Saturday 16 December 2017

Sanchez puts Arsenal on way to victory

Southampton 0 Arsenal 2

Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez. Photo: Michael Steele/Getty
Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez. Photo: Michael Steele/Getty

Alexis Sanchez hit his 20th Premier League goal of the season as Arsenal saw off Southampton to keep their Premier League top-four hopes alive.

The Gunners secured a vital 2-0 win in this game in hand to leapfrog Manchester United into fifth and now sit three points adrift of fourth-placed Manchester City.

Sanchez struck the opener on the hour mark at St Mary's before Olivier Giroud came off the bench to make sure of the points with a close-range header.

Under-fire Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has constantly reiterated his side cannot put a foot wrong in their remaining games, and they were solid enough to take home victory to keep them in the hunt for Champions League qualification.

Arsenal went into this match needing a win but also having to address woeful away form that had seen them take two points from a possible 24 on the road against current top-half teams.

Southampton appear to be coasting to the season's end, with reported pressure on manager Claude Puel likely to ramp up after another lacklustre display.

Saints had their moments but looked short of ideas in attack, where out-of-sorts forward Manolo Gabbiadini again drew a blank.

The visitors who had the first real chance as Aaron Ramsey sent an effort wide of goal following good work from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

After 30 minutes the Arsenal three-man defence conspired to play both Dusan Tadic and Gabbiadini onside, with the latter seeing an effort well saved by Petr Cech.

Wenger was forced into a change as the impressive Oxlade-Chamberlain went off with a hamstring issue - Hector Bellerin on in his place.

Both teams started the second half looking to get on the front foot but it took until the hour for Sanchez to open the scoring for Arsenal.

The Chile forward picked up a pass inside the box from Mesut Ozil and left both Maya Yoshida and Jack Stephens on the ground as he cut back inside and finished well.

The second came in the closing stages as sub Giroud made certain, heading home Aaron Ramsey's nod back across the box after more good work from Sanchez.