Arsenal drew against Southampton to increase the pressure on manager Unai Emery, who saw his side slip to ninth in the Premier League.
The result leaves the Gunners nine points worse off than at the corresponding stage last term, while the Saints remain 19th.
Emery’s side, who were second best throughout, were booed off at the final whistle after delivering a disjointed performance which suggests they may struggle to compete for a place in the top four this season.
Danny Ings’ early goal had put the visitors in front, with the forward catching the home defence asleep to race onto Ryan Bertrand’s free-kick and score with a right-foot shot from close range.
That set the tone for what was to follow, with the visitors wasting several good chances to extend their lead before Alexandre Lacazette turned in a close-range equaliser.
The goal did little to kick-start Arsenal though, who fell behind for a second time when James Ward-Prowse scored on the rebound after seeing his second-half penalty saved by home goalkeeper Bernd Leno.
Not even Lacazette’s second goal of the day, which came late in stoppage time, could raise spirits at the Emirates, with the forward appearing embarrassed to celebrate.
Pressure mounts on Emery
Prior to Saturday’s games respective managers Unai Emery and Ralph Hassenhuttl shared the unenviable tag of being the bookmakers’ joint favourites to be the next Premier League manager dismissed.
However, while Southampton’s dreadful record in north London suggested they could be ideal opponents for Emery to alleviate some of the pressure on him, things did not go to plan for the Arsenal boss or his team.
And until Lacazette’s late goal, his 24th at home of his 31 Premier League goals, his side had appeared likely to slip to a first home defeat against the Saints since 1987.
That was largely due to familiar failings once again resurfacing, with Southampton’s pressing game and ability to bypass the Arsenal midfield clearly evident.
They were also not helped by Emery’s deployment of a three-man defence of Sokratis Papastathopoulos, David Luiz and Calum Chambers.
The trio were repeatedly pulled apart by the pace of Ings and Southampton’s 19-year-old Republic of Ireland forward, Michael Obafemi.
Obafemi’s early dart away from Sokratis served as a warning, while Chambers’ withdrawal at the interval appeared to be an admission that Emery had got his tactics wrong.
While the introduction of club record signing Nicolas Pepe did at least spark their attacking play, they always remained vulnerable in defence and were fortunate to escape with a point.
Nasty Saints return
Ralph Hasenhuttl had called on his team to become “nasty” again in the prelude to this match and his team appeared to have heeded those words with a performance brimming with energy.
The Austrian felt his team had been too passive in their opening 12 games of the season, so Stuart Armstrong’s first-minute attempt on goal – coming after they had pressed Kieran Tierney into a mistake – would have been a welcome sight.
And they maintained that intensity throughout, stifling Arsenal’s attempts to play out from defence, which in part, contributed to their 21 shots on goal compared to the Gunners’ 12.
Ings and Obafemi were the triggers for much of that work, though Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, Ward-Prowse, Nathan Redmond and Armstrong also featured prominently.
For large parts of the game there was also a resoluteness about their defending which had been absent so far this season.
They may still have the worst defensive record in the Premier League, but this represented a marked improvement, with Jan Bednarek playing a central role in that with seven clearances, more than any other player.
The only negative for Hasenhuttl – who looked distraught to have not claimed all three points – was his side’s failure to convert any of half a dozen excellent chances to put the game beyond the hosts.
Substitute Moussa Djenepo was particularly at fault, twice failing to score from close range in the closing stages.
Man of the Match – Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (Southampton)
‘My job is to find the solution’ – what they said
Arsenal manager Unai Emery: “We will take one good result to give us the confidence and chance to improve. Today we lost that opportunity.
“I can understand how the supporters feel about the team and about me. I can only say to them I’m going to work hard for a good performance and to show we can be better.
“Today the attitude was good. They [the players] wanted it, they wanted to win. We imposed ourselves for 20 minutes in the second half but overall we didn’t. We are very frustrated in the dressing room, the players and I.
“I understand them [the fans] 100% because they didn’t watch their team play like they want. But my job is to find the solution.
Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl, speaking to BBC Match of the Day: “We were critical and tried to go back to basics. The key today was we were more on the front foot. We have to big up the positive things.
“The only way to get something from the Premier League is to be as energetic as we were today.”
Arsenal’s winless run continues
- Arsenal are unbeaten in their last 25 home league games against Southampton (W18 D7) since a 1-0 loss in November 1987.
- Southampton have played more Premier League away games against Arsenal without winning than any side has against another in the competition’s history (21 – W0 D6 L15).
- Arsenal are winless in their last five Premier League games (D3 L2), since a 1-0 victory against Bournemouth in October, picking up just three points from the last 15 on offer.
- Arsenal have failed to win six consecutive matches across all competitions (D5 L1), for the first time since November-December 1998.
- Southampton are winless in their last eight Premier League games (D2 L6), since a 1-0 victory against Sheffield United in September.
- With 24 of Alexandre Lacazette’s 31 Premier League goals having been scored in home games (77%), it is the highest ratio among all players with at least 30 goals in the competition.
- Arsenal have faced five penalties in the Premier League this season, more than any other side. Bernd Leno became the first Arsenal goalkeeper to save a Premier League penalty since Peter Cech against Watford in March 2018, ending the Gunners’ run of conceding 12 consecutive penalties they had faced in the competition.
- Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang have started 35 games together for Arsenal in all competitions, netting a combined 40 goals in those matches (Lacazette 16 and Aubameyang 24).
- Arsenal were shown six yellow cards in a Premier League game for the first time since November 2017 against Manchester City.
Arsenal host Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League on Thursday, 28 November at 20:00 GMT. They then travel to Norwich in the Premier League on Sunday, 1 December 14:00 GMT.
Southampton’s next Premier League match is on Saturday, 30 November when they play Watford at St Mary’s (17:30 GMT kick-off).