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"Game-changer" - Pundit identifies "eerie" Arsenal change that could have huge implications on title race

"Game-changer" - Pundit identifies "eerie" Arsenal change that could have huge implications on title race

It could be a huge difference

Steve Sidwell identified a change at Arsenal that could have huge implications for the title race.

The Gunners’ title hopes were dealt a major blow on Friday after they claimed their third successive draw, this time against bottom club Southampton.

In a topsy-turvy encounter, Mikel Arteta’s men were 2-0 down against the relegation threatened Saints within just 15 minutes, courtesy of goals from Carlos Alcaraz and Theo Walcott.

While Gabriel Martinelli pulled one back before half-time, Duje Caleta-Car reclaimed Southampton’s two-goal cushion mid-way through the second half.

However, Arsenal rallied at the last to dramatically claim a pair of late goals through captain Martin Odegaard and star man Bukayo Saka.

With the scores level, and with eight minutes of additional time to go, the Emirates was frenetic, pushing Arsenal to claim an all-important winner. And while Leandro Trossard did hit the bar, the Gunners failed to claim what would have been a precious three points.

Arsenal now take a five-point lead to nearest challengers Manchester City on Wednesday, who with two games in hand now hold the advantage in the title race.

Game-changer in title race

Speaking on BT Sport, former Fulham, Chelsea and Brighton midfielder Sidwell noted the subdued atmosphere at the Emirates at full-time.

Indeed, the pundit claimed that a potential lack of belief or tension among the Arsenal fanbase could be a “game-changer” in the title race.

Sidwell explained: “The biggest thing was the reaction when the final whistle went.

“I know it was emotional and tension was high because a goal was going to come if a few more minutes had been played.

“But [at full-time] it was as if the whistle hadn’t been blown. It was really eerie for the first time. The Arsenal fans didn’t know how to react.

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“Normally when that happens there is a little bit of chanting, there is a little bit of applause, and they get behind the team, but it was dead calm, dead silent.

“I thought “Oh, that [tension] is now going into the fans and seeping now’. Whereas before - the Emirates this season has been electric.

“The atmosphere there has been poison in previous seasons whereas [this term] it’s been their mainstay. But that reaction after, that was the first time I went, ‘Oh, that could be a game-changer’”.

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: Football, Manchester City, Arsenal, Premier League