Arsenal enjoyed an easy 2-0 win over Southampton with two first-half goals that saw them move back into the top four.

Southampton needed three points to escape the bottom three and Arsenal knew a win could give them the chance to leapfrog Manchester United.

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Alexandre Lacazette put Arsenal ahead after just six minutes after following up a Henrikh Mkhitaryan shot, and the Armenian made it two just after the quarter-hour mark.

Alexandre Lacazette of Arsenal FC takes a shot saved by Angus Gunn of Southampton FC during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Southampton FC at Emirates Stadium on February 24, 2019 in London, United Kingdom

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In the second half, Southampton had a few bright minutes but were soon under pressure again and substitute Michael Obafemi had to be taken off after 20 minutes with a hamstring injury.

The defeat consigns Southampton to stay in the relegation zone with the end of the season closing in, while Arsenal move into fourth place to stay in contention for the Champions League.

TALKING POINT

Can Arsenal hold onto fourth? On this showing they have the beating of the mediocre sides in the Premier League, and there are plenty of them. However, they were not too steely at the back and there is room for improvement over the course of the rest of the season. It seems a straight battle between them and Manchester United for fourth place.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan of Arsenal FC celebrates with his team mates Alexandre Lacazette and Stephan Lichtsteiner after scoring a goal during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Southampton FC at Emirates Stadium on February 24, 2019 in London, Uni

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MAN OF THE MATCH

Henrikh Mkhitaryan (Arsenal): He faded out of the game after a bright start - something that has been a problem in the past - but his decisive interventions in the early moments prompted Arsenal’s first goal and scored the second. It is easy to see why his energy keeps out fellow playmaker Mesut Ozil.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan celebrates scoring the 2nd Arsenal goal during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Southampton FC at Emirates Stadium on February 24, 2019 in London, United Kingdom.

Image credit: Getty Images

MATCHCAST: FULL MATCH STATS AND COMMENTARY

PLAYER RATINGS

Arsenal: Leno 6, Lichtsteiner 6, Sokratis 6, Mustafi 6, Kolasinac 7, Torreira 6, Xhaka 6, Mkhitaryan 7, Ramsey 6, Iwobi 7, Lacazette 7. Subs: Koscielny 6, Ozil 7, Aubameyang 7.

Southampton: Gunn 6, Valery 6, Bednarek 6, Vestergaard 6, Stephens 5, Targett 6, Hojbjerg 6, Romeu 5, Ward-Prowse 6, Armstrong 5, Redmond 6. Subs: Elyounoussi 6, Obafemi 6, Austin 6.

KEY EVENTS

6’ - GOAL! Southampton 0-1 Arsenal. Lacazette scores - Henrikh Mkhitaryan has the first shot, but Lacazette is on hand to react quickly and put his side ahead.

17’ - GOAL! Arsenal 2-0 Southampton. Mkhitaryan scores - A poor backpass from Stephens after a firm backpass from Stephens. His clearance goes out to Iwobi, who advances forward, shifts it right to Mkhitaryan, and he drills it in at the near post.

40’ - LACAZETTE MISS - Mustafi follows up a loose ball outside the box, it runs to Lacazette and he scoops a shot from close range over the bar.

52’ - WARD-PROWSE SHOT - Xhaka plays the ball witlessly to Ward-Prowse, and he slices a firm volley just wide of the post from distance.

72’ - AUSTIN HEADER - Corner on the left for Southampton, but it's headed back out to Ward-Prowse. It comes to Redmond who loops a cross to Austin, and he heads it high into the air for Leno to grasp.

86’ - GUNN SAVE - Ozil sets up Aubameyang to bring a great save from Gunn with moments to go. Ozil flicked the pass down the line for the striker, and his cross inside for Lacazette was deflected goalwards before hitting the 'keeper's legs.

KEY STAT

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