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Sports

Arsenal sink Saints to avenge FA Cup exit

  • "He and Emile (Smith Rowe) were both magnificent again. They need to keep going."
Published January 27, 2021

SOUTHAMPTON: Mikel Arteta hailed Arsenal's resilience as they avenged their FA Cup exit against Southampton with a 3-1 win in the Premier League rematch on Tuesday.

Arteta's side saw their reign as FA Cup holders ended in a lacklustre 1-0 fourth round defeat at St Mary's on Saturday.

But Arsenal made amends for that blow with a convincing success on their return to Southampton four days later.

Unfazed by Stuart Armstrong's early strike for the hosts, Arsenal were ahead by half-time thanks to goals from Nicolas Pepe and the influential Bukayo Saka.

Alexandre Lacazette netted in the second half as Arsenal came from behind to win an away league game for the first time since Arteta took charge in December 2019.

Arsenal are up to eighth place after a fifth victory in their last six league matches, putting them in a rich vein of form ahead of Saturday's visit from title contenders Manchester United.

After slipping towards the relegation zone in December, Arsenal are now just five points adrift of the top four.

Arteta believes that is down to his players' mental strength.

"Winning a football game brings confidence. We were doing things right but losing games. It showed a lot of intelligence and resilience from the team," Arteta said.

"We conceded a goal from a corner but responded straight away. We were good on the ball. We got out of trouble and made some big chances.

"Our pressing was brilliant. It was a strong performance. We have still a lot to do. We have to improve and be humble."

On the latest impressive display from Saka, Arteta added: "He has been very consistent. He has played in different positions and adapted. He is assisting players. It was another strong performance.

"He and Emile (Smith Rowe) were both magnificent again. They need to keep going."

Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was unavailable again for "personal family reasons" after also missing last weekend's FA Cup loss, yet they didn't miss the Gabon forward.

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