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Southampton player ratings vs Arsenal

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Southampton cemented their place in the top four of the Premier League after a fairly comfortable 2-0 victory over Arsenal at St. Mary's on Thursday.

Sadio Mane got the Saints on their way with a superb lobbed effort for an acute angle before Dusan Tadic capitalised on a defensive mistake to make it two - and Victor Wanyama impressed throughout.

The home side had Fraser Forster to thank after a fine save from Alexis Sanchez at 1-0 but they went on to get the second to run out comfortable victors in the end.

Mane brilliance

With the game in it's early stages Graziano Pelle should have opened the scoring but his free header clipped the outside of the post and went wide.

They did get the goal soon after though as Sadio Mane raced on to James Ward-Prowse's through ball to beat the onrushing Wojciech Szczesny to the ball before curling an effort over Per Mertesacker into the empty net.

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The goal was all of his own making but it came at a price, with the Senegalese limping off soon after, leaving his African Cup of Nations participation in the balance.

Strong save

Southampton replace Mane with Harrison Reed as they reverted to a 451 formation, and it invited a spell of Arsenal pressure that nearly told.

Alexis Sanchez found space to cut in from the left and with only a yard of space hit a powerful effort that Fraser Forster got a strong wrist behind to keep it out.

Goalkeeping error

After that important save from the England international at one end, Forster's opposite number gifted Southampton a second at the other end minutes later.

Steven Davis brought down Victor Wanyama's pass exquisitely and in the same movement sent a dangerous ball across the six-yard box.

A moment of indecision between Mathieu Debuchy and Szczesny saw the Polish keeper kick the ball straight to Dusan Tadic who poked home from close range.

Could have been more

Ronald Koeman will perhaps rue what could have been for the remainder as his side squandered several chances to increase their lead.

Graziano Pelle hit the post before Ward-Prowse sent the rebound over and the youngster missed another good opportunity as the clocked ticked down.

Tadic nipped in to intercept a sloppy Arsenal back pass ahead of Sczcesny before Pelle fired an effort at goal which was headed off the line by Kieran Gibbs.

In the end though the Saints deserved the victory which strengthens their position in the Champions League places and on this form they will prove very hard to stop.

Southampton player ratings

Forster - 8
Alderweireld - 8
Fonte - 7
Gardos - 7
Bertrand - 7
Wanyama - 9
Davis - 7
Ward-Prowse - 7
Tadic - 7
Mane - 8
Pelle - 7

Subs

Yoshida - 6
Reed - 7
Long - 6

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Topics:
Southampton
Arsenal
Premier League
Football

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