London: Arsenal weathered storms on and off the pitch before coasting to a 3-0 Premier League win over Southampton on Saturday as boss Mikel Arteta dropped captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from the match-day squad for disciplinary reasons.
Before kickoff, Arteta was tight-lipped as he explained that Aubameyang’s absence was due to a “disciplinary breach”, with Alexandre Lacazette starting on his own up front.
Southampton had the better of the opening exchanges on a rainy afternoon with Adam Armstrong forcing an early corner and a fine save from Aaron Ramsdale as the Gunners struggled to deal with the visitors’ high press.
They managed to break thorough it in the 21st minute with a sweeping move, attackingdown the left where Bukayo Saka squared to Lacazette, who fired home.
“It was a brilliant goal, played out from the back, we’ve been practising this movement; it’s good to see that it played out well. We practise these things every day in training,” playmaker Martin Odegaard told the BBC.
The Gunners went two up six minutes later when Southampton’s slack defending was punished by Odegaard as Kieran Tierney’s attempted cross bounced back to him and he headed the ball back across the goal for the Norwegian to nod it home.
The goal was Odegaard’s third in three Premier League games, and his angled passes tormented the Southampton defence all afternoon.