Arsenal kept their hopes of qualifying for Europe alive when Eddie Nketiah punished a howler for Southampton goalkeeper Alex McCarthy to inspire a much-needed 2-0 victory on Thursday.
Mikel Arteta’s side hosted the first game in the first half at St Mary’s when Nketiah removed McCarthy’s pass and shot home.
Joe Willock doubled Arsenal’s lead late in the second half, moments after Southampton’s Jack Stephens was sent off for taking down Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Arsenal had suffered two successive defeats after the Premier League restart after the coronavirus hiatus.
That horrible run effectively ended his attempt to make it to the Champions League and sparked criticism for Arteta’s decision to award new contracts to David Luiz and Cedric Soares despite their problems with poor form and injuries, respectively.
Against the daunting backdrop, Arsenal’s success at St Mary’s, which took them to ninth place and kept them on the hunt for a place in the Europa League, was a welcome tonic for Arteta.
Arsenal had started with 40 points, which were ranked as their lowest joint account after 30 games in a Premier League campaign.
Matteo Guendouzi was removed a few days after reports that Arteta had become frustrated with the French midfielder’s behavior, while Alexandre Lacazette and Mesut Ozil remained on the bench.
Guendouzi reportedly teased the Brighton players about how much he makes during Saturday’s game and faced off with Gulls forward Neal Maupay after the final whistle, with his absence at St Mary’s attributed to “squad management” by Arteta.