By Arsenal correspondent Tony Hughes

Arsene Wenger admitted Arsenal deserved to be beaten by Southampton as they suffered their biggest defeat of the season.

The Gunners were thrashed 4-0 at St Mary’s Stadium as they wasted the opportunity to climb to the Premier League summit.

Arsenal had been two points behind leaders Leicester at kick-off, after Claudio Ranieri’s team had lost 1-0 to Liverpool earlier on Boxing Day.

But Wenger’s side were convincingly overwhelmed as a goal-of-the-season contender from right-back Cuco Martina was followed by a second-half double from Shane Long and a Jose Fonte header.

Speaking after the match to BT Sport, Wenger admitted Arsenal deserved to lose to the Saints.

“They were sharper than us,” the manager said. “It’s a disappointing result. I have to say, ‘well done’ to Southampton.

“I have said many times that it is down to consistency (winning the league), to fight in every single game. Today it was a very, very physical game. The fact that we did not score the first goal made it a difficult game.”

Arsenal remain on 36 points in the Premier League table, two adrift of Leicester, who have 38 points.