Premier League: Arsenal revives title bid with last-gasp 4-2 win at Villa

Arsenal got its stuttering Premier League title push back on track with a thrilling 4-2 win at Aston Villa to move back to the top of the table thanks to two added-time goals on Saturday.

Published : Feb 18, 2023 20:31 IST

Arsenal’s William Saliba, left, Arsenal’s Jorginho, centre, Arsenal’s Gabriel Martinelli celebrate after scoring against Aston Villa.
Arsenal’s William Saliba, left, Arsenal’s Jorginho, centre, Arsenal’s Gabriel Martinelli celebrate after scoring against Aston Villa. | Photo Credit: AP
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Arsenal’s William Saliba, left, Arsenal’s Jorginho, centre, Arsenal’s Gabriel Martinelli celebrate after scoring against Aston Villa. | Photo Credit: AP

Arsenal reinvigorated its push for a first Premier League title in two decades and retook top spot on Saturday with a thrilling 4-2 win at Aston Villa thanks to two late goals.

With a pulsating and high-quality game going into added time at 2-2, Arsenal midfielder Jorginho saw his shot come off the bar and bounce off the head of Villa’s Argentina World Cup-winning goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez for a cruel own goal.

Minutes later, with the final whistle about to go and Villa piling forward - Martinez included - Arsenal broke forward again for Gabriel Martinelli to stroke into an empty net for the Londoners’ fourth in front of their delirious fans.

The result put the Gunners back on top with 54 points after 23 games, three points above Manchester City who goes to Nottingham Forest later on Saturday for its 24th match.

It was Arsenal’s first win in four Premier League games and followed a dispiriting midweek loss at home to Manchester City.

“From this game, we took an unbelievable lesson for all of us. We just need to believe until the very end that we can achieve everything,” said Oleksandr Zinchenko, who had made it 2-2 with his first goal for Arsenal earlier in the game.

“This group are such amazing people. They can achieve everything they want if we continue this way, if we keep fighting, keep believing. The reaction from all of us in the second half was perfect.”

At a packed and raucous Villa Park in the Midlands, Ollie Watkins fired home the hosts’ opener - and his fourth goal in as many games - in the fifth minute after a scintillating run into the box and jink past defender William Saliba.

Bukayo Saka struck back for Arsenal with a fine left foot drive from inside the area in the 16th minute, before Philippe Coutinho restored Villa’s lead with a low shot in the 31st following a clever dummy from Emiliano Buendia.

Oleksandr Zinchenko levelled for Arsenal in the 62nd minute with a low drive past World Cup-winning goalkeeper Martinez.

Before the thrilling finale, both sides missed gilt-edged chances, Martin Odegaard pulling wide for Arsenal when he looked certain to score and Villa’s Leon Bailey seeing a shot tipped onto the crossbar.

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