Danny Welbeck's return to form after injuries 'exceptional' - Arsene Wenger

LONDON -- Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger hailed the "exceptional" Danny Welbeck for getting back to his best after his many injury problems, as the forward netted a brace in Sunday's 3-2 win over Southampton.

Welbeck headed home the winner in the 81st minute to settle an eventful game at the Emirates, having previously made it 2-1 with a deflected shot in the first half.

The brace was his second in his last three starts after struggling for form for most of the season -- his first full campaign in three years after two long-term knee injuries.

"Danny Welbeck has been getting sharper because he's been out for a while and now he gets slowly back to his best," Wenger said. "I'm personally very happy and pleased for him, because this guy has gone through some difficult times. And I've seen him behave when it was really hard and tough, so he deserves everything he gets.

"He had every reason to feel sorry for himself and to think this mountain is too big to climb. Because he had the right knee, the left knee, and a year out every time and [having to] work hard unnoticed by everybody.

"People were questioning, will he come back or not? It's the most difficult test for any sportsperson. I believe what he has done is exceptional."

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang also scored for Arsenal to cancel out an early opener by Shane Long, while Welbeck's winner came shortly after Charlie Austin had equalised for the visitors.

In a lively finish, both sides then finished with 10 men after Jack Stephens and Mohamed Elneny were sent off. Stephens was first shown a red card for pushing Jack Wilshere to the ground in retaliation for the Arsenal midfielder tugging at his shirt, and Elneny was then dismissed as well for pushing Cedric as tempers flared.

Wenger said Arsenal would consider appealing Elneny's red card but that he needed to review video of the incident before making a decision.

"I was a bit surprised that he was sent off, because he is a fair player, he's not an aggressive player," Wenger said. "Has he touched the player in his face or not, I don't know. If he has done it I think it's accidental.

"We'll look at it tomorrow and see if we have ground for an appeal or not, I don't know yet."

Southampton manager Mark Hughes, though, said he only had one complaint about the red cards.

"I think there should have been another one. I think Wilshere should have been sent off," Hughes said.

The win was Arsenal's sixth straight in all competitions and came despite Arsenal resting a number of his regular starters ahead of Thursday's second leg of their Europa League quarterfinal against CSKA Moscow.

Wenger also praised his team's spirit in fighting back from two setbacks in the game, which again was played in front of thousands of empty seats at the Emirates.

"Southampton were leading 1-0, they came back to 2-2, and every time I believe we have shown great spirit and have won the game, even if at the end of the game it was a bit hectic," he said. "I must say, when you come to the Emirates you see football and you see goals. And that's what you want to give to our fans."