Arsenal gifted much-needed win at St Mary’s


Arsenal’s much improved performance at Southampton was rewarded with a comfortable 2-0 victory, after a huge error from Saints keeper Alex McCarthy gifted Eddie Nketiah the opening goal.

It’s their first win on the road in the Premier League since triumphing 3-1 at West Ham on the 9th of December and was sealed by Joe Willock following Jack Stephens’ late red card.

The Gunners looked much brighter than in their previous two games from the off and launched a succession of attacks down their sunny left side, tormenting the hosts’ young French right-back Yan Valery.

Nketiah’s tap-in was disallowed after eight minutes – crosser Bukayo Saka was clearly offside – before Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang hit the crossbar from close range two minutes later, when he really should’ve scored.

A forward of the Gabonese striker’s pedigree really had to score once in behind the defence, though his effort did brush McCarthy’s finger tips as he tried to lift the ball into the net.

But the Southampton stopper then gifted Arsenal the opening goal after 21 minutes with a howler of a misplaced pass.

McCarthy laid the ball off to Nketiah a couple of yards in front of him, allowing the visitors’ forward to control the ball and gleefully tap into an empty net.

The embarrassing gaffe gave Mikel Arteta’s men the 1-0 lead their start to the game had merited, but the Saints stepped up after falling behind.

Ralph Hasenhüttl’s side couldn’t fashion a clear chance before the break, but looked much more assured than before conceding and stemmed the tide of Arsenal attacks.

Two minutes after half-time, Saka was lucky to stay on the pitch for the visitors when his raised boot to the groin of Valery drew only a yellow card and no formal VAR review.

The heat seemed to take its toll in the second half though, with the away side starting to slow things down and drop deeper.

Southampton started to command more possession after the hour mark and get at Arsenal’s shaky defence.

But Nathan Redmond and Shane Long’s powerful volleys, into the side netting and well stopped by stand-in keeper Emiliano Martínez respectively, were as close as the hosts came to an equaliser.

The Saints chances of earning a point were killed off with five minutes to play, when Jack Stephens was sent off for bring down Aubameyang to deny a clear goalscoring opportunity.

Alexandre Lacazette’s resulting free-kick hit the wall and his vicious rebound was parried by McCarthy, before substitute Joe Willock finished at the third attempt to put Arsenal 2-0 ahead against the ten men.

The long-awaited clean sheet and three points moves the Gunners up to ninth and keeps them in contention for a European place.

Southampton, meanwhile, stay 14th and ten points above the drop-zone, with seven matches remaining.


About Author

Comments are closed.