Southampton missed the chance to go top of the Premier League as 10-man Arsenal held out for a 1-1 draw to avoid another damaging defeat before Liverpool host Tottenham in a top-of-the-table clash on Wednesday.
Defeat would have seen Arsenal lose five consecutive home league games for the first time in the club’s history as the pressure mounts on manager Mikel Arteta.
The Gunners could not have got off to a worse start as Theo Walcott opened the scoring on his return to the Emirates, where he spent 12 years as a player, with a fine chipped finish over Bernd Leno from Che Adams’s pass.
The points are shared in north London#ARSSOU 🔴 1-1 🔵 (FT)
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) December 16, 2020
Southampton bossed the first-half but failed to build on their lead and were made to pay soon after the break as Arsenal scored just a third goal in their last nine league games and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s first from open play since the first day of the season.
Bukayo Saka’s burst opened up the Saints defence and when Eddie Nketiah freed Aubameyang inside the area, the Arsenal captain showed he has not lost his touch in front of goal with an excellent finish into the far corner.
Arsenal’s joy was short-lived as they again found themselves a man down as Gabriel Magalhaes picked up two quick bookings.
However, Arteta will have been heartened by the resolve his side showed despite being pinned back for the final half hour and they could even have stolen all three points when Rob Holding’s header came back off the bar in stoppage time.
A draw leaves Southampton still a point off leaders Tottenham and Liverpool in third, but Ralph Hassenhuttl’s men edged above Leicester into third on goals scored.