Southampton 4-0 Arsenal: Saints drown sloppy Gunners

Southampton's Portuguese defender Jose Fonte (R) celebrates with teammates after scoring Southampton's third goal during the English Premier League football match between Southampton and Arsenal at St Mary's Stadium in Southampton, southern England on December 26, 2015. AFP PHOTO / JUSTIN TALLIS RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. NO USE WITH UNAUTHORIZED AUDIO, VIDEO, DATA, FIXTURE LISTS, CLUB/LEAGUE LOGOS OR 'LIVE' SERVICES. ONLINE IN-MATCH USE LIMITED TO 75 IMAGES, NO VIDEO EMULATION. NO USE IN BETTING, GAMES OR SINGLE CLUB/LEAGUE/PLAYER PUBLICATIONS. / AFP / JUSTIN TALLIS

Arsenal missed the chance to go top of the premier league with a defeat as Southampton dismantled boys from North London 4-0 at Saint Mary’s stadium on Sunday.

Cuco Martina’s world-class strike left the Gunners with an uphill task, Shane Long tucked in a second early in the second half and Jose Fonte’s header effectively ended the Gunners’ hopes.

The visitors were aggrieved – Long appeared to trip Laurent Koscielny in the build-up to his goal – but they couldn’t find a response against a spirited Saints side. And Long rubbed salt in their wounds with a fourth in stoppage time.

Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott went close with first-half headers but Arsenal lacked their usual fluency and struggled to create much in open play.

No side has won as many points as the Gunners in 2015 and, as Arsène Wenger said ahead of this game, his team is still “on the right train, heading the right way”.

But such is the nature of the Premier League – and this season in particular – that losing to Southampton after beating Manchester City does not raise too many eyebrows.

Arsenal only have to wait 48 hours for a chance to get back on track – against Bournemouth at Emirates Stadium.