Arsenal Beats Resilient Southampton 3-1 At St Marys
Arsenal’s Premier League resurgence continued as they beat Southampton 3-1 at the St Mary’s Stadium to climb to eighth on the Premier League table, thanks to goals from Nicolas Pepe, Bukayo Saka and Alexandre Lacazette.
It was the Gunners’ fifth win in six league games, meaning they overtake the Saints and move into the top half for the first time since mid-November.
Arsenal should have taken the lead within a minute as Xhaka played Lacazette through on goal, but the Frenchman was denied by McCarthy, who rushed out to deny him one-on-one. Just under three minutes later, Southampton opened the scoring when Ward-Prowse’s corner met Stuart Armstrong, who fired past Bernd Leno.
The Gunners leveled four minutes later through Pepe, after he met a through ball by Xhaka. The Ivorian slotted the ball under McCarthy and into the net.
Arsenal began to find rhythm, Cedric Soares volleyed inches wide after good work from Saka – and it was the brilliant Saka who put the visitors ahead before the break.
Lacazette played Saka through, and as McCarthy came off his line, the youngster showed quick feet, rounded the goalkeeper and passed the ball into the empty net from just inside the box.
Arsenal looked a different side who were knocked out of the FA Cup by Southampton a few days ago. Arsenal’s defending and pressing improved drastically as they were determined to get all three points.
The Gunners made sure of the points with a well-worked third goal. Cedric found Saka with a fine crossfield ball, and Saka’s first-time ball across the face of goal was met by Lacazette for a simple tap-in to put the game beyond doubt.
That goal deflated Southampton, who have scored just three goals in seven games, as Arsenal held on for an impressive victory, as Arteta’s side begin to recover after a disastrous start to the campaign.
The victory felt the most defining of late, showing a fighting spirit, and performances from the likes of Pepe, Xhaka and Lacazette in particular, that had been missing earlier in the campaign.
Arsenal will face premier league leaders Manchester United this weekend at the Emirates Stadium in what would be a thrilling encounter.
Other Premier League results
Crystal Palace 2-3 West Ham
Newcastle United 1-2 Leeds United
West Brom 0-5 Manchester City