Wow. What a quite mental weekend for the mighty Gunners in England’s second city. Full of frustration, euphoria and drama of the highest order. I’ve spoken before about football delivering searing highs and crushing lows. Thankfully for us, this weekend it was the former.
Villa away is a game I tend to enjoy. Birmingham is easy enough to get to for me and in recent years we’ve enjoyed some good results up there. However I was nervous ahead of this one. Very nervous. After some shaky games and some even shakier performances we needed to win. Simple as that. Five minutes in we were off to the worst possible start. A sluggish Zinchenko lost the ball and couldn’t recover before a a good ball landed for Ollie Watkins (who as a side point is a crap striker), he fired across Ramsdale and we needed to come from behind. Which we did through Saka who, presented with the option, volleyed a rocket past Emi Martinez. More on him later.
However more sloppy defending meant we ended up going in at the half 2-1 down. Did we deserve to be? Probably. We’ve found something in this team so many times this season and we’d need to find some more if we were to maintain our improbable title charge. The Premier League for all its faults, is known for drama. It’s sold on drama. And drama is just what we got. We started much better in the second half, we began to find the space and turn the screw. Fifteen minutes after the restart we were level. Zinchenko first his left footed shot low and hard and was inch-perfect as it nestled in the corner. A big moment for the boyhood Arsenal fan but he was focused on the job.
Emery started to panic, in a move that every Arsenal fan should be accustomed with he began frantically making subs as he watched the tie slip away from his team. Martinez began time wasting to the next level and even after being booked simply carried on knowing he’d never get sent off. For someone who won a cup with Arsenal his behaviour since leaving has been embarrassing and quite frankly he’s acted like a little prick. However karma comes back around. We kept pressing, Ramsdale pulled off a phenomenal save to keep us level, 6 minutes were added on and it seemed like we’d once again drop two vital points. Two minutes into injury time the ball was pulled back to Jorginho, who struck it first time. It crashed off the bar, hit Martinez on the head and bobbled in. Chaos. Drama. Euphoria. But we weren’t done.
Moments later, directly against the instructions of his manager, Martinez came up for a Villa corner to try and be the hero. It was headed clear and Fabio Viera played Martinelli through with an empty goal at his mercy, he was celebrating before he’d even rolled it in. 4-2. Comeback complete!
A great win and a moment to celebrate. Mettle, resolve, tenacity. We showed them in abundance. But there’s no time to rest. Leicester awaits.