Arsenal 2 Southampton 0
Lacazette 6, Mkhitaryan 17

Arsenal eased past struggling Southampton with two first half goals from Alexandre Lacazette and Henrikh Mkhitaryan to claim fourth place in the Premier League following Manchester United and Liverpool’s 0-0 draw at Old Trafford. The Gunners also took full advantage over Chelsea who were in Carabao Cup final action against Manchester City and climbed above their rivals in the race for the Champions League spots. The Saints did cause the Arsenal rearguard moments of concern and could have taken the lead through chances falling to Matt Targett and Nathan Redmond, the latter forcing Bernd Leno to make a low first half save. Dominant in attack, Lacazette could have grabbed a first half hat-trick. One effort seemed easier to score after a strong run from Sead Kolasinac. With Angus Gunn beaten, the France striker struck high over the bar.

With the Europa League exertions still fresh from Thursday night, Unai Emery started with a Lacaztte, Mkhitaryan, Alex Iwobi and Aaron Ramsey as the front outlets. The centre back pairing of Shkodran Mustafi and Sokratis were flanked by a fluid right and left back pairing of Stephen Lichsteiner who would switch to   a three depending on which wing the threat was coming from, or into a back four when the threat was from central areas.

Redmond and Yann Valery are quick and their pace was testing for Kolasinac and Lichsteiner in particular. When Redmond cut through to shoot, Leno got down to save smartly. The ball was immediately sent forward for an Arsenal attack. Lucas Torreira seemed to get bundled over in the box, but despite his appeals, no penalty was awarded. The ball however was still in play and it came out to the right where Mkhitaryan swung over a cross. Lacazette instinctively connected with the zipped-in ball to beat  Gunn for the opener after six minutes. It was Lacazette’s 13th goal of the season.

Arsenal dominated proceedings and their second goal was worth their efforts. Southampton were pressing high up, but Arsenal showed them how to profit from this tactic. Lacazette forced a hurried clearance from Gunn and the ball came to Iwobi. His low drilled cross fell just right for Mkhitaryan to strike first time past Gunn. There seemed every chance that Arsenal would increase their lead, but Lacazette hurried his shot after Kolasinac burst through.

The visitors brought on Michael Obafemi and Charlie Austin at the half, the former lasted 20 minutes before having to be replaced by Mohamed Elyounoussi. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang came on for Iwobi as the Gunners aimed to add to their tally. The Gabon striker was denied by Jannik Vestergaard’s last minute tackle and Gunn’s save after he set off from Mesut Ozil’s flick, while seeing another another effort blocked as he sought a suitable angle .

The win means that Arsenal gained a modicum of revenge for the loss at Southampton two months ago, and will aim for a further three pints when Bournemouth arrive in N5 on Wednesday.