Arsene Wenger hailed “tricky” Alexis Sanchez after the Chile striker scored the opening goal in Arsenal’s 2-0 win over Southampton on Wednesday.
The Gunners kept alive their hopes of finishing in the top four with a rare Premier League victory at St. Mary’s after Sanchez broke the deadlock with a sublime finish in the 60th minute.
Sanchez collected a pass from Mesut Ozil and sent two defenders sprawling to the ground before switching directions and slotting a composed left-footed finish past Fraser Forster.
“That’s Alexis, you know. He’s a player who never gives up, and he’s always tricky to stop. He’s very good in short space, and in the box. Once he has the ball in the box, he’s dangerous,” Wenger told Sky Sports. “Alexis, he always grows during the game. He’s always a bit of a slow starter, and gets stronger and stronger.”
Olivier Giroud came off the bench to double the lead in the 83rd with a thumping header, his sixth goal of the season as a substitute. Wenger had dropped Giroud in favour of Danny Welbeck for the last two games, but praised the French striker for his ability to have an impact.
“He has been amazing for us,” Wenger said. “It’s difficult for me at the moment, it’s between Welbeck and Giroud. And both of them have played well, and both of them have a great team spirit as well. So I’m always harsh with the one who doesn’t play.”
The win lifts Arsenal into fifth place, three points behind Manchester City. The Gunners are four points behind third-placed Liverpool but have a game in hand, meaning they could still sneak into the top four if the Reds drop points in either of their remaining two games.
Arsenal’s remaining games are against Stoke, Sunderland and Everton, and they will likely need to win all three to have a chance.