Arsenal 2-1 Aston Villa: Gabriel Martinelli winner helps Gunners maintain 100% start
Arsenal 2-1 Aston Villa: Gabriel Martinelli winner helps Gunners maintain 100% start

Gabriel Jesus scores
Gabriel Jesus has been on the winning side in 46 of the 49 Premier League games in which he has scored and has not lost in any of them

Arsenal maintained their 100% start to the season to stay top of the Premier League with a narrow victory over a lacklustre Aston Villa side.

The result is likely to heap more pressure on Villa boss Steven Gerrard who has seen his side lose four of their first five fixtures.

However, he could have few complaints here with his side struggling to match the hosts' intensity particularly in a one-sided first period.

Gabriel Jesus' third goal of the season was a meagre reward for Arsenal's first-half dominance with the Brazilian forward sweeping a low effort past Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez after he had fumbled Granit Xhaka's deflected shot.

And while Villa improved after the break and found an equaliser directly from Douglas Luiz's corner - as Arsenal goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale protested that he was impeded by Boubacar Kamara - they were on level terms for less than three minutes.

Mikel Arteta's side, who carried the greater threat throughout went straight back on the offensive and regained their lead with Gabriel Martinelli turning in Bukayo Saka's pinpoint cross.

It means Arsenal have won their opening five league matches for the first time since the 2004-05 campaign, when they went on to finish second.

Arsenal good value for victory

While Arsenal stuttered to a victory by the same scoreline against Fulham last weekend they more than merited their three points against Villa.

Superior in all departments before the break, the Emirates crowd reacted with a mixture of relief and joy when Martinelli turned matchwinner with his fourth goal in his last six top-flight matches.

Arteta's side had been given an early jolt by Emiliano Buendia's third-minute effort but from there on it was one-way traffic as the Gunners created a series of excellent chances which should have seen them out of sight by the break.

Saka badly miscued to fire wide of an empty net from Martinelli's cross, while Odegaard saw his goal-bound shot blocked on the line by Villa defender Ezri Konsa and Matty Cash also prevented another touch off Saka from creeping over the line.

Martinez, despite his error for Jesus' goal, excelled for the visitors and also made a fine save to tip Martinelli's superb volley over the bar, while centre-back Gabriel also twice went close.

However, for all their free-flowing attacking, Arteta will likely have been most satisfied by the resolve that his side showed when they were pegged back.

The Gunners will now travel to Manchester United on Sunday in buoyant mood, though Arteta's next challenge might be how he rotates his squad with the club's Europa League campaign set to begin next week at FC Zurich.

Meanwhile, Villa will play host to champions Manchester City, who have scored 10 goals in their last two games, needing to quickly address the defensive frailties that saw Arsenal repeatedly carve them open to register 22 shots on goal.

Player of the match

Gabriel JesusGabriel Jesus

Line-ups

Arsenal

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1Ramsdale
  • 4WhiteSubstituted forTomiyasuat 64'minutes
  • 12SalibaBooked at 48mins
  • 6Gabriel
  • 3Tierney
  • 23Sambi Lokonga
  • 34Xhaka
  • 7SakaSubstituted forHoldingat 88'minutes
  • 8ØdegaardBooked at 39minsSubstituted forSmith Roweat 81'minutes
  • 11Martinelli
  • 9Gabriel JesusSubstituted forNketiahat 88'minutes

Substitutes

  • 10Smith Rowe
  • 14Nketiah
  • 16Holding
  • 17Cédric Soares
  • 18Tomiyasu
  • 21Ferreira Vieira
  • 27Oliveira Alencar
  • 30Turner
  • 72Smith

Aston Villa

Formation 4-3-3

  • 1Martínez
  • 2Cash
  • 4KonsaBooked at 54mins
  • 5Mings
  • 27Digne
  • 41J RamseyBooked at 13mins
  • 44KamaraSubstituted forIngsat 83'minutes
  • 7McGinnBooked at 68minsSubstituted forDouglas Luizat 73'minutes
  • 31Bailey
  • 11Watkins
  • 10BuendíaSubstituted forCoutinhoat 73'minutes

Substitutes

  • 6Douglas Luiz
  • 9Ings
  • 16Chambers
  • 17Augustinsson
  • 18Young
  • 23Coutinho
  • 25Olsen
  • 35Archer
  • 47Iroegbunam

Referee:
Robert Jones

Attendance:
60,012

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