Arsenal beat Southampton 2-0 to end a 14-year winless run at St Mary’s and move up to 5th place.
Southampton started the match strongly, much better than their recent performance against Liverpool. The Saints had a few shots but Petr Cech, Arsenal captain in Laurent Koscielny’s absence, was not troubled.
Arsenal’s first chance came with 15 minutes played as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain found Aaron Ramsey but his shot was just wide.
Despite having the majority of the possession, Arsenal were not testing Fraser Forster. In fact, it was Southampton who had the best chance of the half. Manolo Gabbiadini’s strike was well saved by Petr Cech to keep the scores level.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain went off with a hamstring injury before half-time and was replaced by Hector Bellerin, a big blow for Arsenal considering his excellent performances in the last few months.
Nathan Redmond’s forceful shot from just outside the area was palmed away by Petr Cech in the last real action before half-time.
Arsenal didn’t register a single shot on target in the first half. They were certainly not playing like a team that had to win the match to keep their faint top-four hopes alive.
A moment of brilliance
Neither side looked like scoring in the opening 20 minutes of the second half. That was until Mesut Ozil found Alexis Sanchez who scored a superb goal to break the deadlock. Sanchez showed so much skill in the finish, leaving two Southampton defenders on the floor in the process. The Chilean has now scored 20 Premier League goals for Arsenal this season, and what a way to do it.
Southampton had plenty of time to respond but could not get past a somewhat shaky Arsenal defence. Arsenal finally got a second goal to calm the nerves. Sanchez’s cross was met by Ramsey and then Olivier Giroud’s bullet header from close range was in the back of the net to double Arsenal’s lead. The Frenchman had only been on the pitch for three minutes after coming on as a substitute.
Southampton had some chances throughout the much but they weren’t clinical enough.
Arsenal had not won a league fixture at St Mary’s since 2003 but they overcame that hurdle to record a second consecutive 2-0 win. The Gunners must win every game if they are to gain a top four spot.
Knowing Arsenal, who would put it past them?
Southampton: Forster 6, Cedric 6, Stephens 7, Yoshida 6, Bertrand 7, Romeu 7, Davis 5, Ward-Prowse 6, Tadic 6, Redmond 7, Gabbiadini 7
Subs: Boufal 4, Long 5, Rodriguez N/A
Arsenal: Cech 8, Holding 7, Mustafi 7, Monreal 6, Oxlade-Chamberlain N/A, Ramsey 7, Xhaka 7, Gibbs , Ozil 6, Alexis 8, Welbeck 5
Subs: Bellerin 5, Giroud N/A, Coquelin N/A