A sloppy second-half display saw Arsenal drop points against Southampton but maintain the top spot on the table.

Mikel Arteta will have been furious with his team’s performance in the second half. Such a display is steadily becoming a theme in the last two games, as the Gunners dropped two valuable points, knowing very well Manchester City are lurking behind.

As usual, Arsenal began the game brightly, with a flurry of chances due to a relentless opening 10 minutes. After some good inter-play between Bukayo Saka and Ben White, the right-back provided the perfect ball to an on-rushing Granit Xhaka to time his shot perfectly into the net.

Arsenal continued their pressure for a few more minutes before slightly hitting the brakes. Southampton gathered momentum in the game but never threatened the Gunners’ defence with anything meaningful. Between that, Martin Odegaard missed a good opportunity, while Gabriel Jesus couldn’t get his bearings right with a one-on-one chance.

The Gunners did start the second half well but allowed Southampton to progress into the game gradually. Soon enough, the Saints had the better share of possession, and the equalising goal arrived. Mohamed Elyounoussi had his work cut out and sent a simple through ball to Stuart Armstrong, who guided it beyond Aaron Ramsdale.

Southampton gathered momentum and put on a defensive display to eliminate any threat Arsenal could conjure up. The Gunners were sloppy in their efforts to find another goal, giving the ball way too easily on multiple occasions. The draw will feel more like a defeat for Arteta in his quest to remain at the top of the table.

Arsenal

Aaron Ramsdale – 6/10

Ramsdale cannot be blamed for the Newcastle equaliser, with the defence culpable in the build-up. Otherwise, he had a quiet game and barely tested for 90 minutes.

Ben White – 7/10

Ben White produced another bright performance, being solid as ever in defence and steadily contributing to the attack. His link-up play with Saka ended up with an assist for Xhaka. He was taken off as Arsenal looked for a hopeful winner.

William Saliba – 5/10

Once again, Saliba showed possible signs of slowing down and much like the Leeds game; there were sloppy moments. Southampton often looked to attack down his side than Gabriel’s, which clearly showed the Frenchman lacked composure today.

Gabriel Magalhaes – 8/10

A colossal display from the Brazilian, who won everything that came his way. While the goal caught him by surprise, Gabriel was a majestic presence at the back, allowing nothing to get past him.

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Takehiro Tomiyasu – 6/10

Defensively Tomiyasu was solid as ever but lacked the cutting edge to progress the attack in the final third. Moreover, he does not offer much support to Martinelli as he would on the right flank for Saka. He then shifted flanks to accommodate Kieran Tierney.

Thomas Partey – 5/10

Partey was brilliant in the first half but produced a contrasting display in the second period. There was sloppiness in his play in the second 45 minutes.

Granit Xhaka – 8/10

Xhaka’s form is hitting its peak, and the midfielder was again on target for the Gunners. Overall, his levels dipped in the second period, and he looked tired after recently playing so much. After working hard all game, he must be gutted for the result.

Martin Odegaard – 7/10

Odegaard was the heartbeat of the Arsenal side in the first half but went off the grid in the second period. However, in hindsight, substituting him may have been the wrong decision by Arteta as the Gunners looked for a probable winner.

Bukayo Saka – 5/10

Saka had a below-par game. Despite being active in the opening minutes, a yellow received for diving put brakes on his performance. The winger was quiet afterwards and barely produced anything notable as Arsenal ended the game in a draw.

Gabriel Jesus – 6/10

Jesus was again a threat in the box but continued to be sloppy in front of the goal. Missed a brilliant one-on-one chance, which proved costly in the context of the result. To his credit, a battle was brewing between him and Duje Caleta-Car, and many decisions went against him.

Gabriel Martinelli – 6/10

Martinelli was a threat with his direct running and overall energy. He was surprisingly withdrawn at a stage when Arsenal were looking for a winner, which baffled many.

Substitute

Fabio Vieira – 3/10

A disappointing cameo from Vieira, who was sloppy throughout his time on the pitch. Arsenal lost many phases of build-up due to the midfielder losing possession, which hurt their chances of finding that elusive second goal.

Kieran Tierney – 4/10

Tierney added a bit of energy and drive on the left flank but showed limitations in his approach.

Eddie Nketiah – 5/10

Nketiah replaced Martinelli and added some grit in the final third. He had a good chance, which deflected for a corner.

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