Arsenal returned to the top of the Premier League after a controversial win against Aston Villa, ending a 4-game winless streak.
|Jorginho celebrates after firing Arsenal in front on Saturday at Villa Park. Arsenal won 4-2 to return to the top of the log. (Photo credit: Sky Sports)|
Arsenal moved back to the top of the Premier League table after briefly losing the top spot to Manchester City on Wednesday following a 3-1 home loss to the reigning champions.
The Gunners ended a streak of four games without a win in all competitions, which included a 1-1 draw at home against Brentford last weekend.
However, the way they did it was controversial and led to the firing of Lee Mason as VAR.
Aston Villa hosted the Gunners in the lunchtime kickoff, and Unai Emery, a familiar figure to the Gunners, made five changes to the side that lost to City 3-1, with Philippe Coutinho coming in for his first start since the sacking of Steven Gerrard last year.
Thomas Partey is still out, Jorginho returned in midfield alongside Granit Xhaka, and Leandro Trossard made his first start in the league.
Ollie Watkins fired in the opener as early as the fifth minute following a fine Matty Cash cross-field pass.
Bukayo Saka levelled with a brilliant volley about ten minutes later, but Arsenal got pegged back again just after the half-hour mark.
Ben White was caught napping, and a fine Emi Buendia dummy set up Coutinho, who sent Aaron Ramsdale the wrong way.
Arsenal came out smoking in the second half, but they needed to be patient as Villa formed a low block that was hard to break down.
It all opened up for Arsenal on the hour mark after Martin Odegaard set up Alex Zincheko, who fired fiercely low and hard past Emi Martinez for Arsenal’s second equalizer.
Odegaard had a fine chance to make it 3-2 but shot wide after Eddie Nketiah picked the pocket of Cash to set up the Dane.
Nketiah himself missed a couple of chances, one of which was a through ball that he took around Martinez but blazed over.
Arsenal were on the verge of dropping points when substitute Leon Bailey raced down the right and fired at Ramsdale in goal, but the Three Lions goalkeeper parried to the crossbar to keep the game level.
Three minutes into the six minutes of extra time, substitute Gabriel Martinelli found Jorginho at the edge of the Villa box, and the former Chelsea midfielder sent one that crashed off the crossbar but was headed back into the net by Martinez.
The Argentine World Cup winner wanted to atone for his own goal so badly that he went up to contest a corner kick, but it was headed out by William Saliba onto the path of Fabio Vieira, who threaded it nicely to Martinelli for the Brazilian to roll the ball into an empty net.
With City dropping points at Nottingham Forest, Arsenal returned to the top of the log with a two-point advantage.