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Arsenal striker Eddie Nketiah was thrilled his gamble to close down Southampton goalkeeper Alex McCarthy resulted in the opening goal of his side’s 2-0 win, with the young forward claiming he could “smell the uncertainty” from the Saints No.1.
Midway through the first half, McCarthy fielded a routine back pass but under pressure from Nketiah gifted possession to the Arsenal man, who had a simple job of putting the ball in the net thereafter.
It proved a key moment in a tight fixture, with the Gunners not kicking clear until the closing stages, when Joe Willock pounced on a McCarthy fumble to put the result beyond doubt.
Nketiah’s goal, though, was inevitably the game’s big talking point and the 21-year-old was pleased that his industry was rewarded.
“I could smell a bit of uncertainty from the goalkeeper – I followed it in, I’ve done that a hundred times so it’s nice one of those leads to a goal,” he told Sky Sports .
“We work a lot on our high press and I think we did it well today, and for me personally I try and give it all to the team.”
“It was a very important three points,” Nketiah said. “I think we’ve been unfortunate in the first game and the last game, the results didn’t go our way.
“We knew we had to roll our sleeves up and really fight for the three points and hopefully we can build on this and keep pushing forwards.
““It was difficult, they came out really strong in the second half, and I thought all the boys fought and worked hard. It’s really hard in the heat to keep going but i think we did that.”
“Luckily at the end we were able to wrap it up and add a bit of gloss to the scoreline.”
Victory lifts the Gunners to ninth in the standings on 43 points with seven matches of the season remaining.
They will move up at least one place if they overcome eighth-placed Sheffield United away from home on Sunday.