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One man key as Arsenal continue their 100% record with Villa win: Player Ratings, fan reaction and more

Arsenal vs Aston Villa: Player Ratings, fan reaction and more

Arsenal continued their 100% record as they edged out Aston Villa away 2-1 in front of a raucous home crowd at the Emirates Stadium, piling the pressure on Steven Gerrard in the process.

The Gunners dominated the first half, and could well have been several goals clear were it not for a combination of poor misses and brilliant blocks on the behalf of the visiting side, but a mistake from former Gunner Emi Martinez saw him parry Granit Xhaka’s shot into the path of Gabriel Jesus, who tapped in to give his side the lead.

It was a more even second half, and a goal directly from a corner from substitute Douglas Luiz left Arsenal fans wondering whether it would be a case of missed opportunities.

However, the response was immediate. Bukayo Saka found Martinelli free at the back post, with the Brazilians poke towards goal evading Martinez despite a desperate claw, and the Gunners rode out a nervy final 10 minutes to ensure that they took maximum points once again, keeping their place atop the table.

The result hands Villa their worst start to the season since 1997, and questions will continue to be asked of Steven Gerrard as they continue to struggle.

Here’s how we rated the teams.


Aaron Ramsdale – 6

Ben White – 6

Solid but unspectacular, was taken off on the hour as Tomiyasu stepped up his return to fitness.

William Saliba – 6

Another solid outing for the Frenchman, but a moment of sloppiness saw him booked. Didn’t put a foot wrong otherwise.

Gabriel – 7

A brilliant performance from the Brazilian at the heart of the Gunners’ defence.

Kieran Tierney – 5

Was understandably a little rusty given his long period on the sidelines, but remained the weak point in the Gunners defence.

Sambi Lokonga – 7

Thrown in due to injuries to Mohamed Elneny and Thomas Partey, Lokonga put in a solid performance at the base of Arsenal’s midfield.

Granit Xhaka – 7

The Swiss international is revelling in his new role higher up the pitch, and is getting better as a result. Another good performance.

Martin Odegaard – 8

Ran the game again for the Gunners, even without getting on the scoresheet. Arteta will be hoping that his injury isn’t too serious

Bukayo Saka – 7

Was brilliant until the final ball for much of the game, where he was guilty of a poor miss. As he quietened in the game as a whole, he managed to find the all-important cross for the second goal.

Gabriel Jesus – 7

Grabbed the all-important opening goal, and continued to terrorise the Aston Villa defence in the first half. Influence waned as Arsenal lost their iron grip in the second.

Gabriel Martinelli – 7

Forced a fine save from Martinez with a rasping 30 yard strike, and came up with what proved to be the winning goal for his side.


Takehiro Tomiyasu – 6

Replaced Ben White and was for the most part like-for-like. Competed well in the air.

Emile Smith Rowe – 6

Came on for Martin Odegaard but did little as his side held on to the result.

Rob Holding – N/A

Was only on the pitch for the final three minutes.

Eddie Nketiah – N/A

Was only on the pitch for the final three minutes.

Aston Villa

Emiliano Martinez – 4

Spilled the ball at Jesus’ feet for the opening goal. Should have done better with the second goal. A bad return to the Emirates for the Argentine.

Matty Cash – 5

Was given the runaround by Martinelli in the first half, but improved massively in the second 45.

Ezri Konsa – 5

Was the better of the two centre-backs but struggled to play through Arsenal’s press, especially in the first half.

Tyrone Mings – 4

Lucky not to give away pen and shrugged off by Jesus in first 15 minutes, the former Villa captain looked all at sea against Arsenal’s dynamic attack.

Lucas Digne – 5

A poor night for the Frenchman, who struggled to cope with Bukayo Saka.

Boubacar Kamara – 6

Was lucky not to be booked earlier than he was, but broke up play well even if he could not get on the ball as much as he would have liked.

Jacob Ramsey – 5

Largely ineffective and could not work in the positions that he would ideally want to. Will have better nights.

John McGinn – 5

A poor outing for McGinn, who was consistently bypassed by the Arsenal midfield.

Emiliano Buendia – 5

Came into the game in flashes, but could not hold onto the ball

Ollie Watkins – 6

Worked tirelessly for his side but got no change out of the Arsenal defenders.

Leon Bailey – 6

Was Aston Villa’s main threat but his end product was lacking and his decision making was poor in key areas.


Douglas Luiz – 6

Scored with just his second touch of the game directly from a corner, but was otherwise unremarkable as his side chased the game.

Philippe Coutinho – 5

Came on to change the game but hardly touched the ball.

Danny Ings – 5

Like Watkins, got no change out of the Arsenal defenders as he came on in the final 10 minutes.

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Ben Browning

Football writer and analyst. Long-time writer of all things Arsenal and avid watcher of European football. Happy to discuss all things football over on Twitter.

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