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EPL: Draw Against Southampton Weakens Arsenal’s Title Bid 


(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – Arsenal dropped points for just the second time this season, drawing 1-1 with Southampton at Saint Mary’s. In the process, the Saints picked up just their second home win in eight Premier League games.

Bukayo Saka’s dangerous inswinging cross offered an early warning for Southampton, before Granit Xhaka struck within the opening 15 minutes. The Swiss international followed up on his midweek weak-foot goal with another here, firing in Ben White’s low cross after a neat flick from Saka.

 The Gunners continued to threaten as Gabriel Jesus hit the side netting and Saka’s menacing run ended with a dubious booking for simulation. Saint Mary’s was treated to self-deprecating chants from the home fans, illustrating perfectly the mood within the stadium. Nonetheless, Southampton’s best spell of the half soon followed, but the hosts couldn’t convert their sustained pressure into anything of note. Martin Ødegaard and Jesus combined smartly as the HT whistle approached, yet the Brazilian’s volley was saved comfortably by Gavin Bazunu.

 With the game still in the balance, Arsenal sought to extend their lead through Jesus, who found himself through on goal, but the tenacious Mohamed Elyounoussi got back to produce a timely intervention. Having kept the visitors at arm’s length, Southampton restored parity with just 25 minutes to play, as Elyounousi’s delicate pass allowed Stuart Armstrong to sweep past Aaron Ramsdale. Suddenly, the hosts smelled blood, but a series of attacks ultimately came to nothing.



 Ødegaard thought he had found a winner late on, but Kieran Tierney was adjudged to have carried the ball out of play before it made its way into the back of the net. Both sides continued to push for a second, but were eventually forced to settle for a point, extending Arsenal’s lead at the top of the PL as they made an unlikely bid for their first league title in 19 years. As for Southampton, a point against the current league leaders will feel like a win for Ralph Hasenhüttl, especially given their recent home struggles.

 


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