scored two late goals to save their title hopes but dropped more points in a thrilling 3-3 draw with bottom-placed .
Arsenal’s title challenge appeared to be imploding when Duje Caleta-Car put Southampton 3-1 up midway through the second half.
Southampton’s third goal had Arsenal fans heading for the exit but Martin Odegaard and Bukayo Saka scored late on to rescue a point for the Gunners, who are chasing a first league title since 2004.
Having twice led by two goals at the Emirates Stadium, relegation-battlers Southampton will also have feelings of frustration and regret leaving north London.
Arsenal are now five points clear of defending champions Manchester City – who they face next – but Pep Guardiola’s side have two games in hand and a superior goal difference.
While Arsenal have dropped points in their last three games, Southampton remain bottom of the table – three points from safety – despite an encouraging display at the Emirates.
Arsenal, so impressive for most of the season, have begun to show some nerves in recent weeks and their defensive struggles continued as Southampton took the lead inside 30 seconds.
Aaron Ramsdale’s wayward pass was intercepted by Carlos Alcaraz and the Southampton forward rifled a shot past the former Sheffield United goalkeeper.
The Emirates Stadium was then left stunned as former Gunner Theo Walcott doubled Southampton’s lead on 14 minutes following a through ball from Alcaraz.
There was no celebration from Walcott, who spent over a decade at Arsenal, but the away end went wild as Saints sensed a chance to climb off the bottom of the table and boost their survival hopes.
Southampton’s two-goal cushion only lasted for six minutes, however, as the lively Saka found Gabriel Martinelli with a cross and the Brazilian volleyed home emphatically.
Arsenal were buoyed by the goal but still looked vulnerable defensively, with Ramsdale forced to make a double-save to deny Mohamed Elyounoussi’s header and a shot from Alcaraz.
The hosts came close to equalising before the interval – Gabriel Jesus was denied by Saints goalkeeper Gavin Bazunu and Ben White’s looping header was cleared off the line by Alcaraz, who was surprising subbed off at half-time.
The tactical change did not immediately reap rewards for Southampton, who had to cope with wave after wave of Arsenal attacks.
But the league leaders struggled to threaten Bazunu’s goal and were left with a mountain to climb when Caleta-Car headed in Southampton’s third from a rare attack.
Arsenal’s front-three have dazzled this season but appeared to be running out of ideas, Jesus poking over to the frustration of Mikel Arteta.
Southampton’s fans even began taunting the home crowd, though their excitement quickly turned into anxiety when Odegaard curled in a long-range effort on 88 minutes.
The goal revitalised a quiet Emirates and Arsenal scored again with virtually their next attack, Saka in the right place at the right time after Bazunu superbly kept out Reiss Nelson’s shot.
All the momentum was with Arsenal and Leandro Trossard struck the bar before a Reiss Nelson shot deflected just wide of the post.
The Gunners kept pressing for a dramatic winner deep into injury-time and Jesus had a penalty appeal waved away before the final whistle was blown and both teams reflected on an entertaining but ultimately disappointing result.
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