Stuart Armstrong’s equalizer forced the Premier League leaders to settle for a 1-1 draw against Southampton on Sunday, marking only the second occasion this year that Arsenal has lost a game.
Granit Xhaka’s first-half goal at St Mary’s gave Mikel Arteta’s team the lead.
After the break, though, Armstrong equalized, and Arsenal paid the price for missing multiple opportunities to enhance their lead.
The Gunners had only lost one of their previous 10 league games this season—at Manchester United—and it was a rare lapse on their part.
With both teams having played 11 games, Arsenal’s eight-game winning streak in all competitions has come to an end, putting them two points ahead of second-place Manchester City.
While Arteta will be angry that Swiss midfielder Xhaka gave Arsenal the advantage, it is a testament to his team’s surprise climb this season that failing to get all three points still qualifies as a disappointment.
As they pursue their first championship since 2004, Arsenal has already shown they are a force to be reckoned with, and they got off to a good start on the south coast.
Gabriel Martinelli caused mayhem in the Southampton defense with a straight run before Bukayo Saka’s cross was just inches away from Gabriel Magalhaes, and Xhaka’s powerful effort was stopped by Gavin Bazunu.
A few seconds later, Xhaka changed roles, setting up Martin Odegaard for a low shot from the edge of the box that whistled wide.
In the eleventh minute, with Arsenal in total command, Xhaka scored the goal that pressure had earned.
Saka’s backheel set Ben White off down the right side, and his cross found Xhaka, who slammed a blazing shot from 12 yards into the roof of the net.
When Xhaka scored, Arsenal had won every game during a streak of 17 matches without a loss.
After receiving a feed from Odegaard, Gabriel Jesus fired into the side netting just inches from increasing Arsenal’s advantage.
Just before halftime, Bazunu caused Jesus frustration once more as the Brazilian reached Odegaard’s lofted pass for a volley that the Saints goalkeeper blocked from a direct shot.
Jesus was halted in his tracks by Mohamed Elyounoussi’s last-ditch block after the Arsenal striker had raced clear on goal.
Despite controlling the field, Arteta’s squad was dealt a sucker punch in the 65th minute because they were unable to land the decisive strike.
Armstrong timed his run perfectly to slam a cool finish past Aaron Ramsdale after Elyounoussi slid a deft reverse ball through the heart of the Arsenal defense.
Joe Aribo challenged Ramsdale with a low shot as Southampton unexpectedly gained the upper hand, and Romain Perraud swiveled to miss wide.
Odegaard believed he had scored the game-winning goal in the 79th minute after converting a cross from Kieran Tierney, but the goal was reversed because the ball had left the field of play.