Arriving on the south coast in high spirits on Saturday, Arsenal have been sent back to London with their tails between their legs after losing 4-0 to Southampton.

Cuco Martina, Rui Fonte and Shane Long (two) all scored as the Gunners slumped to a horrible defeat.

Unchanged for the fourth game in a row, the Arsenal side began the game brightly and had half chances through Olivier Giroud and Nacho Monreal.

However, after an encouraging start to the game from Wenger’s men, Southampton right-back Cuco Martina scored the goal of his life to give Saints the lead. Per Mertesacker had headed a cross clear with ease, but nobody closed Martina down and he struck the ball sweetly, starting way outside the far post and bending into the corner to give Petr Čech no chance.

Behind for the first time in weeks, the Gunners initially struggled to settle down again and, despite finishing the half slightly better, went in behind at the break.

Virgil van Dijk thought he had doubled Saints’ lead in the 50th minute, but the offside flag gave Arsenal a reprieve. It didn’t last long. Just five minutes later, Shane Long tripped Laurent Koscielny with the ball heading out wide. Free in the box to receive a pass from Sadio Mané, the Irishman had a simple finish to make it 2-0.

Without threatening to get back in the match, Arsenal were 3-0 down with fewer than 20 minutes remaining. A corner – which was wrongly given – delivered by Ryan Bertrand met the head of Rui Fonte, who directed it past Petr Čech.

There was time for the introduction of Alex Iwobi, who joined Calum Chambers and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in coming off the bench, but it made no difference. The hosts looked more likely to score the next goal, with Shane Long hitting the post late on before smashing the ball low past Čech in injury time.

After such an encouraging performance on Monday the result, and performance, disappointed. Amazing to think that a win against Bournemouth on Monday would still probably send the Gunners to the top of the table.

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