Arsenal 3-2 Aston Villa: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang strikes late for 10-man Gunners

Ainsley Maitland-Niles was sent off for Arsenal but late goals from Calum Chambers and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang gave them all three points.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s late free-kick handed 10-man Arsenal a 3-2 Premier League win over Aston Villa at Emirates Stadium on Sunday.

The Gunners threw away a two-goal lead to draw with Watford last weekend and looked like they would be on the end of another disappointing result when John McGinn scored for Villa after 20 minutes.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles was sent off for the hosts shortly before the break, but Nicolas Pepe’s first goal for the club – from the penalty spot – pulled them level after 59 minutes.

Parity lasted for only a minute as Wesley’s close-range finish restored Villa’s lead, but Calum Chambers and Aubameyang struck in the final 10 minutes to move Unai Emery’s side up to fourth in the Premier League.

The outstanding McGinn gave Villa a shock lead, ghosting past a static backline to steer Anwar El Ghazi’s cross home with a deft flick.

Arsenal suffered a blow four minutes before the interval when Maitland-Niles received a second yellow card for a rash challenge on Neil Taylor.

They were handed a lifeline in the 59th minute, though, when Bjorn Engels clumsily brought down Matteo Guendouzi, allowing Pepe to open his account for the club from the spot.

Their joy was short-lived, however, as Villa went 2-1 up within a minute. Jack Grealish did wonderfully to power into the Arsenal area and pick out Wesley, who got in front of his marker to coolly slot past Bernd Leno for his second goal for the club.

Guendouzi thumped a long-range effort against the post before Chambers pulled Arsenal level for a second time in the 81st minute with a close-range finish.

That was followed three minutes later by Aubameyang’s dramatic winner, the striker superbly whipping into Tom Heaton’s left-hand corner from 20 yards to relieve the pressure on Emery.

What does it mean? Emery out of the spotlight…for now

Emery’s position has been under fresh scrutiny following the collapse at Vicarage Road, but he might enjoy a more relaxed week after two successive victories. They were far from flawless against Villa, but the nature of their comeback suggests the players are still very much playing for their coach.

McGinn shines in the capital again

He might have ended up on the losing side, but the Villa midfielder was once again superb. He has settled into life in the Premier League with consummate ease and followed up his opening day goal at Tottenham with another excellent finish in north London. It is little wonder that Manchester United were rumoured to be interested in signing him during the close season.

Maitland-Niles’ rashness almost costs Gunners

The 22-year-old never looked comfortable after an 11th-minute booking for a foul on El Ghazi and was dismissed for a wild lunge before the break, though he had to be helped off due to an injury. Alongside Emery, he will have been the most relieved person in the stadium when Aubameyang’s free-kick hit found the net.

Key Opta facts

– This game saw only the ninth occasion in Premier League history that a team has won a match after receiving a red card while losing – three of those wins have been by Arsenal (against Derby in 1997 and Bolton in 2008).
– The Gunners won a Premier League game they were trailing in at half-time for the first time since December 2018 (4-2 against Tottenham).
– Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has scored 16 goals in his last 16 games across all competitions for Arsenal, including in each of the last four games in a row (five goals).
– Nicolas Pepe has converted 10 penalties since the start of the 2018-19 season within the top five European leagues, the same number as Luka Milivojevic and Fabio Quagliarella.
– Ainsley Maitland-Niles has now been sent off twice in the Premier League in 2019, making him the first Arsenal player to receive multiple red cards in the competition in the same year since Laurent Koscielny in 2013 (also two).

What’s next?

Both sides are in EFL Cup action in midweek, with Arsenal hosting Nottingham Forest on Tuesday and Villa travelling to Brighton and Hove Albion a day later. Emery’s side then visit Manchester United in the Premier League, while Villa return to top-flight duties with a home game against Burnley.

Comments