Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta dedicated his side’s Premier League win over Southampton to absent captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who missed the game for personal reasons.
The Gunners made light of their star striker’s absence as they continued their excellent run of league form by coming from behind to beat the Saints in an eventful game.
After Alexandre Lacazette missed a glorious chance to give the Gunners a first-minute lead, Stuart Armstrong put Southampton ahead from a wonderful delivery by captain James Ward-Prowse.
But the lead lasted just five minutes, as Nicolas Pepe equalised with a neat finish, before both sides created clear chances.
Former Saints defender Cedric Soares volleyed narrowly wide at one end while Bernd Leno produced a flying save to keep out a header by Che Adams at the other.
England winger Bukayo Saka put the Gunners ahead after going past keeper Alex McCarthy, who had come rushing out of his penalty area, before the 19-year-old picked out Lacazette to seal the points, the Frenchman appearing to send a message of support to Aubameyang in the process.
“I loved how they support each other and how they protect each other,” said Arteta, who was also without Aubameyang for the teams’ FA Cup meeting on Saturday. “Auba is having a difficult time and we are all behind him. This win was for him.”