Mikel Arteta missed an injury time penalty to deny Arsenal a win against Fulham in a six-goal thriller at the Emirates Stadium.
The draw means it is now the Gunners’ worst start to a Premier League season since Arsene Wenger arrived in North London 16 years ago and leaves them four points shy of a Champions League spot.
Much like their Champions League draw with Schalke in midweek the hosts seized the initiative early in the game and raced into a two goal lead inside the first 25 minutes.
Oliver Giroud was on target first heading in a cross from a revitalised Theo Walcott after 11 minutes before Lukas Podolski converted Arteta’s cut back from six-yards to double Arsenal’s advantage.
But the Cottagers are made of sterner stuff these days and hauled themselves back into the game courtesy of Dimitar Berbatov’s close range header from Bryan Ruiz’s corner in the 29th minute. The comeback was complete just before the break as Berbatov turned provider, setting up Alex Kacaniklic to nod past Vito Mannone.
Martin Jol’s men took their foot off the gas after the break but were gifted a third goal as Arteta had his pocket picked by Ruiz before hauling down the Costa Rican in the penalty area. Berbatov stepped up to covert from the spot and put the visitors within sight of their first win at Arsenal in 108 years.
But barely two minutes later their hopes of an historic triumph were dashed as Giroud’s shot bounced off the post to Walcott, who crossed for the French striker to beat Mark Schwarzer.
But that wasn’t the end of the drama as referee Phil Dowd harshly punished Sascha Riether for handball only for Arteta to fluff his lines from 12-yards, seeing his spot kick kept out by a full stretch save from Schwarzer.