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Saturday, 26 February, 2000, 17:39 GMT
Gunners back in hunt


Ljunberg fires Arsenal into a first-half lead


Arsenal 3-1 Southampton

Arsenal reignited their slim chances of Premiership glory with a resounding victory over Southampton.

The Gunners picked up two points in their battle to overhaul Manchester United, after the leaders were held to a 2-2 draw at Wimbledon.

Match facts
22: Ljunberg finishes a sweet move to make it 1-0
36: Bergkamp heads in Arsenal's second
61: Richards gives Southampton a chance
68: Ljunberg's cross goes straight into the goal
And with Liverpool not playing and Leeds drawing with Middlesbrough, Arsenal were able to consolidate their position in third place.

Frederik Ljunberg scored a goal in either half and Dennis Bergkamp added another to complete the win.

Dean Richards claimed a goal in reply for Saints - but it was not enough to prevent Glenn Hoddle suffering his first defeat since taking over as manager at The Dell.

For Hoddle the match proved to be no happy reunion with his former mentor Arsene Wenger, who had coached him during their days together at Monaco.

Swede smell of success

Ljungberg opened the scoring mid-way through the first half, thanks to a neat piece of skill from Bergkamp.

Davies slides in to tackle Bergkamp
The Dutchman slipped a precise reverse pass to the Swedish international, who slotted a low shot past Saints keeper Paul Jones.

Once they had taken the lead, Arsenal began to dominate.

But Nwankwo Kanu's shot was kept out by Jones and Ljunberg could only smash the rebound over the bar.

Southampton could not hang on much longer, though, and Arsenal doubled the advantage on 36 minutes when Bergkamp thumped home a header from Silvinho's cross.

Tensions became frayed towards the end of the first half, after Kanu was booked for a dive on the edge of the box.

Players from both sides were embroiled in a tussle on the touchline when Patrick Vieira clashed with Mark Hughes - and the half-time whistle came as a welcome relief for officials and players alike.

Saints fight back

Southampton made a game of it early in the second half when set-piece experts Arsenal were caught out at a corner.

Kanu holds off the challenge of Tessem
A near-post flick-on created the opening in the box and Richards ran in at the back to nod home from point-blank range.

But Arsenal quelled any late Saints comeback with a third goal on 68 minutes.

When the livewire Ljunberg crossed into the box, Vieira jumped for a header - but the ball evaded his full-stretch effort and confused goalkeeper Jones before trickling into the back of the net.

Vieira denied touching the ball and the goal was credited to Ljunberg.

Once they had re-established their two-goal lead, Arsenal were in complete control and could have added to the scoreline.

Ray Parlour saw a deflected effort drift past the post and Jones did well to save a Marc Overmars snap-shot and another Ljunberg strike.

Teams:

Arsenal: Seaman, Dixon, Keown, Adams, Silvinho, Parlour, Vieira, Petit, Ljungberg, Kanu, Bergkamp.
Subs: Winterburn, Suker, Overmars, Manninger, Grimandi.

Southampton: Jones, Dodd, Richards, Benali, Colleter, Tessem, Oakley, Marsden, Kachloul, Davies, Beattie.
Subs: Lundekvam, M. Hughes, Moss, Soltvedt, Boa Morte.

Referee: J Winter (Stockton-on-Tees)
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Links to other FA Carling Premiership stories are at the foot of the page.