Danny Welbeck’s double helped a much-changed Arsenal overcome the spirited challenge of Southampton, who saw their relegation fears increase at Emirates Stadium.
Arsene Wenger made seven changes with Thursday’s Europa League quarter-final second leg against CSKA Moscow in mind, and trailed when Shane Long capitalised on a first-half mix-up between keeper Petr Cech and centre-back Shkodran Mustafi.
But the hosts recovered to lead after goals by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Welbeck.
Southampton then levelled through substitute Charlie Austin but Welbeck headed Arsenal back in front after both sides missed a string of chances.
Mark Hughes’ men, who had defender Jack Stephens sent off in added time before Arsenal’s Mohamed Elneny was also dismissed, remain 18th in the table and three points from safety.
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