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Wenger: Sanchez was forced to dig deep in Saints win

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Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez battles for the ball with Southampton's Sadio Mane

Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez battles for the ball with Southampton's Sadio Mane

Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez battles for the ball with Southampton's Sadio Mane

Arsene Wenger insists Alexis Sanchez was forced to draw on his reserves of stamina to fire Arsenal to their third successive victory.

The Gunners defeated Southampton 1-0 at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday night, with Sanchez's 88th-minute strike narrowing the gap on the English Premier League's top four to two points.

Sanchez drilled home Aaron Ramsey's pass as Arsenal poured forward in search of the winner after Saints had been reduced to 10 men due to Toby Alderweireld limping off with a hamstring injury six minutes from time.

It was the Gunners' third game in eight days and Wenger was impressed with Sanchez's unwillingness to settle for a point.

"Alexis is one of the players who had to dig deep, but he still had such desire to fight. He always finds something special to get a goal," Arsenal boss Wenger said.

"It's difficult to find examples of someone who has settled at a club so quickly. He arrived in July and now it's December. When you look at the number of goals he has and the impact he has on the team, it's fabulous.

"We deserved that because we gave very few chances away and had more chances than Southampton and because we kept a clean sheet.

"It was a bit hard to get going at the start because we'd given a lot against Dortmund and West Brom.

"We had to dig deep against a good team that is very well organised. We had to be patient and wait for our chances."

Southampton manager Ronald Koeman admitted the departure of Alderweireld with six minutes to go encouraged Arsenal to seek the winner.

"We were unlucky with the injuries and that gave Arsenal the motivation to bring more in the last 10 minutes, pressing with 11 players against 10 players," the Dutchman said.

"Toby couldn't play on. If it's a kick on the ankle you can ask them to play on, but it was a hamstring problem. You can't continue with a hamstring injury."


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