Premier League • England

Lacazette stunner as Arsenal hit form to end Southampton challenge

Neil Foster
Alexandre Lacazette Arsenal 2021 TEAMtalk1

Goals from Alexandre Lacazette, Martin Odegaard and Gabriel saw Arsenal take all three points from a battling Southampton side at the Emirates.

Lacazette and Odegaard bagged in the first 45 minutes despite Saints playing a full part in proceedings. Gabriel put the gloss on the performance after the break as Mikel Arteta’s side turned on the style to win 3-0. Southampton carved out a few chances as the match wore on but could not find a way through.

Arteta named an unchanged team from the one that lost 2-1 to Everton on Monday evening. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was not even named in the squad after an alleged bust-up in training.

Arteta admitted he had been left out for a “a disciplinary breach”. Lacazette captained the side while Emile Smith-Rowe was back on the bench after missing the Toffees reverse.

Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl made five changes from the side that drew with Brighton. New signing Willy Caballero started in goal while Jack Stephens, Jan Bednarek, Adam Armstrong and Ibrahima Diallo all returned.

Arsenal had lost three of their last four league games and were looking for a fast start. But it was Saints who bossed the early proceedings, with two chances in quick succession.

Adam Armstrong’s effort was deflected over before Nathan Tella tested Aaron Ramsdale with a weak effort. The away side continued to dominate possession, with the Gunners content to counter-attack.

Lacazette settles the nerves

But they took the lead on 21 minutes with a sublime goal by Lacazette. A sweeping move involving 16 passes that began with Ramsdale and included Buakyo Saka’s driving run, ended as the Frenchman chipped Caballero from inside the box.

And just six minutes later, the hosts were 2-0 up thanks to Odegaard’s third goal in as many games. There was an air of frustration at the Emirates at Arsenal’s early display but that lifted after the Norwegian’s close-range header.

Martin Odegaard Arsenal 2021 TEAMtalk21

It could have been all over five minutes before the break. Caballero’s poor pass saw the ball worked quickly to Saka but the Argentinian keeper saved well to atone for his error.

James Ward-Prowse tried his luck with a free-kick in stoppage time but it deflected off the Arsenal wall for a corner.

Saints will have wondered how they were two goals down after the first 45 minutes having been so dominant in the early part of the half.

Southampton needed a reaction to get back in the game but Arteta’s men began on the front foot. Both Granit Xhaka and Odegaard saw efforts sail over the crossbar without troubling the keeper.

Gabriel shows his class

Saints felt they should have had a penalty on 56 minutes as Tella fell in the box under a challenge from Gabriel. But the referee disagreed and just a couple of minutes later, Arsenal’s Brazilian had the ball in the net. However, VAR agreed with the assistant that he was offside.

It was impossible to keep the South American out of the game for long as he found the net again just two minutes later. The 23-year-old rose above the defence to head Martinelli’s corner into the far corner – this time it stood.

With the game all but put to bed, the home side seem to relax and were in the mood for more goals. Takehiro Tomiyasu forced Caballero into a smart save after a Martinelli effort had clipped the bar.

Saka then beat the keeper but not the post and it seemed inevitable that Arsenal would add to their tally. It was all Arsenal but Ramsdale did the business when finally called on to save decent efforts from Nathan Redmond and Tella.

But it was to no avail as the Gunners stood firm to hit back after the disappointing loss to Everton.