Arsenal ease past Southampton to go fourth in Premier League

Arsenal's Sead Kolasinac with Mesut Ozil after the match. Photograph:( Reuters )

WION Web Team London, UK Feb 24, 2019, 10.56 PM (IST)

Arsenal cruised to victory over a disjointed Southampton thanks to two first-half goals from Alexandre Lacazette and Henrikh Mkhitaryan at the Emirates on Sunday, taking them back into the top four in the Premier League.

Arsenal took the lead in the sixth minute in bizarre circumstances, Lacazette neatly back-heeling in a pass from Mkhitaryan while the rest of the team were still appealing for a penalty after Lucas Torreira took a tumble in the box.

The goal came seconds after Saints' Nathan Redmond was through on goal at the other end, only to fire his shot straight at goalkeeper Bernd Leno.

The home side doubled their advantage minutes later when Southampton keeper Angus Gunn, making only his second Premier League appearance, cleared the ball straight into the path of Arsenal's Alex Iwobi.

The Nigerian midfielder bolted forward and passed across the goal to the unmarked Mkhitaryan, who thumped his shot low into the corner.

Lacazette should arguably have had a hat-trick within the first half, but he was unable to take advantage of any of the numerous opportunities that came his way.

First he had a glancing header from a Granit Xhaka corner saved, then he blasted over the bar from within the six-yard box, and seconds later he spun away from his marker and shot straight into the outstretched leg of Gunn.

Southampton, by contrast, looked a shadow of the team that won the reverse fixture at St Mary's in December, registering only three shots in the half to the Gunners' 11.

They brought on Charlie Austin in the second half to see if he could maintain his record of scoring against Arsenal every time he has met them in the league, but the Saints were unable to break back into the game.

The result moves Unai Emery's side up into fourth place in the standings on 53 points after Manchester United were held to a goalless draw by Liverpool at Old Trafford.

The Gunners remain unbeaten in 13 home league matches this season and have now won their last seven in a row at the Emirates.

Story highlights

The goal came seconds after Saints' Nathan Redmond was through on goal at the other end, only to fire his shot straight at goalkeeper Bernd Leno.