Football

Arsenal’s Jesus, Saka 6/10 as league leaders drop points in draw against Southampton

Arsenal’s Jesus, Saka 6/10 as league leaders drop points in draw against Southampton
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Arsenal missed the chance to go four points clear at the top of the Premier League as the wasteful Gunners were held to a 1-1 draw by Southampton.

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The visitors started well and Granit Xhaka’s emphatic finish saw Arteta’s men lead at the interval despite some wasteful finishing.

But, as was the case at Leeds United a week ago, the leaders ran out of steam in the second half and they were punished by Stuart Armstrong who latched onto Mohamed Elyounoussi’s pass and rolled the ball past Aaron Ramsdale to secure his side a share of the spoilers.

Positives

Another valuable point in the bag for Arsenal who were superior in the first half and had to show plenty of defensive resilience in the second. The Gunners remain top of the table, while goals continue to come from throughout the team.

Negatives

Arteta will be disappointed at how his side allowed Southampton back into the game. His side were outworked and outfought in a passive second-half display and they were made to pay for their wastefulness.

Manager rating out of 10

Mikel Arteta, 6 — The Arsenal boss is the perfect example of what you can achieve when you give a good manager time, but his side fizzled out at St Mary’s and Arteta’s substitutes failed to make the same impact that their opponent’s did

Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best, players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK Aaron Ramsdale, 7 – The Arsenal goalkeeper did well to manage a series of deep, in-swinging Ward-Prowse corners but he’ll be frustrated that a defensive lapse in concentration cost him his clean sheet. DF Ben White, 7 – Showed his quality on the ball when he played a neat one-two with Saka before clipping in an excellent cross that Xhaka gratefully converted. Read the danger well at the other end to nip a couple of risky situations in the bud.

DF Ben White, 7 – Showed his quality on the ball when he played a neat one-two with Saka before clipping in an excellent cross that Xhaka gratefully converted. Read the danger well at the other end to nip a couple of risky situations in the bud.

DF William Saliba, 6 – Rescued a couple of times by Gabriel at the beginning of the second half after a complacent pass our from the back was seized upon by Adam Armstrong. He was otherwise solid, but you can’t be doing that at 1-0 no matter how good you’ve been.

DF Gabriel, 8 – If he was a couple of inches taller the central defender would have had the visitors in front inside five minutes as Saka’s inviting delivery just about evaded his head. Reacted swiftly to tidy up after a mistake from Saliba and won everything. Colossal.

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DF Takehiro Tomiyasu, 5 – Didn’t really look comfortable operating on the left and allowed Elynoussi to cut inside and pick out Stuart Armstrong all too easily as Southampton hit Arsenal with the sucker punch.

MF Thomas Partey, 5 – Made it difficult for James Ward-Prowse to impact the game in the opening 45 minutes and picked out Odegaard in space after stealing possession. He was sloppy after the interval and failed to nullify the encouraged hosts in the same way.

MF Granite Xhaka, 8 – Another positive performance and another goal for the revitalized midfielder who smashed an early effort straight at the legs of Bazunu before unleashing a thunderbolt to break the deadlock.

MF Bukayo Saka, 6 – A glistening campaign so far for the youngster who made his 53rd successive league start. He started brightly and flicked the ball around the corner for Ben White, whose delivery was crashed home by Xhaka, but was (harshly) booked for diving.

MF Martin Odegaard, 6 – Stroked an inviting opportunity just wide from the edge of the box, but he should have hit the target. Responded well and showed his class when he neatly threaded the ball through to Jesus and brilliantly snuffed out a counter-attack on halfway.

MF Gabriel Martinelli, 6 – Split Saints’ defense wide open when he slotted in Jesus but the flag went up. Wasn’t far off doubling his side’s advantage with mesmerizing dart across the face of goal, but his effort deflected just wide.

FW Gabriel Jesus, 6 – Dragged defenders all over the place with his excellent movement but his finishing was wasteful and that proved costly. The forward saw a couple of efforts well saved by Bazunu and thrashed another opportunity into the side netting from a tight angle.

Substitutes

MF Fabio Vieira, (Odegaard, 83″) N/R – Replaced a weary-looking Odegaard in the 83rd minute. Worked hard but couldn’t emulate the Norwegian’s quality.

DF Kieran Tierney, (Ben White, 72″) N/R – Very nearly changed the game. Had the traveling faithful screaming for a penalty as he looked to nod back across goal, but nothing doing according to the officials. Set up Odegaard to hammer home but the ball had drifted just out.

FW Eddie Nketiah, (Martinelli, 71″) N/R – Forced a corner when his long-range strike was tipped wide as Arsenal rallied late on, but he was pushed around a little bit by the Southampton defenders.

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