In an enthralling fixture at the Emirates Stadium, Arsenal emerged 3-2 winners against Mark Hughes' Southampton, who battled well but were ultimately worn down by a strong offensive performance from the Gunners.

It was the strikers who won the day in North London - Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang opening the scoring and Danny Welbeck netting a brace. Southampton threatened throughout, but the loss has left them in a very unappealing situation in the relegation places of the Premier League.

It was an all-striker affair for the away side as well, with a rare Shane Long goal providing the riposte to Aubameyang's opening goal and Charlie Austin finding the net to make it 2-2.

With the game looking like it could go either way, it was Welbeck who came up with the goods to put Arsenal 3-2 ahead in a game that will have done his confidence the world of good. The English forward has undoubted talent but does not put it to use near enough - more games like this and he will continue to give his manager a headache when it comes to striker selection, both in the league and in Europe.

The game ended in uneasy circumstances as both teams finished with 10 men. Jack Stephen's was sent off for the visitors and was followed one minute later - perhaps a little harshly - by Mohamed Elneny for Arsenal. It didn't have much impact on the game has it happened so late on, but it was an indicator that both sides were riled up by the encounter.

Even though it was Welbeck who netted the winner, praise must be placed upon Arsenal's record signing. Arsenal's Premier League season seems destined to be played out against a backdrop of empty seats and dejection of what could have been, but Aubameyang is doing his best to breathe life into the Emirates Stadium every other weekend. The January signing from Borussia Dortmund was on target again in Arsenal's 3-2 win over Southampton on Sunday.

The Gabon international has now scored in each of his last four Premier League appearances for the Gunners and even broke a record against Saints. With six goals and one assist in total, he has now been directly involved in more goals in his first seven Premier League games than any other Arsenal player in the competition's history.

Aubameyang's six goals have come at a rate of one every 102 minutes, a record that puts him among the very best in the Premier League this season. It has been an encouraging start, in games that have an oddly pre-season feel to them considering they're competitive league fixtures.

The visitors began with a cautious 5-4-1 system, with the return of Oriol Romeu giving the midfield a steelier look and Long foraging on his own up front. Yet they had players who could trouble for Arsenal on the break and James Ward-Prowse and Dusan Tadic looked like they could easily cause damage early on.

Wenger opted for a much changed team from the side that faced CSKA on Thursday, showing clear intention that the Europa League is now the Gunners main focus for the remainder of the season.

Reiss Nelson got his first league start after impressing when introduced in cup competitions throughout the season, and while he did not set the pitch alight on his starting 11 league debut, it was good to see youth being given a proper chance.

In the second half, Jack Wilshire was introduced in place of Nelson, and he made his presence known. It was Wilshire who played a cushioned ball into an onrushing Welbeck for what would be the decisive goal.

Also, In the fracas at the end of the game with Stephen's getting sent off, Southampton manager Hughes was furious that Wilshire didn't see red as well as his player.

Following the game, he claimed: “Wilshere should have been sent off - Jack Stephens has reacted to being pulled back for about 20 yards. It’s not correct but it’s understandable. But if you’re going to send Jack off, you have to send Wilshere off for bouncing up. I thought I saw a definite movement with his knee towards Jack.”

Regardless of Hughes claims, Wilshire soldiered on and Arsenal came out 3-2 victors. It was a game that points could have easily been lost in - as was the case so often this season - so commendation must be given to the resolve of the team in this instance.

This result - as was going to be the case win-or-lose - leaves Arsenal in 6th position. Following from their run of poor results, Chelsea are now only 3 points above the Gunners - dropping points to a West Ham United team in disarray yesterday to continue a string of poor results. This means, due to Arsenal's recent run of decent results, that fifth place has become a genuine possibility for the Gunners, but the enormous 13 point gap behind Liverpool and Tottenham - both joint on 67 points - will almost certainly be insurmountable in the final 6 matches.

Next up for Arsenal is a trip to Moscow for Thursday's quarter final second leg against CSKA Moscow. Even with a 4-1 advantage going into the tie thanks to the first half performance from the home leg, Wenger will be cautious in his approach. Teams always have a tough time playing away in Russia, so the Gunners will need to show resiliance to book a place in the Semi Finals of the Europa League.

In terms of the League, next up is an away tie in St. James's Park against an in-form Newcastle United. In December the Gunners came out 1-0 winners thanks to a Mesut Ozil wondergoal, and the side will be hoping to replicate this result next Sunday.