Arsenal come out on top against Southampton in the eventful Premier League clash courtesy of Danny Welbeck’s late winner.
Welback Welbeck headed home a late winner to decide a see-saw battle against struggling Southampton with his second goal of the game, continuing a recent revival for the England forward.
It was Arsenal’s sixth straight win in all competitions, but with the Gunners languishing in sixth place, it’s a result that may have a much bigger impact on Southampton’s season.
Charlie Austin thought he had boosted the visitors’ hopes of avoiding relegation when he came off the bench to equalise in the 73rd minute, but a second-string Arsenal side proved they had enough to respond. The game ended on a fractious note, with Mohamed Elneny
and Jack Stephens both sent off after a late scuffle.
It all provided a dramatic finish to a game that had largely felt like a prelude to Thursday’s trip to CSKA Moscow, with Arsene Wenger clearly keeping an eye on the second leg of their Europa League quarterfinal.
In fact, Arsenal looked like they were doing everything they could to hand Southampton a relegation lifeline, as Wenger rested most of his big hitters and Shkodran Mustafi then gifted Shane Long an early goal after a laughable mix-up with goalkeeper Petr Cech.
But Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Welbeck orchestrated a first-half comeback with well-taken goals to offer some evidence that Arsenal’s players haven’t given up on the league just yet.
The result was an attack with less playmaking ability but a lot more pace, and they always looked a lot more dangerous on quick counters than when trying to orchestrate the normal slow build-up moves. Their defensive problems remained, though, with Southampton’s opener coming after another comical mistake.
But even a second-string side proved too strong for this Southampton team, while Arsenal will travel to Moscow with a squad both high on momentum and well rested.
FT: Arsenal 3-2 Southampton
Aubameyang (28′), Welbeck (38′, 81′) | Long (17′), Austin (73′)