Arsenal have added to their good form at the Emirates Stadium with a 3-2 victory over Southampton for the Premier League.
Goals from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Danny Welbeck launched the Gunners into the lead before half-time, having previously gone a goal down to Shane Long’s early strike.
The Saints equalised later on through Charlie Austin, but Welbeck again sought the final say, claiming the winner for Arsenal in the 82nd minute before both sides saw off the game with ten men.
Arsène Wenger called on a number of fresh faces to come into the XI, more notably that of Reiss Nelson’s, as Mesut Özil and co. were rested ahead of next week’s clash versus CSKA Moscow.
The Saints went in search of an early goal, as Dusan Tadic found James Ward-Prowse in support before the Englishman’s shot past Čech was cleared by Héctor Bellerín in the 7th minute.
Southampton followed up to take the lead ten minutes later, as Long ghosted ahead of Shkodran Mustafi at the near-post to divert Cedric Soares’ cross into the back of the net.
Arsenal’s reply came in the 28th minute via Aubameyang’s deft touch past Alex McCarthy, scoring courtesy of Welbeck’s neat flick-on.
With Welbeck involved again, the English forward was able to power a deflected shot in after 38 minutes of play, as the Gunners took a 2-1 lead into half-time.
A good start to the second period saw Arsenal threaten to add to their lead, with both Granit Xhaka and Alex Iwobi going close with strikes from range.
Wenger’s men then required another goal-line intervention, with Mohamed Elneny denying Wesley Hoedt’s header in the 56th minute before Long could test Čech five minutes later, again with his head.
The goal eventually came for the visitors in the 73rd minute, as Cedric continued to cause the problems down the right flank before feeding Charlie Austin for a tap-in.
A golden opportunity to put Arsenal back in front fell Welbeck’s way in the 78th minute, courtesy of an out-stretched cut-back from Jack Wilshere, but the ex-Manchester United man was unable to find the appropriate contact when shinning the ball over from close range.
Welbeck would redeem himself, however, following Iwobi’s floated cross, with the Arsenal forward popping up at the back-post to nod home in the 82nd minute.
The game fizzled with a red card each, collected by Elneny and Southampton’s Jack Stephens, as the North Londoners claimed all-three points with a 3-2 win at home.
By Patrick Ribeiro
Player Ratings: Petr Čech (7) – Héctor Bellerín (6), Shkodran Mustafi (5), Calum Chambers (6), Sead Kolasinac (6) – Mohamed Elneny (6), Granit Xhaka (6) – Reiss Nelson (6), Alex Iwobi (8), Danny Welbeck (7) – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (7)
Subs: Jack Wilshere (6), Rob Holding (6), Alexandre Lacazette (6)