Player ratings as Gunners snatch point in stoppage time

Arsenal’s grip on the Premier League title got a little weaker as they were held to a 3-3 draw at home to Southampton on Friday.

Some early errors gifted Southampton two goals inside the first 15 minutes, and although Arsenal fought back admirably and soon responded through Gabriel Martinelli’s volley, they were unable to make their dominance pay and were eventually caught out as Duje Caleta-Car headed home a third midway through the second half.

Martin Odegaard scored in the dying embers to reignite the Emirates atmosphere before Bukayo Saka tapped home even later, but Arsenal could not find the much-needed fourth.

The disaster began as Aaron Ramsdale’s shocking pass landed at the feet of Carlos Alcaraz, who gleefully took the gift and bent the ball into the bottom corner to seal a dream start.

The Gunners did respond well but met a resolute Southampton defence, with Armel Bella-Kotchap doing excellently to ensure a weaving run from Martinelli ultimately ended in nothing.

Down the other end, Southampton shockingly doubled their lead 14 minutes in. Some more excellent pressing saw the Saints recover possession in midfield and Alcaraz’s ball through to Theo Walcott was picture perfect, and the former Arsenal man drilled into the bottom corner.

Oleksandr Zinchenko immediately called an emergency team meeting in the middle of the pitch to determine what was going wrong, with the entire squad gathering to try and figure out a way to stop the bleeding.

Evidently it worked as Martinelli thundered home six minutes later following a Saka cross to reignite the Emirates crowd and spark a Southampton emergency huddle.

Arsenal figured themselves out eventually but Southampton weren’t lying down either, with Ramsdale having to palm away a volley from Alcaraz.

Martin Odegaard fired over and Fabio Vieira bent wide as Arsenal threw everything forward in search of an equaliser. Ben White nearly scored from a corner but Alcaraz cleared off the line, preserving Southampton’s lead at the break.

A change in shape from Southampton saw the hosts sit back completely as Arsenal began their barrage. Saka hit the post on the hour mark, although his effort would not have counted as the ball went out of play earlier in the move.

From out of nowhere, Southampton were celebrating once again. Caleta-Car was free at the back post and could hardly miss from inside the six-yard box, restoring the Saints’ two-goal advantage.

Arsenal were denied an immediate response as Gabriel Jesus skied over from a glorious Martinelli cross, summing up his side’s evening up until this point.

Things soon got incredibly scrappy as Arsenal thundered shots in towards Gavin Bazunu’s goal, but the obscene number of bodies in the box meant a route through was nearly impossible every time, but Odegaard did manage to squeeze a gorgeous effort through and set up a dramatic final few minutes.

As the clock ticked over to 90, Saka tapped home from the middle of the penalty area, and Leandro Trossard nearly won it with a fierce strike from range that struck the bar and crashed over.

Reiss Nelson squeezed a shot wide as Arsenal threw everything and the kitchen sink at Southampton, but one point was all they could snatch.

GK: Aaron Ramsdale – 4/10 – A shocking start to the game which led to an unconvincing showing for the rest of the match.

RB: Ben White – 5/10 – Looked quite nervous on the ball and his narrow positioning, which felt more like an instruction than a decision, limited Arsenal’s play down the right.

CB: Rob Holding – 3/10 – Poor passing and disappointing decisions. Looked nervous from the very first second. Lost his marker for the third goal.

CB: Gabriel Magalhaes – 5/10 – Too safe in possession. Felt like he was under pressure and did not want to take any risks.

LB: Oleksandr Zinchenko – 5/10 – Deserves credit for his team talk which helped Arsenal sort themselves out, but that’s about all he got right.

DM: Thomas Partey – 5/10 – Not always composed but put himself about trying to impact the game at both ends of the pitch. His decision to try win the game from 30 yards was awful.

CM: Martin Odegaard – 6/10 – Played a little deeper than usual to try and help Partey on the defensive end as the Granit Xhaka replacement, but it didn’t really work. A great goal, however.

CM: Fabio Vieira – 4/10 – The weak link in Arsenal’s midfield. Poor positioning left Partey isolated at times.

RW: Bukayo Saka – 7/10 – Took a little while to get involved but quickly reminded Southampton of what he could do with his assist for Martinelli. A smart finish late on.

ST: Gabriel Jesus – 5/10 – Put himself about but found space hard to come by. Failed to make the most of a tricky one-on-one.

LW: Gabriel Martinelli – 8/10 – A sensational showing from the Brazilian. Looked a real menace whenever he was on the ball and took his goal well.


Leandro Trossard (57′ for Vieira) – 6/10

Eddie Nketiah (72′ for Zinchenko) – 5/10

Reiss Nelson (85′ for Martinelli) – N/A


Mikel Arteta – 5/10 – His setup was full of holes which Southampton exploited early on. Relied on Zinchenko’s team talk to turn things around.

GK: Gavin Bazunu – 6/10 – Alert to Arsenal’s threat but made the biggest impact as he wasted what felt like an hour delaying his kicking, all while not receiving a yellow card. The game’s the game.

RB: Kyle Walker-Peters – 5/10 – Really struggled up against Martinelli.

CB: Jan Bednarek – 6/10 – A solid start but was forced off by the medical staff after a really nasty landing late in the first half. Visibly furious at the decision.

CB: Armel Bella-Kotchap – 7/10 – Helped Walker-Peters out against Martinelli at times but spent plenty of time stifling Jesus. Did well to lose his man and create the third goal.

LB: Romain Perraud – 5/10 – Didn’t enjoy his battle up against Saka at all.

RM: Mohamed Elyounoussi – 7/10 – Outstanding work rate to press Arsenal’s defence and help out against the tricky wingers.

CM: James Ward-Prowse – 7/10 – Didn’t get to flex his playmaking skills as he was busy working on the defensive end, but needed just one corner to get the job done.

CM: Romeo Lavia – 7/10 – Effortlessly classy as he neutralised Arsenal’s threat and quickly got things going for his side.

LM: Adam Armstrong – 4/10 – Offered very little in attack and didn’t make up for it in defence. Hung Perraud out to dry against Martinelli.

ST: Theo Walcott – 7/10 – A smart finish against his former side. Incredibly disciplined in the first-half press.

ST: Carlos Alcaraz – 8/10 – Scored one, assisted one and cleared one off the line in a performance which, surprisingly, only lasted 45 minutes.


Duje Caleta-Car (41′ for Bednarek) – 7/10

Lyanco (46′ for Alcaraz) – 6/10

Kamaldeen Sulemana (77′ for Walcott) – 5/10

Paul Onuachu (77′ for Armstrong) – 5/10

Ibrahima Diallo (86′ for Lavia) – N/A


Ruben Selles – 6/10 – A lightning fast start from Southampton which ultimately set the tone for this game, but questions will be asked of the decision to withdraw Alcaraz at half-time. Was berating the Argentine for most of the first half and appeared to take an enormous gamble by taking him off.

Player of the match – Bukayo Saka (Arsenal)