Goals: Arsenal – Southampton – Played on 04/21/2023
Arsenal’s quest for their first Premier League title since 2004 has hit a major bump after they were held to a 3-3 draw at home by Southampton in the opening game of the 32nd round on Friday evening. The Gunners were unable to capitalize on their earlier win against Sheffield United and the gap between them and the defending champions Manchester City has now widened to 5 points, with City having two games in hand.
Southampton Shocks Arsenal with an Early Lead
The Saints made a blistering start to the game and took the lead within the first minute through Carlos Alcaraz. Arsenal goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdell’s poor pass gave the ball away to Alcaraz, who finished coolly past the goalkeeper. The Saints continued their onslaught and doubled their lead in the 14th minute when former Arsenal player Theo Walcott fired past Ramsdell from the right-hand side of the penalty area.
Martinelli, Odegaard, and Saka Score for Arsenal
Arsenal, however, managed to claw their way back into the game, thanks to Gabriel Martinelli’s goal in the 20th minute. Bukayo Saka’s cross from the right flank found Martinelli, who unleashed a powerful shot that beat Saints goalkeeper Luis Bazuno.
But Southampton refused to back down and added a third goal in the 66th minute through Doyi Caleta Carr, who headed in Bella Kochab’s cross from a corner kick. Arsenal missed several chances to get back into the game but finally managed to reduce the deficit when Martin Odegaard scored with a low shot in the 88th minute.
In the dying minutes of the game, Arsenal threw everything they had at Southampton and was finally rewarded with a goal in the 90th minute. Saka was the hero, scoring the equalizer after Eddie Nketiah’s shot was blocked by Bazuno.
Southampton Holds On for a Draw
Despite a late surge from Arsenal, Southampton held on for a well-deserved point. Arsenal’s failure to capitalize on their home advantage will no doubt be a major setback for their Premier League title hopes, as Manchester City now has a comfortable cushion at the top of the table.
While Arsenal can still mathematically win the Premier League title, their recent performances have not been convincing enough to inspire confidence in their fans. The Gunners will need to regroup and come up with a more consistent and convincing display if they are to challenge City for the title.