ᑕ❶ᑐ Arsenal ‘can achieve anything’ after rekindling title hopes at Aston Villa – Oleksandr Zinchenko

arsenal "can do anything" After rekindling title hopes at Aston Villa - Oleksandr Zinchenko
Gabriel Martinelli marks his eighth goal of the season

Oleksandr Zinchenko insists Arsenal can achieve ‘whatever they want’ after Mikel Arteta’s side came from behind twice to beat Aston Villa and revive their Premier League title hopes.

The Gunners scored twice in stoppage time to return to the top of the table and end a three-game losing streak.

Ollie Watkins gave Villa an early lead and Philippe Coutinho, making his first Premier League start under former Gunners boss Unai Emery, added a second after Bukayo Saka equalized.

Zinchenko then restored parity on the hour mark, before drama escalated with two goals in stoppage time – an own goal from Emi Martinez after Jorginho’s strike hit the bar, and a breakaway from substitute Gabriel Martinelli.

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« About this match I would like to say two things, » Zinchenko told BT Sport afterwards. “First of all, we took an incredible lesson for all of us that we have to believe until the very end.

“Like I’ve said in the past, this group of such amazing people, can achieve anything they want if we keep fighting and believing. The reaction of all of us in the second half is a perfect path.

“We would like to go to the locker room as soon as possible, but there are still a lot of games to play and we just have to keep going, keep fighting and keep believing that we can do anything. »

As Zinchenko said, the Gunners have learned a lesson – they are able to find strength and conviction as the title race heats up.

arsenal "can do anything" After rekindling title hopes at Aston Villa - Oleksandr Zinchenko
Bukayo Saka has had 17 Premier League goal contributions during the season

Arsenal show strength in adversity

Perhaps the most impressive thing is that Arsenal didn’t panic. The chances came and went in the second half, and Villa carried their own threat, but the Gunners kept pushing and probing until they found the decisive goals.

It should also be noted that they have done with Thomas Partey and Gabriel Jesus, two of their most important players, still on the sidelines.

Other things to do, like captain Martin Odegaard and Saka, come into play and there is responsibility for that too. This team clearly understands Arteta’s approach and what he wants, and their solidarity is evident.

arsenal "can do anything" After rekindling title hopes at Aston Villa - Oleksandr Zinchenko
Arsenal had gained just one point in their previous three games

Former England midfielder Fara Williams told BBC Radio 5 Live the result was huge for Arsenal, which showed their youth doesn’t necessarily mean naivety.

« It’s huge for this young group of players at Arsenal. Overcoming defeat like they did, bouncing back from a midweek away game [against Manchester City] at Villa is difficult,” she said.

“Winning the game in the second half is difficult. Getting that win in the second half will be acceptable for Arteta and Arsenal. »

Former England attaché Peter Crouch, broadcast on BT Sport, added: « A lot of people have spoken about the character of Arsenal – can they support this title challenge? And they responded to that today. »

Gunners faced « Emotionally »

In a post-match interview with Match of the Day, Arteta praised Jorginho but was keen to praise the team’s emotional maturity in the way they fought back.

« Today I think we can learn two big lessons, » said the coach. “In the first half we did the simple things badly and in the second half we raised our individual level and did the simple things well. We totally deserved the win.

“Jorginho a product at an incredible time. For us, that will be Jorginho’s goal. Psychologically it was really difficult to get that result against Manchester City and then less than 3 days later we come to Aston Villa and win which is hard to do.

“We showed character, quality and had the right temperament and personality. We didn’t throw away our toys. Emotion, I think we did very well. »

Arsenal’s joy on Saturday was added by Chris Wood’s late but for Nottingham Forest, robbing Manchester City of the 3 points they needed to return to the top of the league.

Now the Gunners have regained control of their own destiny, going two points clear with a game less.

Criticisms from previous years – of requiring the team to be flaky, soft-focused and struggling to match the intensity – had resurfaced in recent weeks but have again been shelved, for now.

Next up is a trip to a dangerous Leicester side, before Everton, the side that beat them just two weeks ago, travel to the Emirates Stadium.

There are plenty more challenges ahead for this team – but after overcoming this one at Villa Park, they have shown they are capable of meeting those that lie ahead.

arsenal "can do anything" After rekindling title hopes at Aston Villa - Oleksandr Zinchenko

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arsenal "can do anything" After rekindling title hopes at Aston Villa - Oleksandr Zinchenko