Gabriel Jesus and Gabriel Martinelli scored in each half as Arsenal extended their perfect start to the season to five games with a 2-1 win over Aston Villa that sent the visitors into the relegation zone and put more pressure on visiting boss Steven Gerrard.
There was panic in the Villa defense every time Arsenal showed up in the first half, with Jesus, Gabriel Magalhaes, Martin Odegaard and Bukayo Saka all letting opportunities pass before Jesus slammed in his third of the season when Granit Xhaka’s deflected shot was parried (30).
Two sharp saves from former gunner Emi Martinez prevented Jesus and Martinelli from extending the advantage before the break, but it was Villa who struck sensationally next, substitute Douglas Luiz (74) folding into a corner seconds after completing a remarkable rehearsal of his Carabao Cup. goal against Bolton last week.
However, Arsenal in the lead produced an instant response to the concession, with Martinelli pushing into Saka’s cross (77), and the home side survived another dangerous corner from Leon Bailey in the final minutes to keep their start at 100%.
Arsenal: Ramsdale (6), White (6), Saliba (7), Gabriel (7), Tierney (6), Lokonga (6), Xhaka (7), Odegaard (6), Saka (7), Martinelli (8), Jesus (8).
Subtitles: Tomiyasu (6), Smith Rowe (N/A), Nketiah (N/A), Holding (N/A).
AstonVilla: Martinez (6), Cash (5), Mings (4), Konsa (4), Worthy (5), Kamara (5), Ramsey (5), McGinn (5), Buendia (6), Watkins (6), Bailey (6).
Subtitles: Douglas Luiz (8), Coutinho (6), Ings (N/A)
Man of the match: Gabriel Jesus
Arsenal maintain their flying start
There were chants of “sacked in the morning” to Villa boss Gerrard from Arsenal supporters during the visitors’ miserable display in the first half. His side have improved after the break, but with four defeats in five games this season and just three wins in their last 16 league games, Villa need a boost.
Villa’s worst start in 25 years
Aston Villa have lost four of their first five league games in a campaign for the first time since 1997-98 (also 4/5).
They slipped into the relegation zone with this loss and the next step for them is to score Manchester City for free at Villa Park on Saturday night football.
“I don’t like the look of the table,” Gerrard said afterwards. “I think it’s natural for the pressure to mount. I was asked this question after the weekend in terms of reaction from Villa fans and I take that on my shoulders. I take full responsibility and I won’t shirk anything.”
As for Arsenal, they travel to Old Trafford to face Manchester United on great sunday where they will aim to back up that impressive start with a standout result against a ‘big-six’ rival.
- Arsenal have made a change from the side that beat Fulham on Saturday, with Albert Sambi Lokonga coming into midfield for injured Mohamed Elneny.
- Aston Villa made four changes following their home loss to West Ham, with Emi Buendia, Tyrone Mings, Leon Bailey and Jacob Ramsey and Philippe Coutinho, Danny Ings, Douglas Luiz and Calum Chambers falling to the bench.
Against Villa, they once again showed their mix of brilliant attacking play and ability to fight for the win. Already this season at the Emirates they had to react quickly to goals from Leicester and a reverse against Fulham, and it was the same story on Wednesday night, after they really should have capitalized on a first half which saw them hit the target seven times. .
jesus the record holder
Gabriel Jesus has been involved in six goals in his first five Premier League appearances for Arsenal (3 goals, 3 assists), a record by a player in their first five games for the Gunners, breaking Mesut Ozil’s record ( 5).
This combination of wastefulness, Martinez’s good goalkeeping and the visitors’ desperate defending left a glimmer of hope for Villa and Luiz’s special set-piece seemed to have turned the tide for them. But 151 seconds later, Martinelli capped another standout display with his third of the campaign to the delight of the home support who revel in his role as Premier League pacemaker.
Arteta praises Arsenal’s mentality
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta: “We win football games that we deserve to win with the way we play and play. We have to keep going. The way we play in the first half, with the number of chances, is really nice as a coach.
“It’s the most difficult thing in football to score goals, but today we had great chances that we didn’t put aside. Martinelli’s goal is a difficult technique and he succeeded to hit the target and it gives you a chance.
“That’s the mentality we want to show as a team, reacting immediately to disappointments. When you play in front of that audience, it helps because the energy they generate is just amazing.”
Frustrated Gerrard: We shot ourselves in the foot
Aston Villa boss Steven Gerrard: “We worked very hard to stay with Arsenal, throwing bodies over the line to keep the ball out of our goal. We were wrong for a moment, we could have gone out quicker towards Martinelli. But Arsenal certainly deserved to be in front at half-time Our technical level was miles away.
“I asked for improvement and we grew in the second half, we passed the ball better, our confidence grew and Douglas delivers a moment of magic and we get the game exactly where we want it. Then we’re going to shoot ourselves a Someone has acres of space in an area where they shouldn’t have acres of space.
“If we keep getting the really important moments wrong defensively, we’ll keep conceding. We work on it daily, we talk about it almost every day. To show Martinelli on his left foot, to show Saka on his right foot… you have to getting someone on full throttle… It’s really frustrating that the messages don’t seem to be coming through.
On Villa’s league position: “The league table doesn’t look like what I want it to look like, not what our supporters want it to look like and that’s why coming here and getting something was really crucial and important. But I know well where we are and I don’t’ I’m sure my players don’t like it, and neither do the fans.
“So we all have to stick together. I think it’s natural for the pressure to mount. I was asked that question after the weekend in terms of the reaction from Villa fans and I take that on my shoulders. J take full responsibility for this and I will stop at nothing.
“I will continue to try to get things done as best I can until I am told otherwise.
“But, as far as the appearance of the table goes, of course I am. I’m a human being.”
Aston Villa host Manchester City on Saturday Night Football at 5.30pm before Arsenal travel to Manchester United on Super Sunday at 4.30pm – both live on Sky Sports Premier League.
Arsenal 2-1 Aston Villa: Gabriel Jesus and Gabriel Martinelli strike to maintain Gunners perfect start