Coming into the contest on the back of three defeats in four league matches, Arsenal understandably looked short of confidence in the opening exchanges, and were grateful for the sharp reactions of Aaron Ramsdale who leapt to his right to deny Adam Armstrong. The visitors continued to dominate proceedings and Ramsdale was again called into action, palming away a James Ward-Prowse free-kick, before the set-piece specialist fired another dangerous effort narrowly over the crossbar.
Despite their slow start, it was the hosts who broke the deadlock in the 21st minute when a free-flowing team move ended with Bukayo Saka teeing up Alexandre Lacazette to clinically dispatch an effort beyond emergency signing Willy Caballero. Buoyed by the opener, the ‘Gunners’ looked free from any early nerves and doubled their advantage five minutes later as Martin Ødegaard rose unmarked in the box to confidently head home for his third goal in as many games.
Searching for a route back into the game, Southampton looked to start the second half on the front foot but were dealt a sucker punch just after the hour mark when Arsenal further extended their lead. A whipped delivery from Gabriel Martinelli found the head of Gabriel and the Brazilian centre-back diverted the ball past a flailing Caballero. With a three-goal buffer in hand, Arsenal stepped off the gas and Southampton created several scores a late consolation – the best falling to Nathan Redmond who was superbly thwarted by Ramsdale.
The result moves Arsenal into fifth place above rivals Tottenham and Manchester United, while Southampton continue to look nervously over their shoulder with just one win in their previous 13 PL away fixtures.
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