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Southampton outscore Arsenal on boxing day

Arsenal missed the chance to go top of the Premier League as they were thrashed by Southampton at St Mary's.

Saints full-back Cuco Martina marked his first league start with a stunning goal, curling in from 30 yards out.

Southampton wanted it more - Arsene Wenger

Arsenal's Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott missed free headers, before Shane Long finished from close range and Jose Fonte headed in the third.

Striker Long struck the post with three minutes remaining, but managed to add a fourth through the legs of Petr Cech.

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It could have been even worse for the visitors. Virgil van Dijk had a header ruled out for offside, while Dusan Tadic's dipping strike was pushed away by Cech.

Relive Southampton's win over Arsenal on Boxing Day

Super Saints but Gunners sinners

Arsenal had lost just one of their previous 11 league games and recorded an impressive victory over Manchester City on Monday but Arsene Wenger's side could not back that performance up with victory on the south coast.

Theo Walcott heatmap

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Playing from the left, Walcott failed to make any impact in the final third of the pitch. A lot of his touches came in his own half

Having seen leaders Leicester beaten by Liverpool earlier in the day, the Gunners would have gone top with a win but were resoundingly beaten by a rampant Southampton side.

Playmaker Mesut Ozil - who has received plenty of plaudits for his impressive performances this season - was kept quiet by the Southampton midfield, while former Saint Walcott posed little threat, attempting only 20 passes before being substituted.

Going into the game, Arsenal had conceded the joint-fewest number of goals (14) in the league this season and their second-half capitulation will be a big worry to Wenger.

Arsenal need to win games against teams in the bottom half of the table if they are to take the title, but did not come close to capitalising on the points dropped by Claudio Ranieri's side.

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'Bully' Wanyama gives Arsenal no respite

The pressure was starting to grow on Southampton boss Ronald Koeman after five winless games left them just four points above the relegation zone.

But they were marshalled brilliantly in the middle of the park by the superb Victor Wanyama, who made a match-high six tackles and 10 interceptions, often bullying the opposition players.

Cuco Martina goal

The graphic doesn't do justice to Cuco Martina's stunning strike

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The opening goal was stunning. There seemed to be no danger when defender Per Mertesacker headed the ball away, and Martina steadied himself before unleashing an outside-of-the-foot drive which started wide of the post before swerving into the net.

Arsenal posed little threat and the hosts added to their tally with a slick counter-attacking move.

There was a hint of controversy in it though, as Long and Laurent Koscielny came together in the build-up, leaving the Frenchman on the ground, allowing Long to stride forward unchallenged and stroke in from Sadio Mane's pass.

Defender Fonte added a bullet header and Long grabbed his second to complete a comprehensive victory for Southampton who managed their first clean sheet in six games.

Man of the match - Shane Long

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Shane Long

Republic of Ireland international Shane Long grabbed two goals and could have had a third when he hit the post. He was a constant menace to the Arsenal defence.

What they said:

'Amazing' Saints result delights Ronald Koeman

Southampton manager Ronald Koeman: "You don't expect a 4-0 win against Arsenal. Of course we have a good football team, but we have struggled in recent weeks. But the second half was perfect. It was a tough night for Arsenal, we caused them a lot of problems. It was an amazing result."

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Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger: "It's a disappointing result but I have to say well done to Southampton. The referee let a lot go but when you're not dominant in challenges that is the price you have to pay."

The stats you need to know

This was Arsenal's heaviest Premier League defeat since a 6-0 away loss at Chelsea in March 2014

Arsenal have conceded five Premier League goals from outside the box in 2015-16 so far; two more than in the whole of the 2014-15 season

Southampton winger Sadio Mane has six assists in 18 Premier League appearances this season - he had only three in 30 league games last season

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Shane Long has scored five and assisted two more goals in his last seven Premier League starts for Southampton

Credit: BBC

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