Arsenal’s fightback at Aston Villa keeps them in title race


Arsenal scored twice in stoppage-time to grab a dramatic 4-2 win at Aston Villa to return to the highest of the Premier League.

Just because it appeared Mikel Arteta’s facet have been on the verge of dropping extra factors, Jorginho fired a 93rd-minute shot towards the crossbar which rebounded off former Arsenal goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez and crossed the road. Five minutes later, with Martinez caught upfield for a Villa nook, the guests broke once more and substitute Gabriel Martinelli was left to roll the ball into an unguarded web.

It is a consequence which moved Arsenal three factors clear at the highest of the Premier League forward of Manchester City’s journey to Nottingham Forest later in the day.

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The Gunners twice got here from behind as Bukayo Saka cancelled out Ollie Watkins’ fifth-minute opener earlier than Philippe Coutinho struck his first purpose of the season to revive the house facet’s benefit at the break.

Oleksandr Zinchenko fired Arsenal degree on 61 minutes and there have been possibilities for each side as Martin Odegaard missed an excellent likelihood 13 minutes from time, whereas at the opposite finish substitute Leon Bailey crashed a late shot towards the bar.

But Arsenal had the final snort, fairly actually, at Martinez. His title was sung gleefully by the travelling supporters because the Argentine, who had beforehand been essential of his therapy at Emirates Stadium previous to becoming a member of Villa in September 2020, inadvertently handed Arsenal a doubtlessly important win in the title race.

JUMP TO: Best/worst performers | Highlights and notable moments | Postmatch quotes | Key stats | Upcoming fixtures

Rapid response

1. Arsenal go away it late however bounce again

Arsenal’s sturdiness in the title race was known as into query after a run of 1 level from a potential 9 enabled Manchester City to knock them off the highest of the desk in midweek for the primary time since Nov. 5. Kicking off simply 63 hours after shedding 3-1 to City, this was at all times going to be a take a look at of Arsenal’s resolve and it grew to become immeasurably more durable after Watkins scored early on — the primary purpose Arsenal have conceded in the opening quarter-hour of a league match this season.

Their work with out the ball was lower than scratch at occasions — Villa’s second purpose was a flowing transfer from again to entrance, however there was little stress on the ball at any stage. But they saved combating and located a method to win, albeit benefitting from a slice of luck as Jorginho’s shot cannoned off the crossbar, onto the again of Martinez’s head the again of the online. This victory arrests that poor run and fires a press release to City that they nonetheless have real competitors in the title race.

2. Saka epitomises Arsenal’s combat

This was one other event so as to add to a rising checklist the place Saka was on the receiving finish of some tough therapy. Three days after Saka was fouled a number of occasions by Manchester City as they sought to stifle Arsenal’s attacking menace, Saka was once more focused at Villa Park, contributing to a flare up at the top of the primary half when he shoved Coutinho in frustration.

He nonetheless ended the opening 45 minutes on the scoresheet, underlining why he has turn into such a spotlight for opponents: the 21-year-old has been straight concerned in 17 targets in the Premier League this season (9 targets, eight assists), a document solely bettered by Erling Haaland and Harry Kane. And regardless of happening for therapy early in the second half, Saka admirably battled on to maintain taking the combat to Villa, enjoying all the sport when it regarded possible at one stage he can be pressured off.

Saka had suffered 40 fouls this season by the top of Saturday’s sport, the eighth-highest determine in the Premier League. Arteta beforehand hinted at the England winger requiring higher safety whereas additionally stating the onus can also be on his group to provide Saka the ball in a manner that reduces the danger of opponents diving in. Regardless, Saka remained the driving pressure of this Arsenal group and deserved to finish up on the profitable facet

3. A day to neglect for Martinez

Martinez has repeatedly questioned his therapy at Arsenal, believing the membership “didn’t trust me like they should have” in his makes an attempt to turn into their primary goalkeeper. Martinez went on to show his level in an Argentina facet that received the World Cup in Qatar, however his view of Arsenal created an animosity which led the travelling supporters right here to chant an unfavourable comparability to Aaron Ramsdale.

And that was earlier than the dramatic denouement. The Arsenal followers sang Martinez’s title with gusto at the climax of this sport as first he scored an unlucky personal purpose and was then caught upfield as Martinelli rolled in a fourth.

He has a battle to show absolutely suitable with Unai Emery’s want to play out from the again. Villa’s second purpose right here showcased that technique at its greatest. It was a purpose which started with Martinez rolling out the ball to his centre-backs, Jacob Ramsey shifting by midfield as Villa constructed down the left with Alexandre Morena Lopera crossing for Coutinho to fit residence his first purpose of the season. Yet the nervousness in the stands was palpable as Villa persevered with the tactic, with Martinez kicking the ball straight out of play on multiple event as he tried in useless to discover a teammate. This was a day to neglect for the 30-year-old.

Best and worst performers


Bukayo Saka: Kept going tirelessly and did as a lot as anybody to pressure Arsenal’s comeback.

Ollie Watkins: Was a continuing menace for Villa and took his early purpose brilliantly.

Jorginho: Struggled when Villa counter-attacked however the Italy worldwide was clever in possession and ensured Arsenal saved probing.


Emiliano Martinez: A nightmare afternoon towards his former membership ,and far of the frustration at Villa’s struggles enjoying out from the again have been aimed at him.

William Saliba: After struggling towards Ivan Toney and Haaland, Saliba’s poor run of type continued as he failed to deal with Watkins.

Eddie Nketiah: Wasteful in entrance of purpose once more and was lucky it didn’t value Arsenal.

Highlights and notable moments

The match delivered a Hollywood ending, however there was a little bit of Tinseltown at Villa Park even earlier than kick-off as appearing legend and Villa fan Tom Hanks was in attendance

Whatever he mentioned to the house group in the locker room clearly labored as a result of Hanks had barely taken his seat earlier than Watkins opened the scoring.

But it was Arsenal who have been the celebs of the present as they ended up claiming a surprising late victory. It was a sport that featured some gorgeous targets, however probably the most memorable will certainly show to be Martinez’s personal purpose if Arsenal go on to win the title.

After the match: What the gamers/managers mentioned

Arteta on Arsenal’s comeback: “We showed a lot of character, resilience to get back twice in the game and then winning it. We have to take some lessons today because especially in the first half, we didn’t do all the simple things right and then we give them the chance to score those two goals in a really simple way. We talked at half time, if we raise the individual standards and start to do what we have to do, we’re going to win this game. And they went out there, which is difficult, and won it.”

Zinchenko on the group’s response to going behind twice: “I think from this game, I would like to say two things. First, we took an unbelievable lesson all of us that we need to believe until the very end and we can achieve everything. Like I said many times in the past, this group is such an amazing people and can achieve everything that they want if they continue in this way, keep fighting and believing. Also, the reaction from all of us in the second half was perfect, that’s the right way to go for the future games.”

Jorginho on whether or not he had contributed to a purpose like Arsenal’s third earlier than: “The last time I hit the post and it hit the keeper, it didn’t go in. I’m glad today it did.”

Key stats (offered by ESPN Stats & Information analysis)

Saka’s is joint-eighth in the Premier League for fouls suffered this season with 40. Wilfried Zaha is the participant with probably the most fouls towards him in the division this season, with 57.

Zinchenko’s purpose to degree the match at 2-2 was his first ever in the Premier League. The Ukrainian performed 76 occasions for Manchester City, profitable 4 Premier League titles, with out ever as soon as netting for them in the competitors. His final league purpose scored for FC Ufa in 2015, in a 1-1 draw at Zenit St Petersburg.

Up subsequent

Aston Villa: Unai Emery’s males journey to play Everton in seven days’ time earlier than internet hosting Crystal Palace on Saturday, March 4.

Arsenal: The Gunners have a visit to Leicester City subsequent Saturday. After that, they’ve a fast likelihood for revenge with the go to to the Emirates on Wednesday, March 1 of Everton, whose defeat of Arsenal at the beginning of February kicked off their poor run of type.


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