ARSENAL 2-1 ASTON VILLA: The Gunners remain top of the Premier League after winning 2-1 at home on Wednesday night thanks to goals from Gabriel Jesus and Gabriel Martinelli
Arsenal maintained their 100 per cent Premier League record with a solid 2-1 win against Aston Villa on Wednesday night.
Mikel Arteta’s side dominated throughout at the Emirates and gained the lead when £45million man Gabriel Jesus took advantage of an error from visiting goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez. Villa equalised through Douglas Luiz before Gabriel Martinelli scored the winner.
Arsenal’s next Premier League game is away at Manchester United on Sunday evening, with their Europa League campaign getting underway against FC Zurich in Switzerland four days later. Here are the main talking points from a tough evening at the Emirates.
Arsenal’s hunger is obvious
With a trip to Old Trafford on the horizon, Arsenal would’ve been fully aware of how important it was to beat Villa. A victory was needed to make it 15 points from a possible 15 in the Premier League and keep them top of the table heading into Sunday’s clash.
Arsenal’s desperation to put Villa to the sword was obvious from the outset. The Gunners came flying out of the blocks and nearly took the lead inside 15 minutes, with four shots worrying Martinez.
The first came from Gabriel Jesus, who forced Martinez into an outstanding low save. Then came two efforts from an unlikely source as Gabriel Magalhaes saw his first shot deflect wide before Martinez comfortably saved his second. Moments later, Jesus forced him into another stop and the Argentine goalkeeper looked set for a busy night
Bukayo Saka had a moment to forget during the first half when he produced a candidate for the ‘Miss of the Season’ award. It came thanks to a free-flowing move, which started inside Arsenal’s own half and ended with the ball at Gabriel Martinelli’s feet.
The Brazilian delivered an irresistible ball across the six-yard box, but Saka couldn’t convert it with the goal at his mercy. The cross did come to the Englishman on the half-volley, but that’s no excuse. Saka won’t get a better opportunity to open his account this term.
Jesus ends Villa’s resistance
Despite Saka’s miss, Arsenal continued to push. They got the breakthrough in the 30th minute thanks to a howler from Martinez. The former Arsenal goalkeeper spilled an effort from Granit Xhaka right into the path of Jesus, who was on hand to accept the gift.
Although Xhaka’s shot was deflected, it was tame and Martinez should’ve done better. Arsenal almost doubled their lead before the break as Villa were forced into a goal-line scramble and Martinez redeemed himself with a brilliant save to deny Martinelli. Gerrard would’ve been relieved to hear the half-time whistle, just to get some respite.
Arsenal get the job done
Gerrard wanted to get a reaction out of his players after the interval and they didn’t ignore him. Villa showed some fight and threatened to dampen the atmosphere inside the Emirates. Arsenal needed a second goal and almost got it through Martin Odegaard, who tested Martinez with a curling free kick in the 55th minute.
The Gunners failed to double their advantage and were made to pay when Aaron Ramsdale struggled to deal with Luiz’s corner. The Brazilian’s swinging delivery ended up in the net when the goalkeeper flapped at the ball and unsuccessfully appealed for a foul.
Yet that setback didn’t break Arsenal’s confidence. They immediately re-established their advantage following another eye-catching move, finished off by Martinelli. Saka deserves a lot of credit for his role in the goal, deceiving his marker to chip a cross in towards the scorer.