Arsenal drop points against last-place Southampton
Sports Desk, Apr 21 (EFE).- Arsenal needed a goal in the 90th minute Friday to salvage a 3-3 draw with Southampton, the worst team in the Premier League.
After three consecutive draws, the league leaders have 75 points, 5 more than second-place Manchester City, who have two games in hand on the Gunners.
The result raises the stakes for Wednesday’s showdown in Manchester between the reigning champions and the challengers from London.
Southampton improved to 24 points, but remain 3 points from safety and have played more matches than their rivals in the relegation scrap.
Friday’s contest at London’s Emirates Stadium got off to the worst possible start for the hosts, as a rare mistake by Aaron Ramsdale allowed the Saints to take the lead just 27 seconds after kickoff.
The England goalkeeper’s attempted clearance put the ball on the foot of Southampton’s Carlos Alcaraz and his strike found the top corner of the net.
The shock of the Arsenal supporters deepened in the 14th minute, when former Gunner Theo Walcott made it 2-0 for the Saints with an assist from Alcaraz.
Six minutes later, Gabriel Martinelli gave the home fans something to cheer, halving the deficit with help from Bukayo Saka.
Arsenal, who would end the game with 75 percent possession, flew forward and came close twice in first-half stoppage time. Gabriel Jesus forced a good save from keeper Gavin Bazunu and Alcaraz headed Ben White’s shot clear on the goal line.
After barely touching the ball for the first 20 minutes of the second half, Southampton restored the two-goal lead in the 66th minute, as Duje Caleta-Car beat Ramsdale with a header at the back post off a corner.
It was still 3-1 for the visitors in the 88th minute when Arsenal captain Martin Odegaard narrowed the gap with a strike from the edge of the box.
The equalizer materialized two minutes later. Bazunu stopped an initial effort by Reiss Nelson, but Saka was there to put the rebound in the net.
Leandro Trossard’s potential game-winner hit the post in the 92nd minute and Nelson fired wide in the 95th. EFE msg/dr