The Arsenal u23s slipped to a draw against Southampton in this week’s Premier League 2 fixture, as they continue to flirt with a relegation battle.
Before the game, Arsenal had a four-point advantage over opponents Southampton, but the hosts had two games in hand to catch up.
A win would have given Steve Bould’s side some breathing room, and it looked like they were going to get one in the first half. After a poor recent run of results, they started well and raced into a 2-0 lead.
With the fit-again Miguel Azeez back in the starting lineup, Arsenal took an early lead from the penalty spot. Reiss Nelson released Joel Lopez down the left, who initially lost possession but snuck back in front of the Southampton man to win a penalty.
Folarin Balogun was also returning from injury, but he was on the bench. In his absence, Nikolaj Moller converted the spot-kick confidently, firing into the left-hand side of the net despite the goalkeeper going the right way.
Arsenal then doubled their lead after an Azeez corner was headed against the bar by Zane Monlouis, falling to Kido Taylor-Hart to tap home. Taylor-Hart has been the subject of plenty of media interest this week as he stalls on Arsenal’s professional contract offer.
Nelson almost added a third, firing just wide with a volley, but the first half ended 2-0 to Arsenal.
There wasn’t much Arsenal could do about Southampton’s opening goal to get back into it, with Will Ferry curling in an unstoppable finish soon after the break. But they’ll certainly be disappointed with the late equaliser.
As one of the more experienced members of the group, Nelson should have known better than to challenge an opponent from behind in the box. He didn’t make much contact, but it was a gift of a penalty from the winger. Ferry converted for 2-2.
You can check out the highlights of the game on the Southampton website if you sign up as a free digital member.
The result leaves Arsenal four ahead of Southampton having played two games more. They’re also ahead of Brighton, who have a game in hand as well.
Assuming both teams win their games, Arsenal would only have Leicester City (three points behind) between them and relegation. Bould’s side have six games left to ensure their safety in England’s top u23 division.