Danny Welbeck hits double and two sent off as Arsenal beat Southampton
Arsenal 3 - 2 Southampton

Danny Welbeck hits double and two sent off as Arsenal beat Southampton

09/04/2018

Danny Welbeck scored twice as Arsenal deepened Southampton's relegation worries with a 3-2 win in a game that saw both sides reduced to 10 men in stoppage time at the Emirates Stadium.

After a scrappy start in rainy conditions, Southampton were the first to threaten -- and only Hector Bellerin denied them the opening goal.

Jack Stephens played a long pass to Dusan Tadic, who set up James Ward-Prowse and, although his strike beat Petr Cech, Bellerin was there to clear from almost on the line.

Tadic created more danger with a dangerous low cross that was scrambled behind by Shkodran Mustafi, and then Shane Long chased another long ball forward but failed to find Tadic with his attempted pass.

Back came Arsenal, and Alex Iwobi found himself in a promising position but failed to pick out a teammate with his cross.

But after 17 minutes, the visitors had the lead their early pressure deserved when Cedric's deflected cross from the right fell to Long, who stabbed home as Mustafi dithered.

The home fans were showing their frustration at Arsenal's misfiring performance, with jeers greeting one pass back to Cech.

But just before the half-hour mark, their mood was lifted as the Gunners equalised, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang striking after Danny Welbeck had flicked the ball into his path.

Aubameyang almost returned the compliment moments later when his attempted pass was a fraction too strong for Welbeck as Arsenal, so fitful early on, sparked into life.

The former Dortmund striker then crossed and Calum Chambers, who had stayed forward following a corner, attempted an overhead kick that bounced through to keeper Alex McCarthy, and at the other end Long steered wide with the offside flag already up.

Arsenal completed a first-half turnaround when, with 38 minutes gone, Welbeck cut in from the left and fired in a fierce shot that deflected off Maya Yoshida and flew past McCarthy for his first goal in 17 league matches.

The Gunners were close to making it three in the opening moments of the second half as Aubameyang fired in a fierce shot and McCarthy beat the ball away.

The visiting keeper made an even smarter save when he tipped a low strike from Granit Xhaka around the post, and he was soon involved again to divert an Iwobi effort away from danger.

Bellerin was booked for hauling back Long after losing the ball to him, and with 55 minutes gone Arsenal cleared the ball off the line again as Wesley Hoedt's effort was headed away by Mohamed Elneny.

Cech touched a Long header wide as Southampton fought back, and the striker diverted the ball home moments later only to be flagged for offside.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger replaced Reiss Nelson -- the youngest player to start a eague game for the club in five years -- with Jack Wilshere and Aubameyang made way for Alexandre Lacazette soon afterwards.

Saints counterpart Mark Hughes replaced Yoshida with Charlie Austin after 73 minutes -- and it turned out to be inspired as Austin levelled seconds later, turning home another Cedric cross after high-quality Southampton build-up play.

Five minutes later, Arsenal somehow failed to regain their lead as Wilshere turned the ball across goal and Welbeck spooned it over from point-blank range.

Wenger brought on Rob Holding for Bellerin and Josh Sims replaced Long, who had picked up a knock, for Southampton as the game moved into the final 10 minutes.

But the visitors couldn't hold on for a point, Welbeck making amends for his miss when he turned in the winner nine minutes from the end after Iwobi had set him up, Cech denying them another leveller when he saved a Tadic strike.

In added time, Stephens was sent off for shoving Wilshere as the pair tussled for the ball, with the Arsenal player receiving a yellow card, and seconds later Elneny was dismissed for barging Cedric as Saints tried to take a free kick.

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