De Futebol

The guys played one of their two matches in hand. Arsenal scored two second half goals to beat Southampton to jump into fifth place past Man U 65 points with 66 points.

Arsenal trails fourth place Man Shitty by three points and third place Liverpool by four points.

The Reds have 70 points and Shitty has 69.

Alexis Sanchez 60th minute and Olivier Giroud 83rd minute put this puppy to bed for my Gunners.

The Daily Mail: “Almost an hour had ticked by and Arsenal looked for all the world as if they might freeze when their two biggest stars came to life.

Mesut Ozil eased slightly to his left and opened his body in order to thread a first-time pass into the run of Alexis Sanchez as he accelerated into the penalty box.

Sanchez shaped to shoot with his right foot and chopped the ball onto his left, sending centre-halves Maya Yoshida and Jack Stephens slid across his field of vision in a blur of red-and-white.

Sanchez took aim and drove the ball low past the feet of Fraser Forster. In doing so he became the first Arsenal player to score 20 goals in the Premier League season since Robin van Persie 2011/12.

Van Persie’s goals carried Arsene Wenger’s team into the Champions League that year and Sanchez may yet do the same. His goal eased the pressure which seemed to have stifled the Londoners.

They did not perform well, failing to summon and real urgency or tempo but Sanchez and Ozil proved why they remain so important.

Olivier Giroud came off the bench to score the second and the victory lifts Arsenal above Manchester United into fifth.

There is still work to do. Wenger’s side must finish with three more wins and hope Liverpool or Manchester City stumble. But at least they are fighting at last and winning in the league at Southampton for the first time since December 2003.

They arrived with confidence boosted by a win against Manchester United but were without the reassuring presence of their captain Laurent Koscielny at the back. Koscielny failed to overcome a slight calf niggle and Shkodran Mustafi returned after more than a month out injured.

Mustafi slid into the centre of the back-three which has brought Wenger some degree of success without being entirely convincing in the way Chelsea and Tottenham were when they adopted a similar formation.

Perhaps it rests ultimately on the quality of the defenders. Flanked by inexperienced Rob Holding and Nacho Monreal Arsenal’s defensive unit still seems fragile while wing-backs Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Kieran Gibbs have impressed in the system.

Chamberlain, Gibbs and Aaron Ramsey from central midfield supplied the forward thrust for the visitors after an uncertain opening 15 minutes at St Mary’s.

Ramsey pulled one effort wide and Chamberlain saw another blocked. Losing Chamberlain before half-time to what appeared to be a hamstring strain was a blow for Wenger, but moreover for the 23-year-old England international.

What he yearns for most is a run of games and whenever it seems about to happen he is thwarted by an injury. At least there was warm applause from the home crowd as Hector Bellerin came on to replace him.

Southampton’s full-backs are equally fluent in attack and combined to create the first effort of the game. Cedric Soares raided down the right and his deep cross was met on the run by Ryan Bertrand but he did not connect sweetly.

Even when Arsenal hit some sort of rhythm midway through the first-half the home side remained dangerous.

Manolo Gabbiadini broke away but his teasing low cross was smothered by Petr Cech. Gabbiadini threatened again as he and Dusan Tadic found space in the penalty box. Again, Cech was alert and dashed from his line to block the shot from the Italian.

Gabbiadini swerved a free-kick narrowly wide and Cech turned over a fierce drive from 25 yards by Nathan Redmond.

Southampton gathered momentum as the interval approached and with Oriol Romeu and Steven Davis dominant in midfield Arsenal struggled to get their creative forces onto the ball.

Sanchez fizzed around and dropped deep in search of more possession while Ozil, as ever, drifted in and out.

Ozil was released by a neat flick from Danny Welbeck only to be denied by centre-half Jack Stephens who produced a superbly time tackle inside his own penalty area.

Arsenal’s best chance of the first-half came at the very end when Bellerin delivered a fabulous cross from the right.

Welbeck climbed to meet it but could do no more than apply a tame header which glanced across goal and out to safety at the other side.

Wenger’s team were slowly into their stride again after the break. Mistakes littered their passing game. Too often the final pass went astray.

Ramsey went close again, turning wide a cross from Bellerin and Forster had barely been involved when he was beaten by Sanchez.

Giroud added the gloss in the closing stages. A deep cross from Sanchez was headed back across goal by Ramsey and the substitute arrived to convert with a header from close range.