Arsenal 3-2 Aston Villa: 10-man Gunners pull off miraculous win despite more defensive mistakes
PUBLISHED: 18:31 22 September 2019 | UPDATED: 18:31 22 September 2019
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Arsenal pulled off an unlikely win as they battled from behind to beat Aston Villa 3-2 in the Premier League at the Emirates on Sunday afternoon, but there are still huge concerns defensively after another poor display at the back.
John McGinn put the visitors ahead on 20 minutes when the Gunners let him run into the box unmarked before tucking the ball into the net.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles was sent off just four minutes before half-time for a second booking, despite winning the ball as he challenged Anwar El Ghazi to end a miserable first-half for the home side.
Arsenal levelled on 59 minutes when Nicolas Pepe smashed in a penalty for his first goal for the club, but another error at the back saw Wesley tap Villa back in front.
With the game looking lost, substitute Calum Chambers battle brilliantly inside the area to stab home and equalise, before Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang curled home a free-kick to somehow win the game.
Bukayo Saka was rewarded for his brilliant display against Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League on Thursday night, as he kept his place to make his full Premier League debut.
Unai Emery made six changes to the team that won 3-0 in Germany as Bernd Leno, Maitland-Niles, Sokratis, Matteo Guendouzi, Dani Ceballos and Nicolas Pepe all came into the starting XI.
The Gunners had the game's opening chance and should have been ahead inside two minutes when Maitland-Niles was found unmarked at the back post, but he skied his effort over the bar and into the Clock End from six yards out.
The away side looked the more dangerous in the first 10 minutes, threatening on the counter-attack as McGinn and El Ghazi both tested Leno from range.
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Arsenal's defensive frailties came back to haunt them once again after dropping points in recent games, as Villa took a deserved lead on 20 minutes.
McGinn was allowed the freedom of north London as he ghosted into the area unmarked to flick home the opener from El Ghazi's cross, leaving the Emirates both stunned and frustrated once again.
Things went from bad to worse for the home side on 41 minutes as Maitland-Niles - already in the book for a foul on El Ghazi - dived into a challenge on the winger and despite winning the ball was shown a second yellow by referee Jon Moss, reducing them to 10 men.
The defender also had to be helped off the pitch because of an injury, further compounding the Gunners' misery.
Despite Villa seeing most of the ball early in the second-half, Arsenal were given a lifeline on 59 minutes when Guendouzi drifted past a host of defenders before being fouled inside the area by Bjorn Engels.
Moss pointed to the spot, giving Pepe the chance to score his first goal for the club, one which he took as he slammed the penalty down the middle to bring the score level.
But again, the Gunners' defensive issues cost them as the away side retook the lead just two minutes later.
Grealish was allowed space to charge into the box and those in red and white stood and watched as the captain cut the ball back for Wesley to tap home, with Luiz unable to stop his compatriot.
Arsenal's 10 men piled on the pressure but looked unlikely to equalise until Chambers popped up the area, battling to win the ball from Neil Taylor before stabbing the ball home.
In the ascendancy, Emery's men pressed for a winner and they got it in superb style.
Aubameyang won a free-kick which he stepped up to take, curling the ball beyong Tom Heaton to break Villa hearts and send the Emirates wild in celebration.
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