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Arsenal 3-2 Soton: Iwobi & Welbeck compound Saints' woes

EPL By: Ambrose Udeme | 08/04/2018

Danny Welbeck benefitted from Alex Iwobi's double assists at the Emirates stadium to help a ten-man Arsenal to a hard-earned 3-2 victory over relegation battlers Southampton who were also reduced to ten men in a dramatic Premier League showdown on Sunday.

Both teams ended the game with ten men following red cards to Jack Stephens who hauled Jack Wilshere to the ground, grabbing him by the neck violently before Mohamed Elneny joined him in the tunnel for shoving out at Cedric Soares.

GOALS

Arsenal trailed after 17 minutes Petr Cech and Shkodran Mustafi failed to take care of Cedric Soares cross into the box, leaving a patient Shane Long to pounce and prod his team ahead into a deserved lead.

Arsenal responded swiftly through their record signing Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang who did well to put the ball past Alex McCarthy off a Danny Welbeck clever backheel flick.

Arsenal poured forward after the equaliser and despite Southampton's good little spell, Danny Welbeck smashed a shot on goal from outside the box that was deflected home via Maya Yoshida's stricken boot with Iwobi claiming the assist.

13 minutes from time, Cedric Soares danced into the box, sold a dummy to earn the space and popped a low cross into the box, where Charlie Austin was on hand to finish and bring the Saints back on level.

Welbeck, guilty of such a bad miss just moments earlier got his second of the match as he headed in at the back stick from Iwobi's hanging cross to restore Arsenal's lead and hand them a fifth consecutive home win.

SETTING THE SCENE

Arsene Wenger named Reiss Nelson in his starting XI for this clash with Southampton as Alex Iwobi replacing Mesut Ozil who was dropped due to potential fatigue, according to the French boss.

The 18-year-old, widely regarded as the Gunners’ most promising youngster, makes his first ever start in the Premier League, with Wenger opting to rest several first-team regulars.

Aaron Ramsey and Laurent Koscielny have dropped from the squad altogether after starring in Arsenal’s 4-1 defeat of CSKA Moscow on Thursday evening.

The north London giants were desperate to continue their winning run following five consecutive victories in all competitions after a disastrous spell starting in mid-February.

Southampton boss Hughes opted to start with Shane Long over Charlie Austin up front.

HOW IT HAPPENED

Arsenal started brightly with Reiss Nelson to the fore on his first Premier League start, but Southampton denied the home side a clear chance in the opening stages and then struck themselves.

Cedric crossed from the right, Shkodran Mustafi hesitated and Shane Long nipped in front of him to divert the ball past Petr Cech. Arsenal lacked rhythm and penetration after that setback but it all came together just before the half-hour mark.

Alex Iwobi found Welbeck and his deft flick was converted by Aubameyang, who beat goalkeeper Alex McCarthy to the ball by a split-second to prod it into the net. Aubameyang has now been involved in seven goals in his first seven Premier League games, scoring six and assisting once. That’s an Arsenal record.

Welbeck deserved credit for his part in that goal, and the England man started and finished the move that gave his side the lead moments later.

Winning possession inside his own half, Welbeck raced forward to get on the end of an exquisite through-ball from Iwobi. There was still plenty to do as he cut inside and holding off two challenges to fire a deflected shot beyond McCarthy.

Aubameyang, Granit Xhaka and Alex Iwobi were all denied by McCarthy as Arsenal started the second half strongly, but Southampton crept back into the game.

Mohamed Elneny cleared Wesley Hoedt’s header off the line and Cech denied Long, but Charlie Austin came off the bench to grab an equaliser with his first touch.

Welbeck missed from a couple of yards but made amends with a far-post header from Iwobi’s cross - a considerably tougher chance.

The game ended in controversy with red cards shown to Jack Stephens - after an altercation with Jack Wilshere - and Elneny.
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