An excellent away performance, featuring goals from Nicolas Pepe, Bukayo Saka and Alexandre Lacazette, saw Arsenal come from behind to record their fifth win in six games.
The result sees the Gunners move above Southampton, who won their previous meeting in the FA Cup at the weekend, with the two clubs sitting eighth and 11th respectively.
Arsenal started quickly, Lacazette missing a one-on-one in the opening seconds of the game; two minutes later, Stuart Armstrong’s half-volley put Southampton ahead.
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But Arsenal came back at them, equalised on eight minutes through Pepe, and though the home side took control of the game around the half-hour mark, it was the visitors who scored again, Saka’s fourth goal in six games taken with characteristic expertise.
Southampton did their best in the second half, but they lacked the wit and zip to penetrate Arsenal’s low block, and a clinching goal on the counter always looked more likely than an equaliser, duly arriving on 73 minutes when Cedric Soares and Saka combined to give Lacazette a tap-in. Arsenal are coming.

TALKING POINT - Saka shines again for Arsenal

Bukayo Saka was nowhere near his best tonight and he was still the best player on the pitch, scoring the crucial goal and creating the decisive one, both in typically flowing and intelligent style. It is hard to think of many other young players able to excel in so many positions – he has done well at left-back, left-wing, midfield and now, where he has settled, right-wing. This is not a comparison of quality, but Duncan Edwards was good enough to do that in the mid-50s, playing left-half but moving to centre-forward if either England or Manchester United needed a goal.

Obviously Saka is fast, skilful and all those things. But to do what he does requires much more than that, most particularly unreal composure, mentality and expertise.

Now, though, it looks like he has found his position, the last of which he has tried. In time, he might end up as an attacking midfielder, but for now is probably best left closer to goal.

Alexandre Lacazette celebrates scoring for Arsenal

Image credit: Getty Images

MAN OF THE MATCH - Bukayo Saka (Arsenal)

Scored one, made one, an absolute superstar.

PLAYER RATINGS

Southampton: McCarthy 6, Valery 5, Stephens 5, Bednarek 6, Vokins 5, Armstrong 7, Ward-Prowse 5, Diallo 6, Walcott 4, Adams 6, Ings 5. Subs: Redmond 5, N'Lundulu 6, Watts 6.
Arsenal: Leno 6, Bellrin 5, Holding 7, David Luiz 6, Xhaka 6, Partey 7, Saka 8, Smith Rowe 7, Pepe 7, Lacazette 7. Subs: Willian 6, Elneny 6, Willock 6.

KEY MOMENTS

1’ - HUGE CHANCE! My man Bednarek gives it away, a careless pass picking out Xhaka who immediately sticks Lacazette in. McCarthy gets out well, but the striker has the option of rounding him or lifting it over him, only to try for a nutmeg, the ball catching the underside of the keeper's top thigh and squirting away from goal.
3’ - GOAL! Southampton 1-0 Arsenal (Armstrong): Ward-Prowse swings out to the edge of the box - this is clearly a rehearsed move - where Armstrong arrives to sweep a half-volley beyond Leno. Pemny for em, Alexandre!
8’ - GOAL! Southampton 1-1 Arsenal (Pepe): You've got to laugh (at me). Arsenal press Southampton high and Saka wins the ball, transferring it to Partey who finds Xhaka, and he threads a very nice pass between right-back and centre-back for Pepe, who rearranges his feet well before slotting home across McCarthy. Good game, this.
39’ - GOAL! Southampton 1-2 Arsenal (Saka): Bukayo Saka is such a player! One pass from Lacazette sends him in - that is not clever defending - but when McCarthy charges out, Saka rounds him and in his next stride, before he runs out of position, he clips a finish into the empty net. That's four goals in his last games; he's a superstar. 50’ - Armstrong snaps a pass into Walcott and he's in space, 20 yards out. Valery is outside and open but he opts to shoot, lashing an effort straight at Leno.
73’ - GOAL! Southampton 1-3 Arsenal (Lacazette): That was not a surprise. Cedric spreads another crossfield ball out to Saka, just onside, and he jabs a fine cross that Lacazette, arriving on the end of it, allows across him before falling onto a finish with his left foot. Game over.

KEY STAT

  • Since Boxing Day, only Man City have won more points (18) and conceded fewer goals (1) than Arsenal's 16 and two.
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