Gabriel Martinelli popped up with the winner 13 minutes from time to beat Aston Villa 2-1 and extend our winning start to the season to five games.
The Brazilian netted the crucial goal just three minutes after the visitors had pulled level against the run of play through a Douglas Luiz effort direct from corner, which cancelled out Gabriel Jesus’ 30th-minute strike.
However Martinelli’s third goal of the season handed us a deserved victory from a game we dominated throughout, which was the 200th since we moved to Emirates Stadium.
Pressure pays off
It took just 10 minutes for Emiliano Martinez to begin seeing his goal peppered with shots from all angles. Firstly, Jesus forced him into a save, and from the resulting corner Gabriel saw an effort deflect narrowly wide, and then the defender shot straight at our former shot-stopper.
Jesus would test his fellow South American again before a desperate block by Tyrone Mings prevented Martin Odegaard from netting for the third game in succession, and then with the goal gaping Bukayo Saka managed to screw a dangerous cross wide as a golden chance went begging.
But finally, on the half-hour mark they made their pressure tell. There wasn’t much danger when Martinelli found Granit Xhaka on the edge of the box, but his low cross clipped Ezri Konsa and spun goalwards, forcing Martinez to palm the ball into the path of Jesus who gobbled up the chance to put his side in front.
Villa offered very little in attack in the opening 45 minutes, and were lucky to escape into the interval just one goal behind when a goalmouth scramble following another Jesus saved shot saw the ball hacked off the line, and an amazing full-length save by Martinez denied Martinelli netting an outrageous half-volley which looked destined for the top corner.
Following the restart, chances were more of a premium despite us getting into plenty of promising positions. Odegaard again forced Martinez to fling himself through the air to keep the ball out with a free-kick.
But while it was still 1-0 Villa knew they only needed one moment of inspiration or luck and the fingertips of Aaron Ramsdale were required to deny Leon Bailey complete a counter-attack, but that would lead to the visitors’ equaliser when Douglas Luiz scored directly from a corner, and survived a VAR check for holding on Ramsdale from Ollie Watkins on the goalline.
Martinelli the man
However, just as we have done all season when facing a setback, we quickly recovered and three minutes later got back in front. Martinelli started and finished the move, cutting in from the left and finding Takehiro Tomiyasu, who coolly slipped in Saka. His cross towards the back post was perfect for Martinelli, whose finish just managed to deceive Martinez.
The final stages saw us hold onto the points relatively comfortably with Ramsdale untested again, as we held onto top spot in the Premier League and kept our 100 per cent record intact.
Facts and stats
We have won their opening five league matches in a season for the first time since the 2004/05 campaign.
Gabriel Jesus has been involved in six goals in his first five Premier League appearances for us (3 goals, 3 assists), a record by a player in their first five games for the Gunners, breaking Mesut Özil's record (5).
Jesus is yet to lose a single Premier League match in which he's found the net (49 - W46 D3).
There were just 151 seconds between Aston Villa equalising through Douglas Luiz and us retaking the lead via Gabriel Martinelli.
Martinelli has four goals in his last six Premier League matches, as many as in his previous 22 combined.
Bukayo Saka registered his 17th Premier League assist for Arsenal – in Premier League history, only Cesc Fabregas (38), Wayne Rooney (22) and Michael Owen (18) have more assists before turning 21.
We are one of only two sides yet to concede in the first half of Premier League games this season, along with Brighton, and have faced a league-low 10 shots and three shots on target in the first halves of games.
Following the closure of the transfer window on Thursday, Sunday sees us travel to Old Trafford to take on Manchester United, before we head to Switzerland for our first Europa League group stage game against FC Zurich on Thursday, September 8.
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