ARSENAL overcame falling behind twice and having a man sent off to beat Aston Villa 3-2.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles' red card, shortly after John McGinn's opener for the visitors, set up another nervy day at the office for the Gunners.
And even an equaliser from the spot by Nicolas Pepe, the record signing's first goal in an Arsenal shirt, counted as mere momentary reprieve.
Within 90 seconds, Villa had again taken the lead as Jack Grealish was given the freedom of North London to tee up Wesley.
Somehow the newly-promoted side still left Emirates Stadium empty-handed.
Calum Chambers latched on to a loose ball to bury Arsenal's second equaliser before Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang sealed the comeback with a smart 83rd minute free-kick.
Here's how Mark Irwin rated the individual performances.
Bernd Leno – 6
Europe’s busiest keeper had already made four saves when he was abandoned by his defence again as McGinn was left totally alone to open the scoring.
Ainsley Maitland-Niles – 1
Skied great early chance and went downhill from there. Failed to stop El Ghazy crossing for Villa’s opening goal and lucky to only get a yellow for tripping the Villa winger. No escape when he ploughed through El Ghazy again to receive a second booking.
David Luiz – 5
Starts so many attacks with his long passes from the back but that doesn’t compensate for his lack of defensive awareness. Slow to react when Wesley nipped in to score Villa’s second.
Sokratis Papastathopoulos – 5
Arsenal’s so-called hard man was guilty of disgraceful play-acting when he tangled with Wesley and then collapsed to the ground clutching his face when it was clear that no contact had been made.
Sead Kolasinac – 5
Provides so much of Arsenal’s attacking threat down the left but that means he is often out of position to defend against the counter attack and needs more cover from the midfield.
Granit Xhaka – 4
Booked again for pulling back Jack Grealish and looked to be an accident waiting to happen when he was briefly switched to right-back after Maitland-Niles’ 38th minute red card. Even Arsenal fans were calling for him to be sent-off and cheered when he was subbed.
Matteo Guendouzi – 6
Needs to focus on doing the simple stuff well before going for the Hollywood passes. Switched off at Villa’s opener, failing to go with McGinn’s run. Won the penalty and hit a post but his defensive failures were there for all to see.
Dani Ceballos – 7
Arsenal’s most creative player once again and it’s not difficult to see why he continues to get the nod over Mesut Ozil. But he needs to do more to close down when the opposition are in possession.
Nicolas Pepe – 6
Arsenal’s record signing is clearly desperate to start making an impact after a nondescript start to his Premier League career. Buried his second-half spot kick but needs to be more of a threat than this.
Bukayo Saka – 7
Another lively performance from the teenager making his first Premier League start. Always looking to run at his full-back and was unlucky to be hooked at half-time for an extra defender to come on.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – 8
Arsenal’s man of the moment yet again, breaking Villa hearts with a stunning late free-kick for his seventh goal of the season. But the lone striker can’t continue to do it all on his own and needs a rest after carrying the weight of Arsenal’s attacking expectations all season.
Calum Chambers (for Saka, 45 mins) – 7
Arsenal’s unlikely hero when he robbed Neil Taylor to score a crucial 81st minute equaliser at the back post.
Joe Willock (for Xhaka, 71 mins) – 6
Lucas Torreira (for Ceballos, 71 mins) – 6
Source: Read Full Article