Granit Xhaka’s first-half goal was cancelled out in the second half as we had to settle for a draw on the south coast.
The midfielder netted his fourth goal of the season, sweetly connecting with Ben White’s cross, to give us an early lead.
We failed to build on the advantage though, and the home side found a leveller through Stuart Armstrong in the second half.
It ended our eight-game winning run and was also our first draw in the Premier League for 28 matches.
Xhaka at it again
We started on the front foot, playing with the confidence of a side with eight consecutive wins coming into the fixture.
Gabriel Jesus forced the first save inside a couple of minutes, though was flagged offside anyway. Xhaka stung Gavin Bazunu’s gloves at the near post and Martin Odegaard dragged a good opportunity just wide as we set about the injury-hit home side’s defence early on.
So the breakthrough was well deserved when it came, and the goal bore a striking resemblance to the winner against PSV in midweek.
Again it came from a right-wing cross, this time supplied by Ben White, but like on Thursday, finished emphatically by the right boot of Xhaka.
Moments later we had a big shout for a penalty turned down, when Jesus appeared to be pulled down in the box by Duje Caleta-Car. The referee waved away our appeals though.
We kept up the intensity and Jesus shot wide after being set up by Odegaard before Southampton slowly started to come back into it.
James Ward-Prowse showed his set-piece prowess, delivering three or four dangerous corners in succession, but our defence stood firm.
At the other end, Odegaard and Jesus continued to combine well, and one nice interchange led to the Brazilian firing straight at the keeper from close range on the volley.
Saints strike back
The second half was more disjointed, and again Gabriel and William Saliba had to deal with the aerial threat from set pieces.
Jesus had the chance to double our lead on the hour mark, he was released by Odegaard just inside the Saints' half. As he pulled the trigger inside the box though, Mohamed Elyounoussi slid in to block the shot for a corner.
The miss was punished shortly afterwards. Southampton put together their best attack of the afternoon, passed their way into the box and Stuart Armstrong finished smartly when he got in behind Takehiro Tomiyasu.
Joe Aribo was next to try his luck, firing through a crowd to force a low save from Aaron Ramsdale.
Arteta sent on Eddie Nketiah and Kieran Tierney in an attempt to inject a spark into the side. The latter nearly created a goal for Odegaard, but his cutback was just out of play before the captain smashed home.
Nketiah then shot just wide as we searched for the winner.
We looked heavy-legged in the closing stages though, and couldn’t find the winner on a frustrating afternoon.
What it means
Facts and stats
Southampton have won just one of their last eight Premier League games against us (D3 L4), with that victory coming in this exact fixture last season.
This was our first Premier League draw since January (0-0 vs Burnley), ending a run of 27 league games without one.
Southampton have gone three Premier League games without defeat (W1 D2) for the first time since February (a run of five).
We failed to win a Premier League game in which we opened the scoring for the first time since New Year’s Day against Manchester City (1-2 loss) having won 18 successive such matches before today.
With four goals in all competitions in 2022/23, Xhaka is enjoying is joint-best goalscoring season with us, netting in back-to-back appearances for the club for just a second time (also in September 2016).
Armstrong’s equaliser was his first goal in 21 Premier League appearances, while each of his last seven goals in the competition have been scored at St Mary’s.
The hectic October schedule continues with Europa League action in midweek, as we travel to face PSV Eindhoven on Thursday. A draw in that game would be enough to secure top spot in the group with a game to spare.
Our Premier League campaign resumes next Sunday at home to Nottingham Forest.
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