Arsenal star Gabriel Jesus continued his Premier League scoring drought and Takehiro Tomiyasu failed to convince at left-back as a spirited Southampton nicked a 1-1 draw on Sunday afternoon. Granit Xhaka fired the visitors into the lead, converting Ben White’s cross on the 11th minute. But the Saints snatched a share of the spoils when Stuart Armstrong converted from close range in the second half. Although they remain top of the table, the Gunners will leave the south coast deflated as Express Sport takes you through five things we learned from the encounter…
Gabriel Jesus lull continues
There could be few complaints about Arsenal’s creators during the first half with Bukayo Saka, Gabriel Martinelli and Martin Odegaard all causing problems. Jesus has perhaps the hardest task of all, however, and putting the ball in the net has proven particularly difficult of late.
The Brazilian’s last goal came seven games ago, against Tottenham on October 1. Chances came Jesus’ way against Southampton but the stars never aligned for a much-needed goal to reboot the confidence with which he started the campaign.
Tomiyasu experiment may be over
For the third Premier League game running, Mikel Arteta opted for Tomiyasu at left-back. The Japan international is capable of playing across the backline, starting his Gunners career on the right before switching flanks to cope with Oleksandr Zinchenko’s injury absence.
Tomiyasu shut out Mohamed Salah earlier this month but some have been surprised to see Arteta persist with him on the left with Kieran Tierney back to full fitness and waiting in the wings. A lacklustre performance on Sunday saw the 23-year-old hauled off and replaced by the Scot, suggesting that his run in the side may be over for now.
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Xhaka redemption arc hits new high
Although the result didn’t go Arsenal’s way, Granit Xhaka’s days as the villain at the Emirates were put even further behind him. A stalwart under Arteta this season, the Swiss was beaming with confidence as the away fans sang his name from the terraces early on.
Roaming forward in an adventurous midfield role, Xhaka was heavily involved in the game as he blasted a powerful shot at Gavin Bazunu and set up a chance for Odegaard. He was then rewarded for his positive start as he lashed in from Ben White’s low cross to give the visitors the lead.
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Pep Guardiola may be proven right
Guardiola raised eyebrows last week by claiming that Liverpool remain Manchester City’s fiercest title rivals, despite Arsenal’s dazzling early-season form. Dropped points against Southampton doesn’t see the Gunners fall from the top of the league table, but it does add clout to Guardiola’s theory.
Spending large spells as the better side at St Mary’s, Arteta will need no reminding that such games put title contenders to the test – one that his side failed on this occasion.
Southampton find magic moment
The Saints failed to find a cutting edge for most of the game with Adam Armstrong struggling as the attacking spearhead. Impressive footwork and tenacity from Joe Aribo gave them hope, but it was one moment of magic in a positive second-half that sealed a point.
As Mohamed Elyounoussi ghosted in from the right-hand side, Stuart Armstrong made an intelligent run, took the ball in his stride and slid the ball under Aaron Ramsdale to finish off a slick move that will have left Ralph Hasenhuttl delighted.