Arsenal are going to have to win it the hard way! Winners & losers as Southampton draw hands Man City the advantage in Premier League title race

Arsenal Southampton Premier League split
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Arsenal handed Man City the advantage in the Premier League title race by drawing 3-3 with lowly Southampton on Friday

Advantage Manchester City! If Arsenal are going to win the Premier League title this season, they are now going to have to do it the hard way.

Mikel Arteta’s side may have shown good spirit to fight back with two late goals to salvage a 3-3 draw with Southampton on Friday night, but a draw against the Premier League’s bottom club simply won’t cut it at this stage of the season.

After dropping points against Liverpool and West Ham, Arsenal had to beat the Saints, especially with Wednesday night’s to Manchester City looming large.

But a chaotic display saw them needing goals from Martin Odegaard and Bukayo Saka in the last couple of minutes to avoid what would have been an embarrassing home defeat.

An awful error from Aaron Ramsdale gifted Carlos Alcaraz the opening goal inside 30 seconds and Theo Walcott made it 2-0 soon after. Gabriel Martinelli reduced the deficit, but a Duje Caleta-Car header midway through the second half restored Southampton’s two goal advantage.

Odegaard and Saka’s late strikes drew Arsenal level in the closing stages before Leandro Trossard struck the bar in stoppage time as the hosts went in search of what would have been a dramatic winner.

GOAL breaks down the winners & losers from Emirates Stadium...

  1. WINNER: Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli
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    WINNER: Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli

    This has to be given jointly given what Arsenal’s two young wingers achieved against Southampton.

    When Saka got down the right and crossed for Martinelli to volley home in the first half, the duo became only the second pair of team-mates to hit 20+ goal involvements in a Premier League campaign.

    Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney are the only pair to have done it previously, way back in the 2006/07 season.

    It’s a superb achievement from Arsenal’s two exceptional young wingers in a season that has seen both of them set new heights in terms of consistency and output in the final third.

  2. LOSER: Fabio Vieira
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    LOSER: Fabio Vieira

    When Granit Xhaka fell ill while at the team hotel ahead of the game, Mikel Arteta had to decide how to replace the Switzerland international.

    He opted for Fabio Vieira, bringing the Portuguese playmaker in as his left-sided No.8 alongside Martin Odegaard.

    Arteta had other options, he could have gone for Leandro Trossard, although the Belgium star is far more suited to a more attacking role, or he could have gone with the lesser-used Emile Smith Rowe.

    But Vieira got the nod despite some disappointing recent showings and it was not a decision that paid off.

    The summer signing from Porto again just looked lightweight and was unable to make any real impact on the game before was replaced by Trossard after just 56 minutes.

  3. WINNER: Romeo Lavia
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    WINNER: Romeo Lavia

    You can certainly see why so many clubs are keen on the 19-year-old midfielder.

    Amid all the chaos of this bizarre contest, Lavia was the one real calm head at times, especially in the first half when he was exceptional in the heart of the midfield.

    The Belgium international was composed on the ball, drove Southampton forward when he could and frustrated Arsenal with his ability to turn over possession.

    Most expected Lavia to move on this summer, whether the Saints survive or not. On this evidence you can see why.

  4. LOSER: Thomas Partey
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    LOSER: Thomas Partey

    These are the games where Arsenal need their star players to perform, but instead most of them were well off the pace - with Thomas Partey the worst of the lot.

    The midfielder, so often the driving force of this young team, had a shocking night, producing arguably his worst performance of the season.

    Granit Xhaka’s absence could have been a reason why as Partey was certainly left isolated in the heart of midfield at times.

    But a player of his experience and quality should have been able to cope far better than he did.

    His touch and decision making was poor all night, with his wild late shot from distance which flew into the crowd the perfect example of that.

    It was a night to forget for Partey and for Arsenal.

  5. WINNER: Pep Guardiola
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    WINNER: Pep Guardiola

    Wherever he was watching this game tonight, Pep Guardiola must have been smiling.

    The Manchester City manager will have had his feet up watching the chaos unfold at the Emirates as his side seized full control of the title race without even having to kick a ball.

    Guardiola will know that Arsenal could wrestle the advantage back on Wednesday night with a victory in Manchester, but he will be licking his lips at the prospect of Erling Haaland and Kevin De Bruyne going up against this nervy Gunners defence.

  6. LOSER: Aaron Ramsdale
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    LOSER: Aaron Ramsdale

    There’s not much you can really say about Ramsdale’s error after just 25 seconds that gifted Southampton their opening goal.

    It was just a horror moment for the Arsenal keeper, who woefully under hit his attempted pass to Martin Odegaard, allowing Alcaraz to steal possession just outside the box.

    There’s an argument that Ramsdale should have then saved Alcaraz’s resulting shot. He got a good hand on the ball, but wasn’t able to push it around the post.

    It was a dreadful mistake, just at a time when Arsenal were looking to start the game calmly and it set the tone for a defensive display that was frantic throughout.