Arsenal’s title hopes dealt with a huge blow as a dramatic stalemate at Emirates stadium with Southampton seems not enough to increase their hopes of a Premier League title after decades, with Manchester City in hot pursuit of them. Arteta’s team was staring at a crushing defeat at home to Ruben Selles’s side thanks to superb strikes from Theo Walcott, who had spent more than a decade in Arsenal under maestro Arsene Wenger, Duje Caleta-car and Carlos Alcaraz, who opened the scoring in the first minute.
In the race of the Premier League title at Emirates, Arsenal clearly started as the favorites but their hopes came down crashing after they went 0-2 down in the 15th minute. After Brazilian Martinelli scored before halftime to ensure some fightback mentality, they went 1-3 down before 70 minutes as Croatian Caleta-Car netted against them. But, quite similar to their comebacks against Bournemouth and Aston Villa, they tried to get back to winning ways but were halted at a tie, with Bukayo Saka scoring the equalizer in the dying minutes of the game.
Fans prompted to leave stadium
Owing to a treacherous display from the Gunners, the home fans were dismantled and were prompted to leave the stadium, but the late comeback drama inspired them to race back to their seats, as they had their belief over their favorite team, which has given them lot of inspiring comebacks in the ongoing season.
This was third successive draw of the Gunners as they might face the most difficult match of this season, next weekend, against defending champions Manchester City, with a lead of five points, with the latter having played two games less, with the advantage resting on Pep’s side.
A major blow to title dream
With this stalemate, Arsenal is facing a nightmare situation after playing good for most of the season. Ramsdale, the pillar of Arsenal’s title hope, gifted the first goal to the “Saints” when he hastily passed the ball to 20-year old Alcaraz, risking his team, and the opponent striker slotted past the first goal inside 30 seconds. As Arsenal geared up for a comeback, their former player Walcott netted the second goal of the night, thus crashing Arteta’s army, who were staring at a dangerous defeat, which might strangle their position on the top.
Arsenal put themselves back in the game with Martinelli’s volley, assisted brilliantly by Saka’s cross when the game was 20 minutes old. Southampton went in to the break inching ahead of the Gunners. As Ruben’s team was putting up the job of holding up possession pretty well, it was them again who got ahead, this time through Caleta-Car who headed the ball from the corner.
Arteta then threw in forwards Nketiah, Nelson and Trossard, in order to proceed with the goal onslaught. Jesus missed quite a few chances but it was captain Odegaard’s curling shot which gave them some hope of a grand finish.
“You can’t concede three goals”
Arteta, the Arsenal boss and former legend of the club was visibly tensed after the outcome of the game. He was heard saying, “To have the courage to play the way we have played is incredible. We were on the way back when we conceded another sloppy goal on a set-play, but then at the end we should have won the game. We created enough chances and opportunities, and it didn’t happen, so we are disappointed for sure.
“You can’t concede three goals in this league. If you concede three goals in the way we conceded them, in a really sloppy way, it’s extremely difficult to win matches. We scored three and probably should have scored five or six, but it wasn’t enough to win it.”
Arsenal’s next game is against Pep’s Manchester City, which will potentially define the winners of the League, as City is in hot pursuit of Arsenal, and indeed it will be a difficult to win, owing to the form City is in.