Alexis Sanchez scored a late winner as Arsenal overcame a spirited Southampton to claim a 1-0 Barclays Premier League victory.
It looked like the Gunners were heading for a draw at the Emirates Stadium as Fraser Forster put on a goalkeeping masterclass to sensationally deny Danny Welbeck twice and Olivier Giroud late on.
Southampton had chances of their own, though neither Graziano Pelle or Shane Long could find the target, but Forster was the star of the show despite being on the losing side.
However, Sanchez popped up in the last two minutes from close range to net his ninth Barclays Premier League goal of the season.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger chose to start former Southampton man Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain instead of fit-again Giroud as Sanchez moved into the central role up front.
Wenger's opposite number Ronald Koeman was without the injured Morgan Schneiderlin, so Jack Cork was one of two changes.
Southampton won at the Emirates in the Capital One Cup earlier this season and almost shocked their hosts again after 14 minutes when Pelle played a neat one-two with Steven Davis, whose cushioned header found the Italian in the area but he blasted over.
At the other end, Oxlade-Chamberlain forced a fine low save from Forster after pinching the loose ball in the area and finding space to fire when surrounded by opposing defenders.
Oxlade-Chamberlain was at the heart of Arsenal's best moves and it was his low cross that found its way to Welbeck after 35 minutes, but the striker had to improvise with a backheel and could only find the side netting from close range.
Southampton were grateful to Forster in first-half injury time as he showed great reflexes to tip over a Welbeck header and keep his side on level terms.
Stung into action, Southampton started the second half impressively, with Pelle forcing a vital block from Laurent Koscielny and a lightning break after 52 minutes saw Victor Wanyama feed Long, who could only fire high and wide.
Giroud was introduced to provide some much-needed impetus and he got on the end of a Sanchez pass after 66 minutes to unleash a fierce drive that Forster palmed away.
The Southampton stopper was at it again a minute later as Giroud's neat touch found Welbeck in the box and his shot was somehow clawed away along with the rebound from the France striker.
Forster produced an even better save to tip away a Giroud header late on but, just as it looked like the points would be shared, Aaron Ramsey found space to cross and Sanchez was in the right place to sweep home the winner in the 89th minute.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger: "Today was the third game in seven days and we had to dig deep and be patient against a very good, well organised team.
"There was something missing in our fluency but it's important that we can win when it's not perfect.
"We gave very few chances away and we created more, so we deserved the win."
Southampton manager Ronald Koeman: "We had a good positive reaction after last Sunday, a good first half, good ball possession, a good chance off Pelle.
"After an hour it was more difficult, Arsenal were pressing more but the difference was 11 v 10.
“We were unlucky to get a player injured after making all of our substitutions, you know they will create chances and in the last few minutes they made it 1-0. Forster had a very good game today."
|13 Dec 2014||v Newcastle (H)|
|06 Dec 2014||v Stoke (A)|
|21 Dec 2014||v Liverpool (A)|
|26 Dec 2014||v QPR (H)|
|28 Dec 2014||v West Ham (A)|
|01 Jan 2015||v Southampton (A)|