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Winners & Losers

Martinelli magic! Arsenal winners, losers and ratings as Gunners pile misery on Aston Villa

21:54 BST 31/08/2022
Gabriel Martinelli Arsenal Aston Villa 2022-23
Arsenal maintained their 100 per cent start in the Premier League with a 2-1 win against Aston Villa on Wednesday.

The Gunners made it five wins from five in the Premier League after goals from Gabriel Jesus and Gabriel Martinelli ensured they will remain top of the table.

Mikel Arteta's side dominated throughout but looked like they might be left to rue a series of missed chances when Douglas Luiz cancelled out Jesus' opener with 15 minutes remaining.

But Martinelli restored Arsenal's advantage almost immediately, firing in at the back post from Bukayo Saka's excellent cross.

The Gunners now head to Old Trafford on Sunday afternoon for a huge clash with Manchester United.

  • Lokonga Arsenal Aston Villa 2022-23

    The Winners

    Winner: Sambi Lokonga

    This was a big night for Sambi Lokonga.

    All eyes were on the young Belgian midfielder with Thomas Partey and Mohamed Elneny out injured.

    Lokonga struggled during the back end of last season, leading many to suggest he wasn't ready for the Premier League.

    So he went into this game under plenty of pressure to produce a decent showing and he did exactly that.

    Winner: Gabriel Jesus

    It had been two games without a goal for Gabriel Jesus prior to tonight's game. Hardly a barren spell, but he wouldn't have wanted that run to go on much longer.

    Arsenal's big summer signing will have been delighted, then, to strike early in the first half with a fine poacher's finish from close range.

    Just what he would have wanted ahead of Sunday's big game at Manchester United.

    Winner: Gabriel Martinelli

    If at first you don't succeed, try, try again.

    Martinelli was denied a sensational goal by his good friend and former team-mate Emiliano Martinez in the first half.

    But as always, the Brazilian live wire kept his head up and was rewarded when he scored what proved to be the winner on 77 minutes.

    It was a goal his all-round performance deserved, taking his tally to three from five starts this season.

  • Steven Gerrard Aston Villa Arsenal

    The Losers

    Loser: Bukayo Saka

    This is not a criticism of Saka's performance, as it was probably his best so far this season.

    The Arsenal winger was really lively, especially in the first half, and caused Villa problems every time he was on the ball.

    But Saka will be really frustrated with himself that he didn't end his long run without a goal from open play.

    That run now stands at 15 games after this latest blank, with Saka wasting a couple of great opportunities to score, including one open goal which he miscued wide from Martinelli's cross.

    Loser: Robert Jones

    How Aston Villa ended the first half with only one booking is anyone's guess.

    The visitors dished out some hefty treatment during the game and got away with it time and time again.

    Tyrone Mings was fortunate not to give away a penalty when he grabbed Bukayo Saka in the first half and then Emiliano Martinez grabbed Gabriel Jesus round the neck after the interval and it was the Arsenal man who somehow got the talking to from the referee.

    Mikel Arteta was fuming at some of the decisions and it was not hard to see why.

    Loser: Steven Gerrard

    "You're getting sacked in the morning."

    Those were the words that echoed around the Emirates Stadium as the Arsenal fans had some fun taking aim at the Aston Villa manager.

    Whether they will be proved correct is doubtful, but there's no doubt that Gerrard is now under real pressure after his side's poor start to the season.

    Villa looked short of any real ideas as they were comfortably outplayed in all areas by Arsenal and on this evidence Gerrard could be in real trouble.

    He needs to turn things around quickly.

  • Gabriel Magalhaes Arsenal Aston Villa 2022-23

    Arsenal Ratings: Defence

    Aaron Ramsdale (5/10):

    Forced into a couple of routine stops, but other than that he was rarely tested until he allowed Luiz's corner to go straight in. He was complaining for a foul, but it looked like weak goalkeeping.

    Ben White (7/10):

    Another fine showing at right-back. Seems to have made the position his own now.

    William Saliba (7/10):

    Just gets better and better. Was booked, but that was the only blot on his copy book.

    Gabriel Magalhaes (7/10):

    Rarely troubled. Strong performance.

    Kieran Tierney (7/10):

    Went up a level from his performance against Fulham. Looked fitter and stronger. Got forward well.

  • Arsenal celebrate Aston Villa 2022-23


    Sambi Lokonga (8/10):

    A performance that will do him a lot of good. Neat and tidy, good in possession. Stepped up when needed.

    Granit Xhaka (8/10):

    Excellent once again. He's revelling in his more advanced role. His shot forced the mistake for Jesus' goal.

    Martin Odegaard (7/10):

    Pulled the strings as always. Always probing and never stopped working.

  • Gabriel Jesus Arsenal Aston Villa 2022-23


    Bukayo Saka (7/10):

    Best performance of the season, but will be kicking himself that he didn't score. Vital assist for the winner.

    Gabriel Jesus (8/10):

    Such a handful. Didn't get Villa's defence a moment's rest all night. Stayed alert to take advantage of Martinez's fumble to score.

    Gabriel Martinelli (8/10):

    So unlucky not to get on the scoresheet when his stunning half volley was saved by Martinez in the first half, but popped up when needed after the break.

  • Mikel Arteta Arsenal 2022-23

    Subs & Manager

    Takehiro Tomiyasu (6/10):

    Solid display after replacing White.

    Eddie Nketiah (6/10:

    Excellent late cameo. Kept the ball well and did exactly what the manager would have asked.

    Rob Holding (5/10):

    Sent on for the final few minutes to tighten things up.

    Emile Smith Rowe (5/10):

    Only got a few minutes and couldn't get involved.

    Mikel Arteta: (8/10)

    Took the decision to start with Lokonga in midfield and it paid off well.