Welbeck double-strike sinks Saints

Reuters
DANNY Welbeck's second goal of the game gave Arsenal a 3-2 win yesterday and cost Southampton a draw it would have deserved in its struggle against relegation.
Reuters
Reuters

Danny Welbeck scores his second and Arsenal’s third goal — the winner — against Southampton during their English Premier League game at the Emirates Stadium in London yesterday. The Gunners won 3-2, with both teams ending with a man short. 

DANNY Welbeck’s second goal of the game gave Arsenal a 3-2 win yesterday and cost Southampton a draw it would have deserved in its struggle against relegation from the English Premier League.

Southampton’s defeat kept it in the bottom three, three points behind Crystal Palace but with a game in hand.

Shane Long gave the Saints the lead after 17 minutes, nipping in ahead of defender Shkodran Mustafi.

Arsenal equalized 11 minutes later through Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, playing a one-two with Danny Welbeck.

Welbeck then cut inside onto Alex Iwobi’s pass to give Arsene Wenger’s side a barely-deserved halftime lead in London.

Substitute Charlie Austin equalized barely a minute after coming on but with nine minutes left Welbeck headed another Iwobi cross.

In a wild last few minutes Mohamed Elneny and Southampton’s Jack Stephens were sent off in separate incidents.

Elsewhere, Manchester City must wait to annex the EPL title after an amazing Paul Pogba-inspired fightback from two goals down saw its biggest rival Manchester United earn a famous 3-2 win to ruin the Etihad Stadium’s dream party on Saturday.

City, needing to win to wrap up the English top-flight title with more games to spare than any other side in history, seemed to be coasting to the landmark, leading its neighbor 2-0 at the break with goals from Vincent Kompany and Ilkay Gundogan.

Yet just when it seemed United was being outplayed to the point of embarrassment, it launched an astonishing comeback soon after the break with Pogba, previously anonymous despite a new flashy blue hair-do, striking twice in two minutes.

Then, with City losing its composure, Chris Smalling was left free to volley home the winner from Alexis Sanchez’s freekick in the 69th minute to seal a memorable win.

Now instead of a morale-boosting celebration, Pep Guardiola’s side has been forced to wait to clinch its third title in seven seasons and cannot be guaranteed the title even if it wins at Tottenham Hotspur next Saturday.

Its lead over United has been cut to 13 points with Jose Mourinho’s team in pole to earn the runner-up spot as it has 71 points from 32 games, four points clear of Liverpool (67 from 33), which earlier drew 0-0 at Everton, and Spurs (67 from 32), which won 2-1 at Stoke City.

If City beats the in-form Spurs at Wembley, it will still not be able to celebrate the title unless United fails to beat bottom club West Bromwich Albion the following day.

City’s defeat completed its wretched week after the 0-3 mauling by Liverpool at Anfield in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League quarterfinal last Wednesday and it now faces a European exit in the return fixture tomorrow night.

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