A dreadful error from Southampton goalkeeper Alex McCarthy helped Arsenal achieve their first win since the return of the Premier League in an entertaining game played in sweltering heat at St Mary’s.
McCarthy faltered under pressure from Eddie Nketiah following a back-pass, allowing the striker to intercept his attempted ball out slot into an unguarded net.
The win was sealed late on when Jack Stephens was sent off for fouling Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as the last man and from the resulting free-kick substitute Joe Willock finished after Alexandre Lacazette’s free-kick struck the wall and his follow-up was parried.
It was timely boost for the Gunners, who have struggled with injuries and form since the restart, losing their two games prior to this.
The victory, though, was not undeserved. Prior to the goal, Nketiah had seen a close-range finish ruled out for offside and Aubameyang had crashed an angled effort against the bar.
Coming after such an impressive display in their first game back at Norwich, the result continues Southampton’s woeful inability to replicate their away form at St Mary’s.
This was their 10th loss at home this season – equalling the club record for a Premier League season, set back in 1993-94 when their were 42 games in a campaign.
With 11 points separating them and the bottom three it is very unlikely that they will get dragged into a relegation fight.
Arsenal’s win takes them back up to 10th but they still have a lot of work to do if they are to salvage something from this league season and qualify for Europe.
More to follow.