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Southampton 1-3 Arsenal: Teenager Bukayo Saka scores one and creates another

By Neil JohnstonBBC Sport
Bukayo Saka scores for Arsenal against Southampton in the Premier League
Bukayo Saka has scored four goals in his past six Premier League games

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta dedicated his side's Premier League win over Southampton to absent captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who missed the game for personal reasons.

The Gunners made light of their star striker's absence as they continued their excellent run of league form by coming from behind to beat the Saints in an eventful game.

After Alexandre Lacazette missed a glorious chance to give the Gunners a first-minute lead, Stuart Armstrong put Southampton ahead from a wonderful delivery by captain James Ward-Prowse.

But the lead lasted just five minutes, as Nicolas Pepe equalised with a neat finish, before both sides created clear chances.

Former Saints defender Cedric Soares volleyed narrowly wide at one end while Bernd Leno produced a flying save to keep out a header by Che Adams at the other.

England winger Bukayo Saka put the Gunners ahead after going past keeper Alex McCarthy, who had come rushing out of his penalty area, before the 19-year-old picked out Lacazette to seal the points, the Frenchman appearing to send a message of support to Aubameyang in the process.

"I loved how they support each other and how they protect each other," said Arteta, who was also without Aubameyang for the teams' FA Cup meeting on Saturday. "Auba is having a difficult time and we are all behind him. This win was for him."

Saka shines in classy win

When they were held 1-1 by Southampton at Emirates Stadium on 16 December, Arteta's side were 15th in the table and trailed the Saints by 10 points.

This latest impressive win lifted them above Ralph Hasenhuttl's side and up into eighth spot, five points off a top-four position. Not that Arteta is looking.

"I don't want to look at the table," said the Spaniard. "I want to look at ourselves, how we can get better, the reason we are playing better and winning football matches."

Arteta's team are finally producing results, with a fifth win in six league games easing the pain of Saturday's FA Cup exit, while building further momentum before Saturday's intriguing home game with high-flying Manchester United.

Southampton 1-3 Arsenal: Mikel Arteta praises 'magnificent' Emile Smith Rowe & Bukayo Saka

Saka once again showed why he is being touted for a big future with an energetic performance, which he capped with a fine finish, while Granit Xhaka and Lacazette also created goals.

Arsenal, who are close to signing attacking midfielder Martin Odegaard from Real Madrid on loan, are still a long way from where Arteta wants them to be.

But there are clear signs the Gunners are heading in the right direction after taking 16 points from the past 18 on offer.

Only Manchester City have won more points (18) and conceded fewer goals (one) than Arsenal in the Premier League since 26 December.

Arteta's players left the pitch wearing big smiles - a far cry from earlier in the season when they struggled to put a run of wins together.

Stuttering Saints

Southampton reach the halfway stage of their season with a healthy 29 points in the bank, but it is now one win in seven top-flight games for Hasenhuttl's side.

There is much to admire about the way they have gone about their business but this was an off-day as the Saints slipped to 11th in the table.

It might have been a different outcome but for Leno, with the Arsenal keeper making excellent saves to keep out Adams and, late in the game, a Ward-Prowse free-kick.

Armstrong's goal had given them the perfect start but Arsenal found plenty of space down the left hand side as they picked off the hosts.

The Saints went into the game on the back of five clean sheets in six league and cup games but struggled at the back against Arsenal without the presence of the suspended Ryan Bertrand and the injured Kyle Walker-Peters.

"The quality wasn't good enough to be competitive against this team," said Hasenhuttl.

"We still have 29 points, that is a good thing.

"We know that we are a good team if everything is perfect and we are in a good shape."

There will be no panic at St Mary's - and rightly so. But Hasenhuttl will be desperate his side return to winning ways sooner rather than later.

Southampton 1-3 Arsenal: Ralph Hasenhuttl bemoans Southampton defending

Young Gunner makes his mark - the stats

  • Bukayo Saka became the second English teenager to score for Arsenal in consecutive Premier League appearances, after Ashley Cole in October 2000.
  • Stuart Armstrong's opener for Southampton was the first Premier League goal Arsenal have conceded since Tammy Abraham scored against them for Chelsea on 26 December. It ended the Gunners' run of 367 minutes without conceding in the league.
  • Southampton's James Ward-Prowse (26 years 86 days) made his 250th Premier League appearance, becoming the ninth-youngest player to reach this milestone in the competition's history.
  • Alexandre Lacazette is the first Arsenal player to reach 10 goals in all competitions this season, while he has now hit double figures for goals in all four seasons since joining the Gunners.
  • Only Matt Le Tissier (63) has registered more Premier League assists for Southampton than James Ward-Prowse (27, level with Dusan Tadic).

What's next?

Both teams are back in Premier League action on Saturday, with Southampton hosting Aston Villa (20:00 GMT) after Arsenal's home game with Manchester United (17:30).

Player of the match

SakaBukayo Saka

with an average of 8.84

Southampton

  1. Squad number17Player nameArmstrong
    Average rating

    6.12

  2. Squad number8Player nameWard-Prowse
    Average rating

    5.55

  3. Squad number10Player nameAdams
    Average rating

    5.11

  4. Squad number27Player nameDiallo
    Average rating

    5.10

  5. Squad number35Player nameBednarek
    Average rating

    5.02

  6. Squad number9Player nameIngs
    Average rating

    4.87

  7. Squad number1Player nameMcCarthy
    Average rating

    4.82

  8. Squad number18Player nameValery
    Average rating

    4.72

  9. Squad number32Player nameWalcott
    Average rating

    4.53

  10. Squad number29Player nameVokins
    Average rating

    4.49

  11. Squad number5Player nameStephens
    Average rating

    4.38

  12. Squad number40Player nameN'Lundulu
    Average rating

    4.26

  13. Squad number11Player nameRedmond
    Average rating

    4.26

  14. Squad number65Player nameWatts
    Average rating

    4.20

Arsenal

  1. Squad number7Player nameSaka
    Average rating

    8.84

  2. Squad number9Player nameLacazette
    Average rating

    8.19

  3. Squad number17Player nameCédric Soares
    Average rating

    8.09

  4. Squad number32Player nameSmith Rowe
    Average rating

    7.87

  5. Squad number1Player nameLeno
    Average rating

    7.76

  6. Squad number19Player namePépé
    Average rating

    7.71

  7. Squad number16Player nameHolding
    Average rating

    7.69

  8. Squad number18Player namePartey
    Average rating

    7.55

  9. Squad number34Player nameXhaka
    Average rating

    7.46

  10. Squad number2Player nameBellerín
    Average rating

    6.82

  11. Squad number23Player nameDavid Luiz
    Average rating

    6.11

  12. Squad number25Player nameMohamed Elneny
    Average rating

    6.02

  13. Squad number28Player nameWillock
    Average rating

    5.58

  14. Squad number12Player nameWillian
    Average rating

    5.35

Line-ups

Southampton

Formation 4-4-2

  • 1McCarthy
  • 18Valery
  • 35Bednarek
  • 5Stephens
  • 29VokinsSubstituted forRedmondat 66'minutes
  • 32WalcottSubstituted forN'Lunduluat 74'minutes
  • 27Diallo
  • 8Ward-Prowse
  • 17Armstrong
  • 10Adams
  • 9IngsSubstituted forWattsat 74'minutesBooked at 90mins

Substitutes

  • 7Long
  • 11Redmond
  • 31Ramsay
  • 40N'Lundulu
  • 44Forster
  • 47Ferry
  • 64Jankewitz
  • 65Watts
  • 72Chauke

Arsenal

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1Leno
  • 2BellerínBooked at 19mins
  • 16Holding
  • 23David Luiz
  • 17Cédric Soares
  • 18ParteySubstituted forElnenyat 78'minutes
  • 34Xhaka
  • 7Saka
  • 32Smith RoweSubstituted forWillianat 72'minutes
  • 19PépéBooked at 70minsSubstituted forWillockat 90+2'minutes
  • 9Lacazette

Substitutes

  • 6Gabriel
  • 12Willian
  • 15Maitland-Niles
  • 21Chambers
  • 25Elneny
  • 28Willock
  • 30Nketiah
  • 33Ryan
  • 35Martinelli
Referee:
Kevin Friend

Match Stats

Home TeamSouthamptonAway TeamArsenal
Possession
Home58%
Away42%
Shots
Home13
Away9
Shots on Target
Home5
Away5
Corners
Home4
Away5
Fouls
Home11
Away6

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Southampton 1, Arsenal 3.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Southampton 1, Arsenal 3.

  3. Substitution

    Substitution, Arsenal. Joseph Willock replaces Nicolas Pépé.

  4. Post update

    Foul by Yan Valery (Southampton).

  5. Post update

    Willian (Arsenal) wins a free kick on the left wing.

  6. Booking

    Caleb Watts (Southampton) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  7. Post update

    Attempt missed. Nicolas Pépé (Arsenal) left footed shot from the left side of the box is just a bit too high. Assisted by Mohamed Elneny following a fast break.

  8. Post update

    Corner, Southampton. Conceded by Rob Holding.

  9. Post update

    Attempt missed. Ibrahima Diallo (Southampton) left footed shot from the left side of the six yard box misses to the right following a set piece situation.

  10. Post update

    Attempt saved. James Ward-Prowse (Southampton) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top left corner.

  11. Post update

    Caleb Watts (Southampton) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  12. Post update

    Foul by Granit Xhaka (Arsenal).

  13. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Che Adams (Southampton) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

  14. Post update

    Foul by Stuart Armstrong (Southampton).

  15. Post update

    Héctor Bellerín (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  16. Post update

    Foul by Daniel N'Lundulu (Southampton).

  17. Post update

    Cédric Soares (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  18. Substitution

    Substitution, Arsenal. Mohamed Elneny replaces Thomas Partey because of an injury.

  19. Post update

    Foul by Jan Bednarek (Southampton).

  20. Post update

    Nicolas Pépé (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

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