THE NOTEBOOK: Arsenal royalty support Arteta and more woe for Vieira

THE NOTEBOOK: Thierry Henry reunited with Patrick Vieira as Arsenal royalty support Mikel Arteta, Ruben Selles keeps his head after Jan Bednarek’s horror fall… and it’s a miserable night for flop Fabio Vieira

  • Henry, Vieira, Seaman and Campbell were in the crowd on Friday night
  • Selles and Saints doctor Baynes stood firm after Bednarek’s nasty landing
  • Flop Vieira failed to make any impact and was substituted in the 56th minute

Arsenal struck two late goals to rescue a point in a pulsating 3-3 home draw with bottom club Southampton but their Premier League title hopes suffered another blow on a night of frazzled nerves in north London on Friday.

The Gunners trailed by two goals inside 15 minutes with Carlos Alcaraz and former Arsenal forward Theo Walcott silencing the Emirates crowd. 

Gabriel Martinelli struck back for the Gunners after 20 minutes and Southampton might have wilted under the home pressure in the second half but instead restored their two-goal lead in the 66th minute as substitute Duje Caleta-Car headed in at the back post.

With defeat looming, Arsenal captain Martin Odegaard then curled home in the 87th minute and two minutes later Bukayo Saka scored from close range to spark bedlam in the stadium.

Mail Sport’s DANIEL MATTHEWS looks at some of the things you may have missed. 

Arsenal legends Thierry Henry (R) and Patrick Vieira (L) were in the crowd on Friday night

Arsenal royalty support Arteta

Arsenal royalty descended on the Emirates on Friday night. 

Thierry Henry was reunited with Patrick Vieira – spotted for the first time since his sacking from Crystal Palace last month – while David Seaman was spotted pitchside and Sol Campbell watched from stands. 

The former defender returned to the training ground this week – a decade on from his last visit. 

‘That’s not right,’ Arteta said before this game. 

‘We need those players, those people, with those experiences, with what they have done for the club, to be closer, to be closer to the team, closer to the players, to share their experiences and to be around.’ 

Especially in times like these. 

The heat of a title race is new to most of Arteta’s current crop. But not to legends like these. No wonder, then, that a few players were picking Campbell’s brains as Arsenal prepared for this huge week in their season.

Midfielder Fabio Vieira failed to make any impact and was substituted in the 56th minute

Miserable night for flop Vieira

Just 35 touches and 28 passes in another miserable outing for Fabio Vieira. 

This second Premier League start since September turned rather unpleasant as the Portuguese midfielder failed to make any impact and home fans made plain their frustration. 

The only surprise was that Arteta waited until the 56th minute to replace him. 

His £30million move hasn’t worked out thus far.

Walcott on target again

One for the pub quiz experts among you. 

Only three players have scored more Premier League goals at the Emirates than Theo Walcott who left Arsenal more than a half-decade ago. 

His first-half finish took his tally to 39. He scored on his last visit with Southampton, too. 

The only players to have netted more? Robin van Persie (46), Pierre- Emerick Aubameyang (43) and Olivier Giroud (40).

Another early gift

Fast starts have been a feature of Arsenal’s title charge this season. 

In recent weeks, however, Mikel Arteta’s side have gifted the two quickest goals of this Premier League campaign: Relegation-threatened Bournemouth scored after just nine seconds here last month — although the Gunners did hit back from 2-0 down to win 3-2. 

And then last night, it took Southampton’s Carlos Alcaraz only 27 seconds to beat Aaron Ramsdale.

Arsenal fan goes to St Mary’s

Reminder to always check the fixture list, folks. 

A few hours before kick-off here in the capital, an Arsenal supporter was overheard having an animated phone call. 

He was trying to locate the whereabouts of his mate. The same mate he had texted earlier this week to say: ‘Fancy Southampton on Friday?’ They did. 

Alas, instead of being anywhere near the Emirates they were waiting outside St Mary’s down on the south coast. Ouch!

Selles keeps his head over Bednarek

Credit must go to Ruben Selles and Saints doctor Steve Baynes for standing firm after Jan Bednarek rose to meet a header, 10 minutes before half-time, only to flip over Gabriel Martinelli and land horribly on his back. 

It was a sickening fall, which left the defender needing treatment. 

Southampton’s Jan Bednarek flipped over Gabriel Martinelli and landed horribly on his back

Before long, Bednarek had to be held back as he tried to return to the pitch. He grew frustrated and tried to free himself from Baynes’ clutches. 

Thankfully, Selles took the decision for him. 

The manager sent on Duje Caleta-Car and took an earful himself as Bednarek headed down the tunnel. 

But Selles was vindicated as Caleta-Car headed Saints into a 3-1 lead after 66 minutes.

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