Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has hailed the “resilience” and “character” of his players after his side’s dramatic comeback win at Aston Villa.
After three Premier League matches without a win, the Gunners needed to bounce back against Unai Emery’s side on Saturday lunchtime.
The game started off horrendously after Ollie Watkins handed Villa an early lead. Bukayo Saka equalised for the visitors before Philippe Coutinho gave the Villans the lead once again.
Arteta’s men rallied back to win 4-2 thanks to three second-half goals, though they had goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale to thank for a world-class save to deny Leon Bailey when the score was level at 2-2.
Arteta was high in praise of his players after the win that put Arsenal back on top of the Premier League following Wednesday’s loss to reigning champions Manchester City.
“We showed character, resilience,” Arteta told BT Sport.
“We have to take some lessons from today – in the first half we didn’t do the simple things right. We gave them a chance to score two goals in a simple way. They had two shots and they scored two goals. Credit to them for that.
“In the second half we created chance after chance. We needed a magic moment and Jorginho produced it. He has many qualities but that probably isn’t his biggest strength.
“After what happened a few days ago, we’re so pleased to win the game. If you want to be at the top you have to win games in many different ways.
“It was absolutely bouncing [in the dressing room], it was a big effort to play less than 72 hours after the result we had. I’m really pleased with the boys.”
Oleksandr Zinchenko netted the crucial equaliser – his first-ever Premier League goal – before Jorginho’s injury-time strike hit the bar and ricocheted off former Arsenal ‘keeper Emiliano Martinez to go in the bottom corner.
Zinchenko was obviously happy to score a goal in the Premier League, though he insisted the win was the “most important” thing.
“From this game I would like to say two things,” the Ukrainian began. “First we took an unbelievable lesson for all of us that we need to believe until the very end. Like I said in the past, this group has such amazing people, can achieve everything they want. If we are going to keep fighting and keep believing. The reaction from all of us in the second half is a perfect way to go.
“I’m so happy to help with my goal but most important is to take the three points.
“We would like to go in the dressing room as soon as possible but there are still a lot of games to play and we just need to keep going, keep fighting and keep believing we can do everything.”
January signing Jorginho added: “That’s the Premier League. That’s why it’s the best league in the world. It’s just beautiful.
“It was very important after the last results we had. The start wasn’t easy when we were not producing our game. We came in at half-time, had a chat and then we went back doing the basics we need to do and changed the game.
“The last time I hit the post and it went back off the keeper it didn’t go in so I’m glad today it did.”