Arsenal lost further ground in the Premier League title race as they were held to a goalless draw by Southampton. The Gunners had numerous chances but were unable to break down a resilient Saints side, who have now gone four games without conceding. Away keeper Fraser Forster was superb, making a string of impressive saves, including two to deny Mesut Ozil. Arsenal are now winless in four league games and drop to fourth in the table, five points behind leaders Leicester.
Arsene Wenger’s side are also now two points behind both second-placed Manchester City and north London rivals Tottenham, who are third and have a superior goal difference. Worryingly for the Gunners boss, who opted not to recruit another striker in the recent transfer window, his side have now gone three Premier League games without scoring. The result is further proof of the resilience Ronald Koeman has instilled in Southampton, who won 1-0 at Manchester United 10 days ago and are eighth in the table after picking up 10 points in their last four matches. On Boxing Day, Arsenal lost 4-0 at Southampton – their only truly heavy defeat of this league campaign and a result that cost them the chance to go top of the Premier League at Leicester’s expense.
The Foxes’ victory over Liverpool on Tuesday meant that Arsenal would not have gone top even with a win over Southampton, but this will be just as frustrating a result as the one they suffered at St Mary’s. Credit must go to Koeman’s side for their defensive display but that does not excuse the Gunners for their pedestrian start and the chances they missed. Ozil should have scored twice in the first half but Forster was alert and nimble to block his close-range shots and in the second half a host of players had good opportunities, including Olivier Giroud, who had a shot and header tipped away, and Laurent Koscielny who headed over from six yards out. Alexis Sanchez was typically lively in his first league start since the end of November, but was also unable to find a way past the Saints keeper as the Gunners made it three games without a goal for the first time since February 2009.