Gabriel Jesus’s predatory instincts and a left-foot finish from Gabriel Martinelli earned Arsenal a 2-1 win over Aston Villa on Wednesday as the Gunners kept up their 100% start to the Premier League season.
The Brazilian pair scored either side of the break to give Arsenal a deserved triumph as they dominated the match, advancing to a maximum 15 points from five matches. Jesus opened the scoring in the 31st minute and Martinelli grabbed the 77th-minute winner, three minutes after Villa had equalised through substitute Douglas Luiz who scored directly from a corner.
Villa’s fourth defeat in five games added to the mounting pressure on manager Steven Gerrard. Arsenal had several early chances before Granit Xhaka’s effort from a tight angle was fumbled by goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez and snapped up by Jesus who scored from close range.
Martinez made up for the slip with a stunning save on the stroke of halftime from Martinelli’s rasping shot and soon after the break he denied a similar effort from home captain Martin Odegaard. Villa’s attacking effort were negligible until Leon Bailey forced a corner with a 73rd-minute shot, allowing Luiz to whip it directly into the net from the set-piece.
The goal was checked as Arsenal goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale tangled with Boubacar Kamara as the corner was taken and found himself stuck behind the Villa attacker and unable to deal with the in-swinging effort. VAR found no infringement to give Villa hope of a much-needed point as they flounder near the foot of the table. But Arsenal wasted no time in restoring their advantage with a long ball down the left to set Martinelli on his way for the winner. He played the ball inside before Bukayo Saka whipped it back across the goal for Martinelli to finish with aplomb.
Arsenal take their unbeaten record to Old Trafford to meet Manchester United on Sunday while there is little breathing room for Gerrard and his beleaguered side who host champions Manchester City on Saturday. (Writing by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Toby Davis and Ed Osmond)
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