Arsenal brushed off the absence of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to secure a comfortable 3-0 victory over Southampton at Emirates Stadium.
Before the game, Gunners boss Mikel Arteta revealed his captain had been dropped from the squad for a ‘disciplinary breach’, but after a poor start to the game it was Arsenal’s stand-in captain on the day, Alexandre Lacazette, who gave the Gunners the lead in the 21st minute.
Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was dropped for disciplinary reasons for the clash with Southampton.
Alexandre Lacazette captained an unchanged side, with Aubameyang not even among the substitutes as Emile Smith Rowe – still short of full fitness – returned on the bench.
In a pre-match interview shared on the club’s Twitter feed, manager Mikel Arteta said of Aubameyang’s absence: “Unfortunately (it is) due to a disciplinary breach. We’ve been very consistent, no negotiables, and he’s not involved today.”
Asked if it could be a longer-term ban, he added: “It starts today. It’s not an easy situation, a situation we want, to have our club captain in that situation.”
The hosts doubled their advantage six minutes later when Martin Odegaard scored his third goal in as many Premier League matches before Gabriel Magalhaes, who was denied a goal by VAR moments earlier, capped a good afternoon on the field for Arsenal.
Victory sees Arsenal put back-to-back defeats to Manchester United and Everton behind them to move up to fifth ahead of an important clash with West Ham at the Emirates on Wednesday evening.
Meanwhile, Southampton, who are without a win in five league matches, stay 16th.
Arsenal made a sluggish start and they needed Aaron Ramsdale in the early stages as Southampton threatened the opener.
The Gunners’ attempts to play out from the back weren’t working as the visitors continually won possession high up the field. Nathan Tella’s weak effort was easily saved by Ramsdale before Stuart Armstrong saw a strike from outside the penalty area deflected over the crossbar.
Ramsdale needed to be alert to keep out another Armstrong shot before Arsenal sprang into life.
The Gunners eventually got one of their attempts to play out from the back right to devastating effect. Stand-in skipper Lacazette swept home Bukayo Saka’s low cross to finish an impressive counter-attack from the home side.