Yet another deflected goal condemned us to a frustrating draw in a hard-fought affair against Sheffield United on Saturday.
We got off to a tentative start against a Blades side with the second best away record in the division – and it was the visitors who were on top in the early stages.
Lys Mousset, who scored the winner against us at Bramall Lane back in October, had two presentable chances within the first 10 minutes but headed both over the bar.
Slowly but surely we grew into the game, and soon we showed our attacking intent as a slick counter saw Alex Lacazette play Nicolas Pepe into space down the right, and the Ivorian’s cross was volleyed wide by Gabriel Martinelli.
The brilliant Brazilian had another half chance soon afterwards when he shot wide after fine work by Pepe, but for much of the first half we found it tough to break down a resolute United side.
But right on the stroke of the interval we had our breakthrough as Mesut Ozil found Lacazette, who slipped a delightful ball into space to the left of the area for Bukayo Saka. The teenager looked up and picked out a cross that took a deflection, gifting a tap-in to Martinelli.
The goal gave us an added impetus going into the second half, but the game remained just as tight and tense with the visitors not giving us an inch – and Granit Xhaka had to be alert to clear one scrambled effort off the line.
We soon had a penalty shout as Pepe looked to have been taken down in the box, but after the referee waved play on and a VAR check, nothing was given as the tension rose further.
Eddie Nketiah, back from a loan spell at Leeds, was soon introduced off the bench for Lacazette as we entered the final act of this game and the visitors starting to throw men forward in search of an equaliser.
Oli McBurnie had a clear chance with 10 minutes remaining when he climbed highest from a corner, but planted his header straight at Bernd Leno – but moments later John Fleck equalised with a shot that took a deflection on its way in.
That was that, and yet another draw will give Mikel Arteta plenty to ponder ahead of Tuesday’s trip to Stamford Bridge.
HOW IT HAPPENED
WHAT IT MEANS
We’re straight back in Premier League action on Tuesday with a trip across London to take on Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
We faced the Blues in Arteta’s second game in charge less than three weeks ago, but slipped to a late defeat at Emirates Stadium.
Copyright 2020 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source.