Mikel Arteta is convinced that Arsenal have not lost their chances for the championship.
The Gunners drew the third round in a row – with Southampton (3:3). They will face Manchester City in the next match.
“Obviously, we are unhappy with the result. We’ve made things difficult for ourselves again, but mistakes are part of the game. However, for the way we reacted, I loved my players more than ever.
It’s unbelievable. We started to fight back, but again we conceded a ridiculous goal, and in the end we should have won at all. We created enough chances and now we are disappointed that we didn’t use them.
You can’t concede three goals in the Premier League. Otherwise it will be hard to win.
We were behind in the score, but the players wanted to win more than anyone. Their fighting spirit is visible in the locker room. But, of course, we have to play better defensively.
The situation in the league has not changed. The task has become more difficult, but we just need to do simple things more efficiently, reduce the number of errors. Then we will win.
The game with City will not be like the final, there are still 6 matches ahead. The main thing is to reverse the trend, especially if some players are sometimes in doubt. There are times in football when you make mistakes at the wrong time, but you have to overcome it. I haven’t seen anyone afraid to take responsibility. On the contrary, everyone wants to prove themselves only more,” the Arsenal head coach said on Sky Sports.
They conceded after 28 seconds when keeper Aaron Ramsdale gifted a goal to Carlos Alcaraz and were 2-0 down inside 15 minutes as former Arsenal forward Theo Walcott fired home.
Gabriel Martinelli struck back for the Gunners after 20 minutes and Arsenal were millimetres away from equalising in stoppage time at the end of a pulsating opening half as Ben White’s header was cleared off the line.
Southampton might have wilted under the pressure in the second half but instead restored their two-goal lead in the 66th minute as substitute Duje Caleta-Car headed in at the back post.
The visitors, seeking a first win in seven league games in their desperate battle to extend their 10-year stay in the top flight, appeared to be heading for a vital victory.
But Arsenal captain Martin Odegaard curled a shot past Gavin Bazunu in the 88th minute to throw Arsenal a lifeline before Bukayo Saka scored from close range two minutes later.
With the home fans willing Arsenal to score a winner, just as they did a month ago when coming back from two goals down against Bournemouth, they laid siege to the Southampton goal.
In eight minutes of added time Leandro Trossard was denied by the crossbar and then fellow substitute Reiss Nelson saw a deflected shot go agonisingly wide of the post.
With Southampton camped inside their own penalty area, Gabriel Jesus then went down in the box appealing for a penalty but there was to be no final twist to the unremitting drama.
Both sets of players collapsed to the turf at the final whistle after a draw that did little to help either side in their very different objectives.
Arsenal did increase their lead over reigning champions Manchester City to five points ahead of the potentially decisive clash between the top two at the Etihad next Wednesday, although City have two games in hand.
Southampton, who belied their position with some courageous football, remain bottom with 24 points, three below the safety zone, having played a game more than the sides above them.