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Martinelli’s winner helps Arsenal maintain winning start in EPL

- August 31, 2022

Gabriel Martinelli got the winner as Arsenal beat Aston Villa 2-1 to maintain their perfect start to the Premier League season.

Douglas Luiz’s goal direct from a corner – the Brazil international’s second such strike this term – had cancelled out compatriot Gabriel Jesus’ first-half opener at Emirates Stadium.

Emiliano Martinez was at fault for Jesus’ goal and despite a number of fine saves, attracted the blame again for Martinelli’s strike three minutes after Villa’s equaliser.

Playing against his former club, Martinez flapped at Martinelli’s volley as Arsenal ensured they won five in a row to start a top-flight campaign for only the fourth time in the club’s history.

Martinez was on hand to deny Jesus inside ten minutes before a Martin Odegaard effort was blocked by Tyrone Mings.

A deserved Arsenal opener came in the 30th minute – Granit Xhaka’s driven cross deflecting off Ezri Konsa and, with Martinez only able to fumble the ball into the path of Jesus, who smashed home.

Villa came out with more purpose in the second half and found the equaliser in remarkable fashion, substitute Douglas Luiz scoring direct from a corner with only his second touch as Aaron Ramsdale’s appeals for a foul fell on deaf ears.

But Arsenal’s response was swift, Bukayo Saka’s right-wing cross finding Martinelli, whose volley had too much power for the scrambling Martinez, inflicting Steven Gerrard’s side to a fourth defeat from their five league matches, with Villa fortunate that Arsenal passed up a pair of late chances to further their lead.

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