Belfast Telegraph

Emery's pride as resilient Gunners rescue victory in comeback drama

Arsenal 3 Aston Villa 2

Late show: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Nicolas Pepe
Late show: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Nicolas Pepe

By Mark Mann-Bryans

Unai Emery hailed the "amazing" character of his Arsenal side as their 10 men battled from being a goal down twice to beat Aston Villa.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's seventh goal in seven games this season was enough to earn the Gunners a thrilling 3-2 win at the Emirates Stadium.

John McGinn had given Villa a surprise lead but, despite Ainsley Maitland-Niles' sending off late in the first-half, club-record signing Nicolas Pepe equalised from the penalty spot.

Villa stunned the home crowd once more as they regained their lead just 89 seconds later when Wesley turned home, only for Calum Chambers to hit his first Arsenal goal since August 2016 before Aubameyang provided the winning moment.

"We want to feel with our supporters something special, to connect with them. Today the character was amazing," said Emery.

"Playing with one less player, not easy. We lost some control but we took some risks to come back. We are creating good spirit with our supporters and the players are feeling that.

"Our commitment, our behaviour, fighting each ball, taking some risks. That is good. That character, that connection with our supporters, that spirit. We can be happy, I think."

Villa boss Dean Smith said: "The game became too open with them at 10 men. The players lost a bit of belief and that is what disappointed me the most. You look at the goals we conceded and they are sloppy."

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