Arsenal smashed their way back into the title race with a last-gasp 4-2 win over Aston Villa on Saturday (February 18). The Gunners have displaced Manchester City at the summit of the Premier League.
Mikel Arteta’s side were without a win in three league games. Their title push took a knock after they suffered a 3-1 defeat to title rivals Manchester City midweek. Nervousness reached fever pitch in the fifth minute against Villa when Ollie Watkins gave the hosts the lead.
Arsenal hit back through Bukayo Saka’s brilliant half-volley in the 16th minute. However, Unai Emery’s side retook the lead in the 31st minute when Philippe Coutinho slotted home from close range.
Arteta’s men came out a much more confident side in the second half, with Saka and Martin Odegaard causing problems. They grabbed a vital equalizer in the 61st minute when Oleksandr Zinchenko blasted past Villa goalkeeper Martinez.
It seemed as though the Gunners’ luck had run out this season when Odegaard missed a glaring opportunity at an open goal. However, Jorginho’s phenomenal long-range strike in the 90+3rd minute deflected off Martinez and into the back of the net. The goal went down as an own goal for the shot-stopper.
Gabriel Martinelli secured Arsenal’s win in the 90+8th minute, guiding the ball into an empty net after the Gunners had broken on the counter. It was a crucial victory for Arteta’s outfit, who move above City at the top of the league for the time being. They boast a three-point lead over Pep Guardiola’s side, who will face Nottingham Forest later today.
A frenetic end to an enthralling clash between Arsenal and Villa went the way of the title challengers. One fan jokingly claimed that Martinez’s past allegiance to the north Londoners played its part:
“Once a Gunner, always a Gunner.”
Meanwhile, another fan suggested the Argentine goalkeeper was doing undercover work:
“Agent Emi Martinez”
Here’s how Twitter reacted to the Gunners’ last-gasp win over the Villains:
BIG. THREE. POINTS. pic.twitter.com/REx0sb1RpF
— Arsenal (@Arsenal) February 18, 2023
Once a gunner always a gunner. Thank you emi Martinez #AVLARS pic.twitter.com/8ePqZAQlz5
— Thomas. (@ThomasDunne04) February 18, 2023
Jorginho has just repaid whatever Arsenal paid for him in full with that strike. Not just that it’s a superb strike but it’s a big 3 points for Arteta ‘s men. The fact that Arsenal always fight to the end is such an improvement & upgrade in mentality. 👏🏼 #AVLARS
— Okon ‘Ediye’ Nya (@iamOkon) February 18, 2023
Jorginho to Troll Football#AVLARSpic.twitter.com/DTlNZSMr5Y
— Rohan (@Rohan5640) February 18, 2023
Agent Emi Martinez, my goat 🐐 #AVLARS pic.twitter.com/vcR4BP64x5
— AFCEAKS (@afceaks) February 18, 2023
THANK YOU CHELSEA #AVLARS
— Arsenal Nigeria 🇳🇬 (@ArsenalNigeria_) February 18, 2023
Arsenal Fans right now:
— 💀 (@19oo97) February 18, 2023
I dont even like arsenal but that is just pure karma after martinez and villa timewasted for 90 minutes #AVLARS
— Keiren (@keiren979) February 18, 2023
Two GOATs, really #AVLARS pic.twitter.com/oxHHcRK1ke
— Yasuke (@davvitsol) February 18, 2023
Emi Martinez time-wasting for the whole of the 2nd half, only for him to end up heading it into his own goal in the 93rd minute.
Football takes karma VERY seriously 😂
— Footy Accumulators (@FootyAccums) February 18, 2023
Thank you Chelsea football club for Jorginho.
Thank you Todd Boehly for helping us in this title race especially on deadline day. pic.twitter.com/hCTDS5RB3H
— Arsenal ANOOP (@ArsenalAnoop) February 18, 2023
Jorginho top top performance. Again. Would love to see Mikel find a way to include both he and Partey in the XI
— Jon (@jon_glenn) February 18, 2023
No one can convince me Thomas Teye Partey didn’t play against Aston Villa today, that goal from Jorginho 😱😱😱
— ՏᗴᒪOᖇᗰ 📍 (@selormafc) February 18, 2023
Buakyo Saka’s game by numbers vs. Aston Villa:
10 ground duels won
4/5 tackles won
3 dribbles completed
3 ball recoveries
Arsenal’s key man. 🔑 pic.twitter.com/IsG8D0k5t3
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) February 18, 2023
if I was saka I would be asking for 300k a week from arsenal or dont hit my line
— O.Sonuga (@o_sonuga14) February 18, 2023
Saka played that whole second half injured by the way! Warrior!!!!!
— Dongo 🇨🇩👑 (@Dongo_19) February 18, 2023
Never dare to question the Talent-Eye of MIKEL ARTETA pic.twitter.com/TpgDKnPLAN
— Subigya (@goonermani) February 18, 2023
Those line breaking passes man. Arteta might begin to see the 18 month deal for Jorginho as too short
— Barnes AFC 🔴⚪️ (@barnesafc) February 18, 2023
Arsenal fans celebrating going top of the league thanks to an OG from Emi Martinez. pic.twitter.com/CTPJ8cBFaM
— Paddy Power (@paddypower) February 18, 2023
Emi Martinez will not see heaven.
— ًEl. (@UtdEIIis) February 18, 2023
Emi Martinez scores his 1st goal for Arsenal pic.twitter.com/RQLE3kJBpY
— Troll Football (@TrollFootball) February 18, 2023
Martin Odegaard has now registered 15 goals + assists for Arsenal so far this season. Only Bukayao Saka (17) has more for Arsenal.
The conduit. ⚡ pic.twitter.com/sHPfatZRmt
— Statman Dave (@StatmanDave) February 18, 2023
Big comeback win by Arsenal today…let’s get that title!
— Kevin Thomas (@kevthomusic) February 18, 2023
Big results can have a lasting impact. And coming off a big defeat, this was a BIG win.
The turnaround second half was fantastic. Arsenal looked themselves again.
Hilarious to see Martinez get his comeuppance. And won’t forget big defensive moments from Ramsdale & Gabriel. pic.twitter.com/0z3v2GDVtt
— gunnerblog (@gunnerblog) February 18, 2023
2009 – Arsenal have won a Premier League game they were losing at half-time outside of London for the first time since December 2009 (2-1 at Liverpool). Temperament. pic.twitter.com/xu4zvhrp8l
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) February 18, 2023
It’s high time Arteta trusts Fabio Viera
— Solowmon 😇✨🇺🇬 (@solomon4866) February 18, 2023
Jorginho was in a buoyant mood over Arsenal’s title chances despite defeat to Manchester City
Arsenal’s defeat to City was a massive setback as they fell to second place. However, Jorginho was confident his side just needed to believe as they eye a first title since 2004. He told BT Sport:
“These big games are about details. We made mistakes and they punished us. But I haven’t seen too many teams put in that sort of performance against City, and to be honest, I’m proud of the team.”
“We have an amazing group of guys here and the energy of the stadium was really incredible. Everything is there for us, we just need to believe even more now.”
Arteta’s side next face Leicester City at the King Power on February 25. They will be keen viewers of how the reigning champions fare against Forest later today.