Arsenal got off the mark with their first post-lockdown victory as goals from Eddie Nketiah and Joe Willock earned a 2-0 win at Southampton.
Nketiah forced a calamitous error from Saints goalkeeper Alex McCarthy midway through the first half, charging down his pass before converting his fourth Gunners goal of the season into the unguarded net.
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Arsenal controlled the first period but were indebted to goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez, who prevented Shane Long from earning Southampton a point in an improved second-half performance.
But the Saints' hopes were dashed by last-man Jack Stephens' late red for a foul on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, with substitute Willock adding the second from the subsequent passage of play three minutes from time.
Mikel Arteta's first away league win since taking charge lifts the Gunners up to ninth in the table, eight points off fourth-place Chelsea and six ahead of Southampton, who remain 14th.
Southampton: McCarthy (4), Valery (5), Stephens (4), Bednarek (5), Bertrand (6), Armstrong (6), Ward-Prowse (6), Hojbjerg (6), Obafemi (5), Redmond (6), Ings (6).
Subs: Long (6), Walker-Peters (6).
Arsenal: Martinez (8), Bellerin (6), Mustafi (6), Holding (8), Tierney (7), Pepe (6), Ceballos (6), Xhaka (6), Saka (8), Nketiah (8), Aubameyang (7).
Subs: Lacazette (6), Willock (7), Kolasinac (6).
Man of the Match: Rob Holding
How Arsenal shone on the south coast
Southampton nearly caught Arsenal cold inside 30 seconds when Ryan Bertrand's cross fell for Danny Ings in the area, but the Gunners blocked his effort, emerged stronger from that early scare and produced their best half of football since the resumption of the season.
Aubameyang looked certain to put the Gunners ahead inside 10 minutes, only for the slightest of touches from McCarthy to turn his goal-bound effort against the underside of the bar.
- Ralph Hasenhuttl named an unchanged side following Southampton’s 3-0 victory at Norwich.
- Emiliano Martinez, Kieran Tierney, Granit Xhaka and Eddie Nketiah were recalled as Mikel Arteta made four changes from the defeat at Brighton.
But the Saints stopper soon turned from hero to villain as he dithered on the ball outside his area and allowed Nketiah to charge down his pass. The ball ricocheted towards the goal mouth where the Gunners striker's opportunism was rewarded with a close-range tap-in.
An encouraging defensive performance limited Southampton to few clear-cut chances and ensured Arsenal reached the interval ahead in a Premier League for the first time since January.
But things could have been even sweeter for the visitors had Nketiah doubled his tally at the end of a break late in the first period, but the youngster sliced wide after turning up the chance to square to Aubameyang.
Southampton improved after the break, with captain James Ward-Prowse firing over at the end of their best attacking phase within six minutes of the restart.
Jan Bednarek's blushes were spared soon after as his last-gasp block turned the ball inches wide of his own goal after preventing Aubameyang's square pass from reaching the unmarked Nketiah.
Nathan Redmond lashed a shot into the side-netting as Southampton rallied for an equaliser, an equaliser which nearly came on 78 minutes when Long drifted in behind the static Arsenal defence as forced a fine save from Martinez, who showed great agility to prevent Ings from converting the rebound.
Southampton hopes were dented on 85 minutes when defender Stephens was shown a straight red by referee Graham Scott for denying Aubameyang a clear scoring opportunity.
And, from the resulting free-kick, they were extinguished completely as Willock converted the rebound after McCarthy's spilled Alexandre Lacazette's shot, as Arsenal claimed their first victory since March.
Opta stats: Arsenal win away under Arteta
- Arsenal registered only their third away Premier League win of the season (W3 D8 L5) with all three wins coming under different managers (Emery, Ljungberg and Arteta).
- Mikel Arteta has won as many as game in 18 matches as Arsenal manager in all competitions (W9 D5 L4) as Unai Emery and Freddie Ljungberg managed in 26 games combined this season (W9 D11 L6).
- No team has made more errors leading to opposition goals in the Premier League this season than Southampton (10).
What the managers said...
Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl: "We gave a goal away easily, too easily. After a few changes at half time, we were better in the second half and had the chance to equalise through Long.
"That could have changed the game, but we gave another easy goal away, which happens too often at home. A think a point was possible but, in the end, there was not enough from our side.
"We need to change our home performances to take more points at home, and that is out goal going forward."
Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta: "Football is about maintaining the right level of energy and passion. When you lose, you lose a little bit of that so winning is always the best medicine. We got a reaction; we got the result we needed.
"In the second half we could have played much better with the ball, it was a struggle, it was warm. We could have won the game earlier, but we were really good.
"I asked the players to be a team, to defend each other and to enjoy competing together. We are so fortunate to be where we are and, as a team today, I liked what we saw."
Live Renault Super Sunday
Southampton are away to Watford on Super Sunday at 4.30pm, live on Sky Sports Premier League. Arsenal travel to Sheffield United in the quarter-finals of the FA Cup on Sunday at 1pm.