Southampton s Irish goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu (C) saves at the feet of Arsenal s Brazilian striker Gabriel Jesus (L) during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Southampton at the Emirates Stadium in London on April 21, 2023. Photo: AFP
Theo Walcott helped to deal another blow to his former team's title hopes by putting Southampton 2-0 up after just 14 minutes as the hosts dug themselves a hole they couldn’t fully get out of.
Southampton led 3-1 in the 88th minute before goals by Martin Odegaard and Bukayo Saka dragged Arsenal to parity, and Leandro Trossard hit the crossbar in injury time as Arsenal nearly added a winner as well.
But in the end it was a third straight draw for Mikel Arteta's team, which let a 2-0 lead slip away in its previous two games, and a result that handed Manchester City the advantage in the title race.
Arsenal still leads by five points but City has two games in hand and the Gunners need a win against Pep Guardiola's team at the Etihad on Wednesday to stay in control of their own fate.
Despite the comeback, this felt like another two points dropped after Arsenal's own mistakes handed Southampton the early lead.
Goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale gifted Southampton the opening goal after just 27 seconds as he played a pass straight into the path of Carlos Alcaraz, who controlled the ball before beating Ramsdale with a shot from just outside the area.
Another mistake led to the second goal as Arsenal gave the ball away in midfield and Alcaraz played Walcott through on goal. The former Arsenal winger beat Ramsdale with a low shot inside the far post for his 39th goal at the Emirates, having spent 12 years at the London club after joining from Southampton as a teenager.
Arsenal was in a similar position against Bournemouth in March when it trailed 2-0 before winning 3-2 thanks to Reiss Nelson’s injury-time goal. And it seemed like a similar comeback could be on the cards when Saka pulled the ball back from the right for Gabriel Martinelli to volley home from the middle of the area to put the Gunners back in the game.
But Alcaraz added a crucial goal-line clearance to his goal and assist as he headed away the ball to deny Ben White an equalizer in first-half injury time after a corner.
And Southampton then converted a corner of its own in the second half when Armel Bella-Kotchap flicked the ball on toward Duje Caleta-Car, who was left unmarked at the far post to score.
Martin Odegaard produced another goal with a shot from outside the area in the 88th and Saka equalized by converting a rebound in injury time.
Despite eight minutes of added time, Arsenal couldn't find the winner as Trossard's shot bounced off the crossbar.
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