Arsenal narrowly sit at the summit of the Premier League after their win against former coach Unai Emery and Aston Villa in Villa Park. Despite beating Arsenal during the week, Manchester City failed to grab all three points in their visit to Nottingham Forest’s grounds later the same day.
Ollie Watkins shocked Mikel Arteta’s boys early into the game as, sliding past the Arsenal backline to bring Aston Villa ahead five minutes into the match. English star Bukayo Saka brought the Reds level before Phillip Coutinho brought Villa back up 2-1.
If there is one thing Arsenal has perfected since Arteta came in, it’s their resilience. Even as they equalized in the 60th minute, thanks to a brilliant Zinchenko strike, it was two more goals from Jorginho and Brazilian wonderboy Gabriel Martinelli that gave Arsenal a huge sigh of relief.
Manchester City has been Arsenal’s bogeyman this season, crashing out of the FA Cup after their first clash of the season. Arsenal then found another roadblock in the Emirates as the fell to City, losing the top of the league momentarily before the weekend.
Where does Arsenal go next?
Although they managed to capitalize off City tying against Nottingham, the Gunners still have a tough road ahead, as they have a visit to the Etihad left in their schedule, where the strength of their run this season will be put to a test. Down the road, they also await two more London derbies, against Chelsea and West Ham.
If they manage to grab favorable results from their remaining fixtures, Arsenal could very much reclaim a shout to the top of the Premier League pecking order as well as a return to the most prestigious competition available; the Champions League.
Arteta Has Paid Off
Serious doubts arose about Mikel Arteta’s ability to complete a task as huge as bringing Arsenal back to the top flight of football. However, after three steady years, the Spanish coach has built a competitive roster with a combination of underrated signings, such as Martin Ødegaard and Zinchenko and Hale End products like Bukayo Saka and Emile-Smith Rowe. The club’s patience with Arteta’s project has paid off with a possible Premier League title in almost 20 years.
This comes at an important time in Arsenal’s history. Their inability to capture anything significant beyond FA Cup titles has seen the club undergo various structural changes since legendary coach Arsene Wegner departed the club in 2018.
Now, the year’s storyline only comes true if Arteta can sustain a league-leading finish in their remaining fixtures. Arsenal now face Leicester City on Saturday, Feb. 25 in the Emirates Stadium.