ALEXIS Sanchez fired Arsenal to a late 1-0 victory over Southampton at the Emirates to narrow the gap on the Barclays Premier League top four to two points.
Scorer: Arsenal - Sanchez (88)
Sanchez drilled home Aaron Ramsey’s pass in the 88th minute following a frantic passage of play with the Gunners taking full advantage of Saints having been reduced to ten men.
When Toby Alderweireld went off injured in the last ten minutes, Southampton had already made all three permitted substitutions and as they became stretched Arsenal pounced.
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Few chances fell at either end in an uninspiring first half but Southampton were livelier after the interval, attacking with greater intent than their strangely subdued opponents, whose quest to narrow the gap on the top four lacked urgency on a night of high frustration for home supporters.
The 65th-minute arrival of Olivier Giroud lifted Arsenal, although the substitution was not without controversy as Arsene Wenger’s decision to sacrifice the lively Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was met with boos. Santi Cazorla had endured an error-prone night, but it was Oxlade-Chamberlain who made way. Giroud was denied with three minutes to go after Fraser Foster palmed his header to safety, but seconds later Sanchez plundered the winner.
Arsenal: Martinez, Mertesacker, Ramsey, Sanchez, Koscielny, Monreal, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Chambers, Flamini, Cazorla, Welbeck. Subs: Gibbs, Rosicky, Podolski, Giroud, Sanogo, Bellerin, Macey.
Southampton: Forster, Clyne, Fonte, Alderweireld, Bertrand, Steven Davis, Wanyama, Cork, Long, Pelle, Tadic. Subs: Kelvin Davis, Yoshida, Gardos, Mane, Mayuka, Reed, Targett.
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