Arsenal edge Saints in thriller

Henrikh Mkhitaryan picked up a knee injury in Arsenal's Europa League win vs CSKA Moscow

Henrikh Mkhitaryan picked up a knee injury in Arsenal's Europa League win vs CSKA Moscow

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 Premier League relegation zone.

Wenger's decision to rest seven players before his side's trip to CSKA Moscow for the second leg of their Europa League quarter-final on Thursday demonstrated where Arsenal's priorities lie.

The home side fell behind after Shane Long stole a march on Shkodran Mustafi to prod the ball past Petr Cech, before Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang restored parity with a neat finish after a delicate touch from Welbeck.

James Ward-Prowse had a goalbound shot cleared off the line by Hector Bellerin, Hoedt too went close and Welbeck's first Arsenal goal took a deflection off Maya Yoshida.

And they were well worth their equaliser when Charlie Austin came off the bench to level at 2-2 17 minutes from time before Welbeck's late victor.

Southampton remains three points back of safety.

Southampton now sit in 18th place on the Premier League table as Mark Hughes looks to save the club from relegation with just six games, including Arsenal, left in the season. Irish worldwide Long's goal was only his second in nearly 50 games for club and country but even before that the visitors made all the chances. He did not give the Southampton defenders any time whatsoever and had a hand in all of Arsenal's goals. The visitors began with a cautious 5-4-1 system, with the return of Oriol Romeu giving the midfield a steelier look and Long foraging on his own up front.

Danny Welbeck netted a brace in a game which saw both sides end with only 10 men.

- Mark Hughes has now lost each of his 11 trips to Arsenal in the Premier League, only Harry Redknapp against Manchester United (15) is on a longer wait for an away win against an opponent in the competition.

"I have seen him behave (well) when it was really tough so he deserves everything he gets".

Another England World Cup hopeful was heavily involved as the injury-ravaged Welbeck netted his first league goals since September.

'Yes, I think they can play together, ' Wenger said following Arsenal's defeat of Stoke.

"People were questioning whether he would come back and I believe what he has done is exceptional".

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