Arteta insists Arsenal haven’t bottled it despite dropping more points in 3-3 draw with Southampton

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Mikel Arteta insisted that Arsenal were not bottlers despite his side dropping points for a third consecutive match.

The Gunners came into the game against bottom club Southampton having drawn 2-2 in their games with Liverpool and West Ham to open the door to Manchester City in the title race.

However, their game against the Saints couldn’t have got off to a worse possible start, falling behind to a Carlos Alvarez goal inside the opening 30 seconds.

Former Gunner Theo Walcott then slotted past Aaron Ramsdale to make it 2-0 on 14 minutes, before Gabriel Martinelli pulled one back six minutes later.

Arsenal were dominant on the ball, but fell further behind midway through the second half, substitute Duje Caleta-Car exploiting some poor marking at a corner to make it 3-1.

The Gunners showed their powers of recovery to salvage a point, Martin Odegaard netting in the 88th minute before Bukayo Saka – who had missed a vital penalty against West Ham – equalised in the 90th minute.

The result leaves Arsenal five points ahead of Manchester City but having played two games more than the chasing Champions, with the divisions top two set to meet in a title showdown at the Etihad on April 26th.

However, Mikel Arteta was keen to play down the significance of the game, and said his side’s recovery proved that they haven’t ‘bottled’ it in the title race.

“It’s not a final because there are still six games to go and still enough points to be played,” he told Sky Sports.

“Obviously, the concern is just turning around this moment, some players if they are in doubt. Get those doubts away and prepare for the game in Manchester to win the game.

“In football, you go through moments when you make errors, or you are not in a good moment. You have to come away from that, and [the players] reacted throughout the game.

“It’s not that they bottled the game and said, ‘OK, it’s nothing to do with me’, and they hide. I haven’t seen anybody hiding. They were really willing to do more.”

He continued: “I don’t see a lack of confidence. When a team lack confidence normally players start to hide in certain moments. I didn’t see a single players doing that, they took risks and took the initiative.

“That is why we created the chances we created, that is why we got back to 3-3 and should have won the game. The confidence is there.”

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