Arsenal 3 Southampton 2
Aubameyang 28, Welbeck 38, 81 Long 17, Austin 73

Danny Welbeck scored a double to lead Arsenal to an eventful win over Southampton at the Emirates stadium. Shane Long had given the visitors the lead after Shkodran Mustafi failed to clear the ball and in nipped Long. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang levelled for the Gunners with Welbeck then giving Arsenal the lead after a solo run and shot. Minutes after his second half introduction, Charlie Austin tapped in to make it 2-2 and having missed a sitter moments earlier, Welbeck headed in from Iwobi’s cross to give Arsenal the lead they would hold on to. Both sides were reduced to ten men when Jack Stephens was red carded for raising his hands on Jack Wilshere. Matters were evened up a minute later following the fall out from the initial red card, Mohamed Elneny was shown a red card for what appeared to also be raised hands.

Arsene Wenger made seven changes from the side which saw off CSKA Moscow in the Europa League, Mesut Özil, Jack Wilshere, and Alexandre Lacazette were among the substitutes and their collective creative absences were evident given the early passages of play. Enjoying the lions share of possession, Arsenal were content to pass sideways and unable to penetrate a solid Saints block.

When Mustafi and Petr Cech left it to the other to clear the defensive lines, Long didn’t hang about, prodding home from close in to give the visitors the lead. Working to track back and provide an outlet in attack, Aubameyang is getting to measure of the Premier League, so it came as no real surprise when he had the last touch to Welbeck’s flick to finally beat Alex McCarthy for the leveller.

Given his lengthy knee injuries and resolve to come back, Welbeck is slowly getting the measure of what was the hallmark of his game, goals. When he received possession out on the left, he glanced his was past the Saints’ markers and let fly with a shot which beat McCarthy all ends up with a slight deflection off Maya Yoshida. 2-1 at the break, Arsenal just about warranted their advantage.

There was more urgency about the Gunners in the second half, but the defensive gaps were always going to lead to the visitors getting chances. Cech had to be alert to Hojbjerg and Hoedt efforts and before his departure, Long remained a threat.

Minutes after his introduction. Charlie Austin tapped in following some good work and cross from Cedric and Southampton were level again. On came Wilshere, Lacazette and Rob Holding with Arsenal now switching to a three man defence.

Wilshere’s arced cut back fell just right for Welbeck, however with the goal at his mercy, he managed to strike over when it appeared easier to score. The England man would not be denied for much longer however.

Iwobi cut in from the right, his cross found the head of Welbeck to head downwards and past McCarthy to make it 3-2.

Jack Stephens frustrations had been evident earlier, and as he tried to escape the attentions of Wilshere. Stephens raised his hand to the Arsenal man and referee Andre Marriner produced a straight red card to the Saints man. Still simmering, matters deteriorated when Cech came out to calm Wilshere to the annoyance of his team mate, and Marriner spotted something else which lead him to then show Elneny a red card, perhaps if only to even things up deep into injury time ?

Arsenal held on for the win and their sixth consecutive ahead of next week’s Europa League quarter final return leg in Moscow.