find a goal, though.
The first 60 minutes for Arsenal vs the last 30 minutes confirms how big the influences of Saka & Partey are
— Premier League Panel (@PremLeaguePanel) January 23, 2021
Bukayo Saka: 5/10
Surprisingly left out of the starting XI, Saka replaced Martinelli in the 58th minute. Played in a dangerous cross that Fraser Forster pushed away. But, could not impact the proceedings as much as he would have liked.
Alexandre Lacazette: 4/10
On for Nketiah with less than twenty minutes left to be played. Made just five touches and played two accurate passes. Arteta should have introduced him a bit earlier for the Frenchman to make an impact.