A week is a lot longer than seven days in football. A lot longer. Last weekend, Saints put in the catastrophe of catastrophic performances, rolling over as Chelsea cruised into a 6-0 lead before mercifully taking their foot off the throat of Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side.

Seven days later? Saints stood up to be counted, digging deep to hold on to a priceless 1-0 victory thanks to Jan Bednarek’s clinical finish on the stroke of half-time.

Here are four takeaways from a terrific Saints victory...

Daily Echo: Jan Bednarek celebrates his goal. Image by: Stuart MartinJan Bednarek celebrates his goal. Image by: Stuart Martin


There was a moment deep into stoppage time where Gabriel Martinelli seemed to have finally grown frustrated of Saints’ compact defending and tried his luck from 25 yards out. The ball ended in the crowd of Saints fans behind the goal and Lyanco reacted in the most glorious way imaginable - celebrating as if it was a Saints goal.

Moments later, Shane Long was bundled over - lightly - and won a free-kick, celebrating the moment with the fans. After doing zero defending last week against Chelsea, Saints had to do a lot of it today. And they did it superbly.

Playing with a back five comprised of three centre-backs - Yan Valery, Lyanco, and Jan Bednarek - Saints defended their box as if their life depended on it. Arsenal had 83.2% of the ball in the second half and managed 19 shots to Saints’ one.

Daily Echo: Lyanco celebrates Martinelli's wayward shot. Image by: Stuart MartinLyanco celebrates Martinelli's wayward shot. Image by: Stuart Martin

But of those 19 shots, ten were taken from outside the box as Saints dropped deep and through their bodies on the line.

Goalkeeper Fraser Forster was still required to make a few crucial saves, but this was a Saints performance not only full of defending - but full of good, seemingly joyous defending. The three centre-backs combined for 22 clearances with the rest of their teammates totalling 15. 

Lyanco was excellent on his return from injury and Valery - despite some…interesting decision-making played with a physical edge that was greatly needed. Meanwhile, it was fitting that Jan Bednarek - the third of the centre-back trio - got the winning goal with a striker’s finish.


Fraser Forster wasn’t supposed to play against Arsenal. At least that’s how it seemed on Friday afternoon. An ankle injury suffered in the final training session of the week saw the goalkeeper and the Saints medical staff scrambling to give him a chance of making the Saturday 3PM kick-off.

Not only did he make it - he excelled. Last week against Chelsea he was by far the best player in a Saints shirt on a really shocking day of performances. Against Arsenal, he was the best player in a Saints shirt once again - this time surrounded by much more impressive teammates.

Daily Echo: Fraser Forster makes one of many saves. Image by: Stuart MartinFraser Forster makes one of many saves. Image by: Stuart Martin

At 0-0, he made one of the saves of the season to deny Bukayo Saka when the Arsenal winger seemingly had an open goal to aim for. In the second half, he pulled off a string of impressive fingertip saves to keep the Arsenal onslaught at bay. 

The pick of the bunch may have been a full-length dive to push Emile Smith-Rowe’s scuffed effort wide of the post but it’s hard to pick just one from an extremely impressive performance.

It’s no secret that Fraser Forster’s contract expires in the summer. But his future, that’s very much still up in the air. His circa 90k-per week wages may prove prohibitive but there’s no question that he’s the best goalkeeper Saints have on their books at the moment. And somehow, he just keeps getting better.


After 50 days without a league win and a 6-0 drubbing at the hands of Chelsea, the St Mary’s crowd needed to see a reaction. It was not optional but required. And in fairness, the Saints players did exactly that: gave the fans a reaction.

In almost the exact opposite to last weekend’s defeat, Southampton were determined and organised, keeping Arsenal at an arms’ length for much of the encounter. They pressed in bursts rather than constantly and Arsenal truly struggled to break them down.

Daily Echo: Saints players get a midgame teamtalk. Image by: Stuart MartinSaints players get a midgame teamtalk. Image by: Stuart Martin

The celebrations at full-time showed exactly what this victory means to both the fans and players. The connection had seemingly weakened after a run of thoroughly disappointing performances but this was a timely example of just what this team is capable of: a lot.

After the first 9-0 to Leicester, it took Saints another five games to get back on the winning side. Last season after the 9-0 defeat to Manchester United, their next win came six games later. 

While it wasn’t 9-0, the 6-0 defeat to Chelsea was arguably equally disastrous. And this time they rebounded with the next opportunity available.

There is something quite special brewing at St Mary’s. It may require patience and investment, but the building blocks in place are undeniably exciting.


After last weekend’s 6-0 shocker, Ralph Hasenhuttl understandably came under heavy criticism. How could he not? Even he admitted that he made some mistakes and the final scoreline was kind on Saints rather than anything generous.

Many felt he should have played with a back five after finding success with that formation against Chelsea in the Carabao Cup. Could he have switched things up earlier? Almost certainly. And the press? Crazy and ultimately disastrous.

Daily Echo: Hasenhuttl celebrates at full-time. Image by: Stuart MartinHasenhuttl celebrates at full-time. Image by: Stuart Martin

Against Arsenal, Saints completely changed how they played. In truth, they probably played the way they should have against Chelsea: with a back five, a modified and less all-out press and the compactibility to force Arsenal to break them down rather than handing them gifts.

And it worked.

If we’re going to be critical of Hasenhuttl after last week - as we should - then we have to give him his fair dues after this one. He saw the catastrophe, adapted, and it worked. Of course, credit must go to his players as well for such an organised and diligent performance.

Speaking after the 1-0 win, Hasenhuttl said: “When you concede 13 goals in the last four games you have to change things. I know we can play football but it's also good to know we can defend like this.”

Saints can dig deep and play ugly. We now know that for a fact. It will be needed again and when the time comes, Hasenhuttl has to utilise it. Stubbornness seems an unavoidable part of management but adaptability is necessary. Saints showed they could be adaptable on Saturday.