The comeback of champions?! Arsenal winners & losers as Bukayo Saka stars again & time-wasting Emiliano Martinez gets what he deserves

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Arsenal celebrating Aston Villa Emiliano Martinez downbeat Premier League 2022-23
The Gunners rallied despite going behind twice at Villa Park to secure a crucial victory to ensure they bounced back from defeat to Manchester City.

Arsenal struck twice in stoppage time to seal a dramatic 4-2 win at Aston Villa and keep their Premier League title dreams very much alive.

It looked for long periods like Mikel Arteta's side were going to make it four games without a win in the league and lose even more ground on Manchester City.

But Jorginho's thunderous stoppage-time effort deflected in off Emiliano Martinez to give them a 3-2 lead and Gabriel Martinelli raced away to seal a crucial victory a couple of minutes later.

It was a massive win for Arsenal, who went into the game under real pressure after their 3-1 defeat to Manchester City on Wednesday night.

They could have easily crumbled after going behind to Ollie Watkins' early strike or when Philippe Coutinho restored Villa's lead after Bukayo Saka's equaliser.

But they kept their heads up and after Oleksandr Zinchenko had hauled them level again, they went on to claim the win in the most thrilling of circumstances to reignite their title dreams.

GOAL breaks down the winners & losers from Villa Park...

  1. WINNER: Jorginho
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    WINNER: Jorginho

    What a moment for the new boy. It had been a slow start at Arsenal for Jorginho after his surprise move from Chelsea, but he will very much feel part of the club now.

    The former Chelsea star had already enjoyed a fine game when a loose ball dropped to him just outside the box deep into injury time. 

    But his stunning strike, which crashed against the bar before defecting in off Emiliano Martinez, ensured he was undoubtedly the star of the show for the Gunners during their crucial win.

    It was a wonderful effort from the Italy international which capped an excellent display in the absence of Thomas Partey.

    Plenty questioned the wisdom of Arsenal turning to Jorginho in the January transfer window as they hunted for midfield reinforcements. But if he continues to operate at this level, those doubters will quickly be silenced.

  2. LOSER: Emiliano Martinez
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    LOSER: Emiliano Martinez

    A big part of the reason that referee Simon Hooper awarded six minutes of stoppage time at the end of the second half was due to the continued time wasting of the Aston Villa goalkeeper.

    So Arsenal will feel justice was served given they went on to score those two crucial goals in added time to get the win they needed to end their four-match run without a win.

    And to make matters worse for Martinez, Jorginho’s strike will go down as his own goal as the ball deflected in off his back having come down off the crossbar

    And then, moments later, the former Arsenal goalkeeper’s misery was made complete when he was caught upfield from a corner and Gabriel Martinelli was able to run clear to score into an empty net.

    It was a goal that capped a nightmare end to the game for Martinez.

  3. WINNER: Gabriel Martinelli
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    WINNER: Gabriel Martinelli

    This was the first time Gabriel Martinelli was left out of a Premier League starting XI this season.

    The Brazilian has struggled of late and hadn’t scored a goal in 2023, so it was no surprise to see Mikel Arteta opt for Leandro Trossard at Villa park, given the Belgian's eye-catching cameos off the bench in recent weeks.

    But Martinelli responded in superb fashion at Villa Park, coming off the bench to play a major part in the victory.

    It wasn't just his stoppage-time strike that sealed the victory, it was the way he ran at the Villa defence from the moment he replaced Trossard and put them on the back foot.

    Mikel Arteta was full of praise for Martinelli after the game and justifiably so. It was a match-winning cameo from the young winger.

  4. LOSER: Martin Odegaard

    LOSER: Martin Odegaard

    There were flashes of brilliance from Odegaard during the game, especially during a 20-minute period just after half-time.

    But Arsenal’s skipper was still far from his best and his horror miss 10 minutes from time will have given him nightmares for a long time, had the Gunners not struck twice in stoppage time to get him off the hook.

    When Eddie Nketiah stole possession in the final third and teed up his skipper, it seemed harder for Odeegard to miss than score.

    But that’s exactly what he did as he scuffed his finish beyond the far post with the goal at his mercy.

    The look of disbelief on Odegaard’s face said it and there would have been no-one as relieved as him when Jorginho’s late blockbuster deflected into the back of Martinez’s net.

  5. WINNER: Bukayo Saka
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    WINNER: Bukayo Saka

    The fact Arsenal’s winger managed to stay on the pitch until the very end is testament to his strength and durability.

    Saka was fouled constantly during the game, with Aston Villa players clearly targeting him whenever he was on the ball.

    The persistent fouling clearly took its toll, with Saka limping heavily for the majority of the contest.

    It looked at one point as if he was going to have to come off, but he somehow played through the pain and once again made a huge difference for his side.

    His first-half equaliser took his tally to 10 for the season and saw him move one goal ahead of Eddie Nketiah in the Arsenal scoring charts.

    It was another fine afternoon for the England international. 

  6. LOSER: Leandro Trossard
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    LOSER: Leandro Trossard

    Arsenal’s January arrival from Brighton deserved his place in the starting XI, but he was unable to make the impact he would have been hoping for.

    Like many of his team-mates, he struggled during what was a disappointing first-half display from the visitors.

    He did improve after the interval and looked threatening at times, but it was no surprise when he was replaced by Gabriel Martinelli.

    And the fact Martinelli came on and had such an impact on the game suggests that Trossard will be back on the bench next weekend when Arteta’s side travel to Leicester City.