Premier League leaders Arsenal scored two late goals as they fought back to draw a thriller at home to struggling Southampton.
It was a third draw in a row for the Gunners and Manchester City are now five points behind but with two games in hand – and host the Gunners at Etihad Stadium next Wednesday.
Saints led after just 28 seconds, when Carlos Alcaraz capitalised on an Aaron Ramsdale error to score.
Arsenal have now conceded the two fastest goals at home in the Premier League this season, the other being Philip Billing’s strike after 9.11 seconds for Bournemouth.
Theo Walcott doubled the Southampton lead against his former club, before Gabriel Martinelli pulled one back for the league leaders.
Duje Caleta-Car restored the Southampton two-goal advantage and appeared to seal the three points – only for Martin Odegaard and Bukayo Saka to score in the 88th and 90th minutes to earn a draw.
It follows draws away to Liverpool and West Ham United for Mikel Arteta’s side in their previous two games.
Southampton remain bottom of the table and three points from safety, having now failed to win in seven league games.
Arsenal’s late show after nightmare opening
After being unable to maintain a two-goal lead in their previous two Premier League games, Arsenal found the shoe on the other foot as they went 2-0 down inside 12 minutes in front of a shocked Emirates Stadium.
While Arsenal have been affected badly by absences – Granit Xhaka missed this match through illness, while key defender William Saliba remains out injured – this draw, more than those against Liverpool and West Ham, indicated the pressure may be getting to them in the title race.
Ramsdale had clearly not learned from Manchester United keeper David de Gea’s error the day before.
Like the Spaniard, he attempted a short pass to the edge of his area, but Alcaraz pounced and fired home across the Arsenal keeper.
If Arsenal were stunned then, they were really rattled soon after when Alcaraz’s through ball was picked up by Walcott, who ghosted away from Gabriel and coolly finished, before refusing to celebrate against his old team.
Only then did the Gunners rouse themselves as Oleksandr Zinchenko, on the night he became the first Ukrainian to make 100 Premier League appearances, called an inquest among all 11 Arsenal players in the centre circle.
And it had an impact, as Martinelli volleyed home on 18 minutes, before Arsenal went on to dominate possession and chances as Southampton tried to kill time whenever they could.
But when Caleta-Car escaped his marker at the far post to head home a corner in the 66th minute, it left Arsenal’s title bid in serious trouble.
Captain Odegaard’s fine left-footed strike and Saka finishing on the rebound from a Reiss Nelson shot amid a grandstand finish at least saved a point.
Bright spark Alcaraz hooked at half-time
Nathan Jones’ spell in charge of Southampton earlier this season was ill-fated to say the least – but if he did one thing right, it was the signing of Alcaraz.
The 20-year-old Argentine scored the winner against Leicester last month, took advantage of Ramsdale’s early mistake here, and set up the second Southampton goal.
Alcaraz was a live-wire throughout the first half, even proving the hero on his own goal line as he cleared a Ben White header in stoppage time.
His skill, effort and energy visibly lifted his team mates – so it was a major surprise to see him subbed at half-time as Ruben Selles brought on defender Lyanco to play five at the back.
Southampton clearly only had interest in defending their three points in the second half – Gabriel Jesus very visibly counting on his fingers for the referee, the number of seconds Gavin Bazunu took on the ball.
However they could not quite hold on for a first away league win at Arsenal since 1987. One can only wonder what might have been had Alcaraz remained on the pitch.
- 35ZinchenkoBooked at 45minsSubstituted forNketiahat 72′minutes
- 21Fábio VieiraSubstituted forTrossardat 57′minutes
- 9Gabriel Jesus
- 11MartinelliSubstituted forNelsonat 85′minutes
- 10Smith Rowe
- 2Walker-PetersBooked at 42mins
- 35BednarekSubstituted forCaleta-Carat 41′minutes
- 15PerraudBooked at 32mins
- 45LaviaSubstituted forDialloat 86′minutesBooked at 90mins
- 9A ArmstrongBooked at 76minsSubstituted forOnuachuat 77′minutes
- 32WalcottSubstituted forSulemanaat 77′minutes
- 26AlcarazBooked at 27minsSubstituted forLyancoat 45′minutes
- 17S Armstrong
- Simon Hooper
Match ends, Arsenal 3, Southampton 3.
Second Half ends, Arsenal 3, Southampton 3.
Attempt missed. Thomas Partey (Arsenal) right footed shot from outside the box is too high. Assisted by Gabriel Magalhães.
Foul by Reiss Nelson (Arsenal).
Mohamed Elyounoussi (Southampton) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Corner, Arsenal. Conceded by James Ward-Prowse.
Attempt blocked. Reiss Nelson (Arsenal) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.
Ibrahima Diallo (Southampton) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Gabriel Jesus (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Ibrahima Diallo (Southampton).
Delay over. They are ready to continue.
Delay in match because of an injury James Ward-Prowse (Southampton).
Leandro Trossard (Arsenal) hits the bar with a left footed shot from outside the box. Assisted by Reiss Nelson.
Goal! Arsenal 3, Southampton 3. Bukayo Saka (Arsenal) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner.
Attempt saved. Reiss Nelson (Arsenal) right footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Gabriel Jesus.
Attempt blocked. Gabriel Jesus (Arsenal) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Eddie Nketiah.
Offside, Southampton. Gavin Bazunu tries a through ball, but Paul Onuachu is caught offside.
Goal! Arsenal 2, Southampton 3. Martin Ødegaard (Arsenal) left footed shot from outside the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Ben White.
Rob Holding (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Paul Onuachu (Southampton).
Player of the match
Squad number26Player nameAlcaraz
Squad number6Player nameCaleta-Car
Squad number4Player nameLyanco
Squad number32Player nameWalcott
Squad number45Player nameLavia
Squad number37Player nameBella-Kotchap
Squad number15Player namePerraud
Squad number20Player nameSulemana
Squad number2Player nameWalker-Peters
Squad number12Player nameOnuachu
Squad number31Player nameBazunu
Squad number24Player nameElyounoussi
Squad number35Player nameBednarek
Squad number9Player nameA Armstrong
Squad number27Player nameDiallo
Squad number8Player nameWard-Prowse
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