Nicolas Pepe and Alexandre Lacazette dedicate goals to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang

Nicolas Pepe and Alexandre Lacazette both scored in Arsenal's 3-1 win over Southampton
Nicolas Pepe and Alexandre Lacazette both scored in Arsenal’s 3-1 win over Southampton (Picture: Instagram)

Nicolas Pepe and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang dedicated their goals in Arsenal’s 3-1 win over Southampton to their missing teammate Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

The Arsenal skipper was forced to pull out of Saturday’s FA Cup defeat at St Mary’s due to a ‘personal matter’ and was again given permission to miss last night’s victory which moved the Gunners up to eighth in the table.

Mikel Arteta’s side recovered from the early blow of conceding to Stuart Armstrong’s third minute opener on the south coast, with Pepe scoring his first goal from open play in the Premier League since October.

Arsenal turned the game on its head five minutes before half-time when Bukayo Saka latched onto Lacazette’s first-time pass, rounded Alex McCarthy and scored his fifth goal of the season.

The roles were reversed midway through the second half when Lacazette touched home Saka’s superb cross and after clambering to his feet the French striker celebrated by raising one finger on his left hand and four on his right to signify Aubameyang’s No.14 squad number.

Lacazette posted a picture of his celebration on Instagram after the match which drew a response from Aubameyang which read ‘my men’. Pepe, too, posted a message of support to Aubameyang which simply read ‘for my brother’.

Arsenal have now won five of their last six league games and have moved from potential relegation candidates to within five points of a top four place.

Arteta’s rapidly improving team face an acid test of their Champions League qualification hopes on Saturday when they entertain Manchester United at the Emirates Stadium, but the Arsenal manager refused to be drawn on whether or not Aubameyang would be available for selection.

He said: ‘No [there’s no update] but I love how they support each other and how they protect each other. Auba is having a difficult time. We are all behind him and this win is for him.’

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