Arsenal knocked out of cup after Southampton fightback
PUBLISHED: 21:42 23 September 2014 | UPDATED: 07:43 24 September 2014
PA Wire/Press Association Images
Arsenal 1 Southampton 2
Arsenal crashed out of the Capital One Cup at the first hurdle as Southampton came from behind to clinch a deserved triumph at Emirates Stadium.
Alexis Sanchez put a much-changed Gunners side ahead with a stunning free-kick, but Dusan Tadic levelled from the penalty spot and full-back Nathaniel Clyne smashed what turned out to be the winner late in the first half.
There were few scoring opportunities in the early stages, although Arsenal debutant David Ospina did well to thwart Steven Davis, while Tomas Rosicky tested Fraser Forster at the other end.
But Sanchez broke the deadlock on 14 minutes, leaping up after he had been tripped by Jose Fonte and unleashing a breathtaking free-kick that ripped into the top corner from 25 yards.
Southampton were level barely five minutes later as Sadio Mane’s crafty shuffle on the edge of the penalty area induced a challenge from Rosicky and the Senegalese went flying.
Referee Keith Stroud pointed to the spot and Tadic coolly sent Ospina the wrong way for the equaliser – and Graziano Pelle almost put the Saints ahead soon afterwards with a shot on the turn that grazed the post.
Instead, it was Clyne who claimed that honour six minutes before half-time, collecting a header out from former team-mate Calum Chambers and hitting a swerving drive that zipped past Ospina.
Arsenal might have gone in on level terms anyway when Jack Wilshere threaded a pass through for Lukas Podolski, but the German was foiled by Forster at his near post.
The visitors made the better start to the second period, with a sweeping move that stretched the Arsenal defence and Tadic teed up Davis, but Ospina dived low to keep the ball out.
The Gunners were rescued again by their goalkeeper when he sprang to his left to push clear a robust free-kick from Tadic, but the home side’s creative well appeared to be running dry.
They finally carved out a chance with 20 minutes remaining when Hector Bellerin’s cross found Sanchez, but he was denied by Forster at point-blank range.
Arsenal’s hopes were lifted when Wilshere was tripped on the edge of the box, allowing Sanchez another free-kick opportunity – however, this time the Chilean’s effort thudded into the wall.
Pelle should have made sure for Southampton when he directed a free header over the bar late on – but there was no denying that the visitors fully deserved their success.
Arsenal: Ospina; Bellerin (Akpom 86), Chambers, Hayden, Coquelin; Diaby (Cazorla 67); Campbell (Oxlade-Chamberlain 71), Rosicky, Wilshere, Podolski; Sanchez.