Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka shoots during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Southampton at the Emirates Stadium on April 21, 2023 in London, England | Image Credit: Getty Images
Arsenal grabbed two late goals to salvage a point in a pulsating 3-3 home draw at bottom club Southampton but their Premier League title hopes suffered another blow on Friday night with fatigue at north London.
For most of a gut-wrenching encounter, it appeared that Arsenal would suffer the hammer in their bid to stop Manchester City and win the league for the first time since 2004.
They conceded after 28 seconds when keeper Aaron Ramsdale gifted Carlos Alcaraz a goal and were 2-0 down on 15 minutes when former Arsenal forward Theo Walcott fired over.
Gabriel Martinelli hit back for the Gunners after 20 minutes and Arsenal were millimeters away from equalizing in stoppage time at the end of a pulsating opening half as Ben White’s header was cleared off the line.
Southampton could have wilted under home pressure in the second half but instead restored their two-goal lead in the 66th minute as substitute Duje Caleta-Car slotted in at the back post.
The visitors, who are seeking a first win in seven league games in their desperate fight to extend their 10-year stay in the top flight, look set for a crucial victory.
But Arsenal captain Martin Odegaard curled a shot past Gavin Bazunu in the 88th minute to throw Arsenal a lifeline before Bukayo Saka scored from close range two minutes later.
With the home fans wanting Arsenal to score a win, as they did a month ago when coming back from two goals down against Bournemouth, they besieged the Southampton goal.
Eight minutes into added time Leandro Trossard was denied by the crossbar and fellow substitute Reiss Nelson then saw a deflected shot hurtling wide of the post.
With Southampton camped inside their own penalty area, Gabriel Jesus went down in the box to appeal for a penalty but there was no final twist to the relentless drama.
Both sets of players fell to the turf at the final whistle after a draw that did little to help either side in their respective goals.
Arsenal have extended their lead over reigning champions Manchester City to five points ahead of a potentially decisive clash between the top two at The Etihad next Wednesday, although City have two games in hand.
Southampton, who belied their position with some bold football, remain bottom with 24 points, three below the safety zone having played a game more than the sides above them.