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Arsenal’s Title Hopes On Rocks Despite Late Fightback Against Southampton

Arsenal staged an incredible late fightback to rescue a 3-3 draw against Southampton, but the Premier League leaders were still left frustrated by a damaging result that put their title challenge in jeopardy on Friday.

Mikel Arteta’s side escaped with a point despite trailing 3-1 with just two minutes of normal time left at the Emirates Stadium.

Martin Odegaard’s goal sparked Arsenal’s revival and Bukayo Saka snatched the equaliser in stoppage-time.

But, despite the thrilling escape, Arteta finished with his head in hands because the Gunners will travel to second placed Manchester City on Wednesday knowing it is Pep Guardiola’s team who control the destiny of the title.

Arsenal are five points clear of City, but the champions have two games in hand due to their involvement in the FA Cup semi-finals against Sheffield United on Saturday.

If City win or draw against Arsenal and then win their remaining matches, they will be crowned champions no matter what the north Londoners do.

After blowing successive two-goal leads in damaging 2-2 draws against West Ham and Liverpool in their previous two matches, Arsenal at least showed tremendous spirit to reverse the trend.

Arsenal keeper Aaron Ramsdale had handed Southampton’s Carlos Alcaraz the opening goal after just 27 seconds.

In a painful twist for Arsenal fans, it was former Gunners forward Theo Walcott who doubled bottom of the table Southampton’s lead.

Gabriel Martinelli pulled one back for Arsenal before Duje Caleta-Car’s headed Southampton’s third.

Odegaard and Saka ensured Arsenal avoided a first defeat in 10 league games.

But City’s six successive league wins put Arsenal under intense pressure and Arteta’s young team are in danger of crumbling unless they can win their do-or-die showdown at the Etihad Stadium.

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Segun Akinlabi

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