Arsenal leave it late for deserved win after missed chances threaten to derail perfect start

·2-min read
Arsenal made it five wins in a row against Aston Villa  (Getty Images)
Arsenal made it five wins in a row against Aston Villa (Getty Images)

Arsenal kept up their perfect start to the Premier League season by beating Aston Villa, but this was a night that was far more stressful than it should have been.

The Gunners were utterly dominant for 90 per cent of Wednesday’s game however they were so nearly punished by one lapse in concentration.

That came when Douglas Luiz swung in a corner and it beat everyone, even goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale (who claimed he was being pinned by Boubacar Kamara), to find the net.

In years gone by that would have sucked the life out of the fans at Emirates Stadium, who before that were wondering how this game wasn’t dead and buried.

Arsenal didn’t so much as knock on the Villa door during the first-half, but smash at it with a baseball bat. For all their efforts though, a grand total of 15 shots, they had nothing more to show than a Gabriel Jesus goal.

The second-half was more of the same as Arsenal continued to open up their opponents, with Martin Odegaard once again excellently pulling the strings in midfield.

He was aided by Granit Xhaka, whose renaissance continues, and Albert Sambi Lokonga, who did well in the absence of the injured Mohamed Elneny and Thomas Partey.

Luiz’s goal in the 74th minute, though, threatened to undo all their good work as he silenced the home crowd.

That was only temporary however and, as has been the case this season, Arsenal responded in a matter of minutes. Saka, who had been having a frustrating night, finally got his reward by finding Martinelli at the back post to tap home.

Gabriel Martinelli hit the late winner (AP)
Gabriel Martinelli hit the late winner (AP)

It was no more than Arsenal deserved and they head to face Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday top of the Premier League and with five wins from five.

They will know, however, that tonight was a reminder at how fragile this winning streak is.

If they do not kill games off then teams will punish them and Villa, who look likely to be embroiled in a relegation battle, almost left the Emirates with a point when they deserved nothing.