Arsenal 3-2 Southampton: Welbeck gets last laugh

Henrikh Mkhitaryan

Henrikh Mkhitaryan

Danny Welbeck scored twice as Arsenal edged out Southampton 3-2 in an incident-packed game to leave their opponents stuck in the Premier League's relegation zone.

Wenger made seven changes from the side that beat CSKA 4-1 in their quarter-final first leg on Thursday with securing a return to the Champions League by winning the Europa League now Arsenal's priority for the rest of the season.

It was a sloppy start from Arsenal and Southampton took full advantage as some woeful defending from Shkodran Mustafi allowed Shane Long to poke home for 0-1 in the 17th minute.

The in-form winger cut inside from the left and burst through the Saints defence to fire past a despairing Alex McCarthy, with his shot taking a significant deflection off Maya Yoshida.

Charlie Austin restored parity for Southampton in the 73rd minute but Welbeck got the victor eight minutes later from Iwobi's assist.

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"I thought it was a good performance from our point of view in contrast with what we were able to produce against West Ham", Hughes, whose side are 18th in the standings and three points from safety, told reporters.

Arsenal did finish with 10 men when Mohamed Elneny saw red for a hand in the face of Cedric Soares, but Wenger believed the game should be remembered most for Welbeck's first Premier League goals since September past year.

- Southampton haven't won any of their last six Premier League games in which they have opened the scoring (D4 L2). Irish worldwide Long's goal was only his second in nearly 50 games for club and country but even before that the visitors made all the chances. He had gotten on the end of a quick interchange on the edge of Arsenals box to score, making it a record four goals in four meetings with their north London rivals.

It is just one win in 19 league matches now and they have conceded six goals in two league games since Hughes replaced the sacked Mauricio Pellegrino in the middle of March.

"I'm happy with the assist, glad to get the goals".

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Another England World Cup hopeful was heavily involved as the injury-ravaged Welbeck netted his first league goals since September.

"I'm pleased for him because he has been through hard times", Wenger said.

The Gunners were forced to go and get another for their three points, and at first they looked a bit ridiculous-Jack Wilshere, who had come on for Reiss Nelson, managed to tip a heavy pass into the path of Welbeck, who from about a yard and a half out sent it straight up into the air.

"I personally feel for what we have gone through and the way we have recovered, this team deserves huge credit because we were questioned really".

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