Welbeck double deepens Southampton’s troubles

Welbeck double deepens Southampton’s troubles

London, United Kingdom | AFP | Danny Welbeck inspired Arsenal to a sixth straight victory with two goals and an assist in a hot-tempered 3-2 home win over Southampton, to leave the Saints still rooted in the relegation zone.

The England forward had not scored a single league goal since September last year, but proved the catalyst for a much-changed Arsenal side ahead of their Europa League quarter-final second leg at CSKA Moscow on Thursday.

Saints remain three points adrift of safety despite taking the lead early on through Shane Long goal and then levelling at 2-2 when Charlie Austin scored just seconds after coming on as a substitute.


But Welbeck had the last word by heading in the winner moments after he had missed a much easier chance.

And Southampton’s survival hopes suffered another blow when defender Jack Stephens was sent-off for an off the ball clash with Jack Wilshere in stoppage time, with Arsenal’s Mohamed Elneny also shown a red card for shoving Cedric Soares in the face.

Sixth-placed Arsenal close to within two points of Chelsea, who host West Ham later on Sunday, but remain well off the pace in the race for a top-four finish.

Despite Arsenal’s recent revival, the Emirates was again far from full as fans voted with their feet against Arsene Wenger’s refusal to end his 22-year stay in charge as manager.

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.


And Southampton took full advantage of a sloppy start from the hosts in the 17th minute.

Cedric Soares cross from the right did not look particularly dangerous, but goalkeeper Petr Cech and defender Shkodran Mustafi left it to each other and Long nipped in to poke home.

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