In the blistering south-coast heat, Arsenal found themselves a shaft of light. It would be an understatement to say Mikel Arteta’s team needed this after a week of defeats, long-term injuries and pointed questions about their transfer policy. Many of their old wounds have been self-inflicted but here they deserved the luck that had previously deserted them, Eddie Nketiah punishing Alex McCarthy’s embarrassing blunder midway through the first half and the substitute Joe Willock making sure late on. The second of those goals came after Southampton’s Jack Stephens was sent off but it did not flatter Arsenal, whose bid for the European spots remains alive.

The Southampton manager, Ralph Hasenhüttl, had initially predicted the “fitter team” would come out on top. It was not hard to see why: the temperature exceeded 30C on an evening where conditions, as much as the now-customary echoing stands, emphasised the weirdness of playing top-flight football in midsummer. Nobody would have been remiss in expecting an opening period played at walking pace but instead it set off with a spikiness that, in a roundabout way, brought Nketiah’s goal.

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