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 Friday night of frazzled nerves in north London.
For much of a stomach-churning encounter it appeared Arsenal would suffer a hammer blow in their quest to hold off Manchester City and win the league for the first time since 2004.
They conceded after 28 seconds when keeper Aaron Ramsdale gifted a goal to Carlos Alcaraz and were 2-0 down inside 15 minutes as former Arsenal forward Theo Walcott fired home.
Gabriel Martinelli struck back for the Gunners after 20 minutes and Arsenal were millimetres away from equalising in stoppage time at the end of a pulsating opening half as Ben White's header was cleared off the line.
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.
The visitors, seeking a first win in seven league games in their desperate battle to extend their 10-year stay in the top flight, appeared to be heading for a vital victory.
But Arsenal captain Martin Odegaard curled a shot past Gavin Bazunu in the 88th minute to throw Arsenal a lifeline before Bukayo Saka scored from close range two minutes later.
With the home fans willing Arsenal to score a winner, just as they did a month ago when coming back from two goals down against Bournemouth, they laid siege to the Southampton goal.
In eight minutes of added time Leandro Trossard was denied by the crossbar and then fellow substitute Reiss Nelson saw a deflected shot go agonisingly wide of the post.
With Southampton camped inside their own penalty area, Gabriel Jesus then went down in the box appealing for a penalty but there was to be no final twist to the unremitting drama.
Both sets of players collapsed to the turf at the final whistle after a draw that did little to help either side in their very different objectives.
Arsenal did increase their lead over reigning champions Manchester City to five points ahead of the potentially decisive clash between the top two at The Etihad next Wednesday, although City have two games in hand.
Southampton, who belied their position with some courageous football, remain bottom with 24 points, three below the safety zone having played a game more than the sides above them.