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Penalty drama sees Arsenal go second as Saints tame Foxes

London (AFP) – Ten-man Arsenal went second in the Premier League with a stunning 2-1 win over Burnley at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday that saw both sides score penalties in stoppage-time.

Shkodran Mustafi’s first Arsenal goal put the Gunners 1-0 up in the 59th minute and that was how the score looked like it would stay when, in the third of seven minutes of time added on by referee Jon Moss, Burnley’s Ashley Barnes was fouled inside the area by Francis Coquelin.

Andre Gray, a childhood Arsenal fan, scored from the ensuing penalty, with Petr Cech just unable to prevent the equaliser.

But that was not the end of the drama.

When Arsenal pumped the ball into the box with virtually the last attack of the game, Laurent Koscielny was caught by a high foot from Ben Mee as he attempted to head in.

Moss, amid suggestions Koscielny was marginally offside, again pointed to the spot.

Alexis Sanchez, showing remarkable nerve, chipped a penalty down the middle as Arsenal closed on league leaders Chelsea.

By that stage Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger had been sent off after his furious reaction to Burnley’s penalty.

– ‘Unbelievable fight’ –

Arsenal had to play the final 25 minutes down to 10 men after midfielder Granit Xhaka was shown a straight red card for a reckless challenge on Steven Defour.

“We finally got the win but of course it was very difficult for us,” veteran French boss Wenger told the BBC. “We couldn’t get the second goal, we played with 10 men and they (Burnley) played well as well.

“Every week and every game is an unbelievable fight for everybody,” added Wenger.

Meanwhile Burnley manager Sean Dyche bemoaned an offside that ultimately cost the Clarets a point. 

“We know how tough this division is but you need officials to make the right decisions and that is the shame today,” he said.

Victory saw Arsenal leapfrog both Liverpool, beaten 3-2 by Swansea on Saturday, and Tottenham Hotspur, held to a 2-2 draw by Manchester City, in the table.

But Chelsea will go eight points clear of their London rivals if they beat relegation-threatened Hull in Sunday’s late match.

There was a boost for the Blues before kick-off at Stamford Bridge with the return to their starting XI of striker Diego Costa.

The Brazil-born Spain forward, Chelsea’s top scorer this season with 14 goals, missed last weekend’s 3-0 win at Leicester City due to a back complaint.

But he was reported to have had a training-ground row with fitness coach Julio Tous, amid speculation he had been the subject of a mega-money offer from Chinese club Tianjin Quanjian.

Earlier, Southampton marked their first match since former captain Jose Fonte’s £8 million ($9.9 , 9.2 million euros) move to West Ham on Friday by ending a run of four straight league defeats with a 3-0 win at home to struggling champions Leicester.

– Ranieri ‘mistake’ –

Goals from James Ward-Prowse and Jay Rodriguez gave the Saints a 2-0 interval lead before Dusan Tadic’s penalty four minutes from time rounded off a comfortable win at St Mary’s.

Victory was just the boost south coast side Southampton, now 11th in the table, needed ahead of their League Cup semi-final second leg clash against Liverpool on Wednesday, with the Saints taking a 1-0 lead to Anfield.

“It (Anfield) is a tough place to go but we can take confidence from today and how we played against them in the first leg and hopefully we can get to Wembley,” Ward-Prowse told Sky Sports. 

Meanwhile Leicester manager Claudio Ranieri blamed himself for the Foxes’ latest loss and promised to revert to the formation that proved so successful for the Foxes during their shock title triumph last season. 

“The players are used to 4-4-1-1 and know the positions but I made a mistake,” he said.

“I think it is much better to give them what they know well,” added the Italian after Leicester’s 11th defeat in 22 league matches so far this season left them just five points above the relegation zone.

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