The lead Arsenal has had in the English Premier League has begun to slip.
In a 1-1 draw against Brentford on Saturday at Emirates Stadium, the Gunners dropped points for the second straight game and gave Manchester City fresh hope of overtaking them at the top of the standings.
Because of this, a victory by City over Aston Villa at home on Sunday would cut Arsenal’s lead to just three points. Pep Guardiola’s squad would take the lead on goal differential if they win both games, even though the Gunners have played one fewer game than City. Arsenal hosts City on Wednesday.
First-time Arsenal scorer Leandro Trossard redirected a Bukayo Saka cross into the net in the 66th minute to put the home team ahead. And then, eight minutes later, after the Gunners failed to clear a free kick, Ivan Toney tied the game with a close-range header.
Arsenal, coming off a 1-0 loss at Everton the previous weekend, looked listless for much of the game and was fortunate not to fall behind at halftime after Brentford missed two excellent scoring opportunities.
When Toney’s right-wing cross got past the Arsenal back line, Rico Henry had a wide-open net to score into, but he mishit his shot.
In the 25th minute, Toney was set up perfectly inside the area by Bryan Mbeumo, but his shot narrowly missed the far post.
When Arsenal’s offence was stalling, Trossard came off the bench to give it a boost. The far post was manned by the former Brighton attacker who joined Arsenal in the January transfer window so that he could finish off Saka’s pinpoint pass and put the ball into an empty net.
However, the early advantage didn’t endure.
Brentford kept the ball alive with three consecutive headers after Arsenal failed to clear an in swinging free kick into the area, and eventually Toney scored when Christian Norgaard crossed the ball into the goalmouth. Brentford’s celebrations had to wait while a long VAR check was conducted to rule out any offsides.
In the 80th minute, Arsenal’s Oleksandr Zinchenko attempted an immediate reaction with a shot that went just wide, but the home team never threatened again.