By Rob Kelly
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang slotted home a well-taken equaliser as we claimed a point against in-form Southampton on Wednesday night.
After falling behind to a goal from Theo Walcott, we battled our way back into the game and had our reward when our captain finished off a good move.
But Gabriel’s red card for a second bookable offence left us holding on, although we nearly claimed an injury-time winner when Rob Holding’s header hit the woodwork.
Seeking a response from his side to arrest their slump in form, Mikel Arteta switched to three at the back and made four changes to his side.
But with confidence drained by recent results, we got off to a tentative start and were made to pay when Walcott raced through and gave the visitors the lead.
We began to show signs of life around the half-hour mark when Nicolas Pepe saw an effort blocked, before Dani Ceballos flashed a shot over the bar.
Bukayo Saka then saw a drilled cross take a deflection and strike Alex McCarthy on the line, before Pepe had a first-time drive saved by the Southampton goalkeeper.
We came out early for the second half, and seven minutes in we were back in level terms as the impressive Saka drove towards goal and found Nketiah, whose neat touch played in Aubameyang and our captain slotted home expertly.
It was our first goal in open play in more than 13 hours of Premier League football, and gave us a much-needed lift at a key time. Game on.
But just as we were building up confidence, Gabriel was sent off for a second bookable offence after taking down Walcott near the halfway line. Once again we were up against it.
The visitors were immediately on the front foot, and we were indebted to the woodwork when Nathan Redmond met Oriol Romeu’s lofted pass.
We had to hang on in there, but nearly had a dramatic winner when Holding rose highest to meet a free kick that hit the bar and ran free.
HOW IT HAPPENED
WHAT IT MEANS
It’s a rapid turnaround as we prepare for a trip to the north west to take on Everton at Goodison Park on Saturday evening.
After that we host Manchester City at Emirates Stadium in the Carabao Cup quarter-finals, before Chelsea travel across London for our Boxing Day clash.
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