Premier League Match Report: Arsenal 3-2 Aston Villa
A 10-man Arsenal unit came back from behind twice to edge 3-2 past Aston Villa in a five-goal thriller at the Emirates in the Premier League on Sunday, as the Gunners got themselves back to winning ways in the league after blowing away a two-goal lead at Watford last week.
Unai Emery made six changes to the eleven that beat Eintracht Frankfurt 3-0 on Matchday 1 of the UEFA Europa League in the midweek fixture, with Bernd Leno, Sokratis, Dani Ceballos, Nicolas Pepe, Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Matteo Guendouzi all making their return to the starting line-up.
The Gunners started off as the brighter of the two teams and threatened to break the deadlock in the opening stages, only for Tyrone Mings to deny Nicolas Pepe a goal with a fine block.
Surprisingly enough, though, it was Aston Villa who opened the scoring much against the run of play, as John McGinn met Anwar El Ghazi’s inch-perfect cross from the left after a surging run into the box to silence the home crowd.
In response, Arsenal struggled to create too many clear-cut chances and things turned from bad to worse when Unai Emery’s side were reduced to ten men after referee Jonathan Moss had deemed Maitland-Niles’ challenge on Neil Taylor worth of a second yellow card.
A goal up and a man up at halftime, Aston Villa looked like the favourites to come away with a positive result from the game but the Gunners were handed a lifeline when Bjorn Engels shoved Matteo Gundouzi to the ground inside the penalty box following a dazzling driving run from the midfielder.
Nicolas Pepe bagged his first Arsenal goal and restored parity from twelve yards but the home side’s lead wasn’t going to last long. Jack Grealish ripped the Gunners’ backline apart with his powerful run and picked out Wesley Moraes, who beat Bernd Leno with a crisp finish from the outside of his boot to put Villa in the lead for the second time.
With only ten minutes left to play, the travelling fans would have hoped for it to stay that way, only for Arsenal to turn their ecstasy into agony with a remarkable comeback.
As good as Mings has been at the back thus far this season, the former Bournemouth man found himself culpable of failing to clear his lines and Calum Chambers was at the right place and at the right time to draw the Gunners level yet again.
And, much to the pleasure of the home fans, the intriguing see-saw battle, at last, ended in favour of the Gunners when Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang bagged his fourth goal in as many games in all competitions, rattling the net with an absolute pile driver of a free-kick from just outside the box.
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In the end, it was heartbreak for Villa but that 3-2 comeback victory sees Arsenal finish Round 6 inside the top-four, with the Gunners gaining some valuable ground on the likes of Man United, Everton and Chelsea, all of whom dropped points this weekend.
Here’s how some of the Gunners’ fans reacted to the spirited 3-2 victory at home. While some are really happy with the comeback, others are of the opinion that the team still has a lot of areas to work on.