EDDIE Nketiah and Joseph Willock took full advantage of Alex McCarthy’s errors to fire Arsenal to a 2-0 victory at St Mary’s.

The goalkeeper tried to play his way out from the back during the first half, only to have his pass intercepted by Nketiah, with the youngster then rolling the ball into an empty net.

Willock left it late to add the Gunners’ second as McCarthy could only parry Alexandre Lacazette’s effort into his path.

The second-half substitute then slammed home from close range to knock the stuffing out of Saints.

To pour salt on the wound, defender Jack Stephens was also given a red card late on following a challenge on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Ralph Hasenhuttl named an unchanged side to the team that swept aside Norwich at Carrow Road.

The only changes came on the bench, where Shane Long was preferred to Sofiane Boufal and Jake Vokins took Kevin Danso’s spot as a substitute.

Saints started quickly and had a chance to take the lead inside the first minute.

Nathan Redmond played Ryan Bertrand in down the left, with the defender - who was making his 200th appearance for the club - then whipping a delightful centre into the box.

Stuart Armstrong was the recipient, but he was unable to adjust his feet quickly enough to get a shot away at Emiliano Martinez’s goal.

Arsenal continued to find themselves under pressure in the opening exchanges, although they eventually played their way back into the match.

Mikel Arteta’s upped the ante and should have taken the lead in the 11th minute.

Star striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang turned Jack Stephens on the edge of the area, proceeded towards a backtracking McCarthy, only to crash his strike against the underside of the bar.

The pressure didn’t stop there, though, and the Gunners had the ball in the back of the net moments later.

Bukayo Saka’s low cross was turned home by Nketiah but, luckily for Saints, the linesman raised his flag to signal for offside.

The deadlock was eventually broken in the 21st minute when Nketiah took full advantage of McCarthy’s complacency.

Saints’ goalkeeper tried to play out from the back but had his pass intercepted by the Arsenal forward, leaving the youngster an empty net to roll the ball home.

The drinks break followed and allowed Hasenhuttl’s side to take some much-needed fluids on board and the chance to recuperate.

They managed to get themselves back into the game in terms of possession but struggled to create any chances of note.

Arsenal were able to get into a rhythm, clearly very happy to ping the ball around in the basking sun to tire out Saints’ players.

Hasenhuttl’s side did create a half chance just before the break, though, when Danny Ings managed to prod the ball into Armstrong’s path.

Armstrong then played in Bertrand down the left, only the defender to have his shot blocked and sent out for a corner.

Nketiah had a golden opportunity to double Arsenal’s lead on the verge of the break after he was put through by Nicolas Pepe.

However, the 21-year-old fluffed his lines from close range to let Saints off the hook.

Hasenhuttl’s side made it to half time, with the Austrian then making a double substitution to start the second period.

Yan Valery and Michael Obafemi made way for Kyle Walker-Peters, who was making just his second appearance for the club, and Shane Long.

Bertrand and Redmond combined down the left in the 52nd minute before Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg fed it to James Ward-Prowse.

Saints' skipper then had time to set himself up just outside the area but sent his strike blazing over the crossbar.

The home side were caught napping moments later as Martinez launched the ball forward to Aubameyang.

It took a heroic piece of defending from Jan Bednarek to throw himself in front of the striker’s attempt, deflecting it out for a corner.

Saints raised the intensity and created a chance from a throw-in just past the hour mark.

Long managed to nudge off Dani Ceballos before finding Ings inside the area with a lofted cross.

However, the 27-year-old was unable to keep his volley below the crossbar, sending his shot into the empty Chapel Stand.

Redmond was the next Saints player to come close to equalising.

Ward-Prowse’s centre was headed into the winger’s path, giving him time to compose himself, but he lashed his strike against the side netting.

But the home team’s best chance fell to Long.

He got himself the right side of the defender and proceeded to wonderfully control a pass over the top.

The Irishman then unleashed a venomous shot on target that was brilliantly saved by Martinez, with the Arsenal keeper then gathering the ball quickly to deny the lurking Ings an opportunity.

Hojbjerg’s stray back pass put Stephens under all sorts of pressure from Aubameyang which left the defender little choice but to bring the forward down.

This led to a straight red card, with Willock then scoring from the resulting free kick as he leapt on McCarthy’s parry.