Mikel Arteta praised Arsenal’s ‘big effort’ after they twice came from behind before scoring two goals in stoppage time to beat Aston Villa 4-2.
Arsenal came in today’s game without a win in their last four games in all competitions, and having been knocked off the top of the Premier League following their 3-1 loss to Man City in midweek.
They would, however, fall behind in just the fifth minute as Ollie Watkins; Matty Cash playing the ball over the top for the 27-year-old, before he burst into the box and drilled past Aaron Ramsdale with a fine finish.
Bukayo Saka emphatically leveled the scores with a superb half-volley 11 minutes later, before Philippe Coutinho re-established the Villains’ lead just after the half-hour mark following some tidy interplay.
Summer signing Oleksandr Zincheko hauled Mikel Arteta’s side level for a second time in the 61st minute, the Ukrainian firing home his first goal for the club from the edge of the area.
It looked as though the visitors would have to settle for another game without a victory, though in the 93rd minute they got themselves in front for the first time in the game – Jorginho’s strike rifling off the underside of the bar and going in off the head of former Gunners keeper, Emi Martinez.
Arsenal look to have won it in injury time! 🔴
A crucial three points are heading back to North London… pic.twitter.com/hDgZIdOHa7
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) February 18, 2023
Having survived a corner at one end, Arsenal then raced up the pitch to bag a game-settling fourth, Gabriel Martinelli finishing off the game and sending the North London side back to the top of the Premier League ahead of Man City‘s trip to face Nottingham Forest.
Speaking after the game, Mikel Arteta was pleased with his side’s second half reaction following a disappointing first half display.
“We showed a lot of character and resilience from the game to get back twice in the game and end up winning it,” he told BT Sport.
“We have to take some lessons from today, especially in the first half we didn’t do all the simple things right and then you give them the chance to score those goals in a really simple way. But we talked at half-time, we raised individual standards and started to do what they had to and went on to win.”
“The way we gave the ball [away] when we are completely open, leaving the left channel to Watkins one against one, we knew that was a big concern [in the first half]. They had two shots and scored two goals. Credit to them for that but in the second half we overplayed them, we created chance after chance and dominated the game. We needed a magic moment and Jorginho produced it.”
The Spaniard was asked if the manner of the victory meant more than a more comfortable win.
“When you want to be at the top you have to win games in many different ways. You have to score goals in the 94th and come back. To do it against this team in this stadium, a lot of credit to these boys.
“It was absolutely bouncing [in the dressing room], it was a big effort to play less than 72 hours after result we had. I’m really pleased with the boys.”
Read – ‘An unbelievable lesson’ – Zinchenko urges Arsenal to ‘believe’ following late win at Aston Villa
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