Unai Emery praised Arsenal’s “amazing” team spirit but admits his side have to improve defensively after twice coming from behind to beat Aston Villa in a pulsating encounter at Emirates Stadium.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s stunning free-kick with six minutes remaining completed an unlikely turnaround for the Gunners, who had Ainsley Maitland-Niles sent off in the first half and were still trailing going into the final 10 minutes.
“The team spirit was amazing, we need to continue working and improving things,” said the Arsenal boss.
“Aston Villa is a good team and an organised team. After this I hope we can improve and be strong. Together with the supporters we will be strong for the matches and hopefully improve.
“It is our challenge to improve defensively. They didn’t have a lot of chances to score.”
John McGinn flicked home Anwar El Ghazi’s cross to put Villa ahead in the first half before Maitland-Niles was shown a second yellow card for a rash challenge on Neil Taylor four minutes before the break.
Arsenal levelled early in the second period thanks to Nicolas Pepe’s first goal for the club from the penalty spot only for Wesley to restore Villa’s lead from Jack Grealish’s low cross less than two minutes later.
But in a thrilling conclusion, substitute Calum Chambers’ close-range finish brought the Gunners level on 81 minutes before Aubameyang’s late strike secured their third Premier League win of the season to lift Emery’s side back into the top four.
The result was harsh on Villa, who impressed for long periods but paid the price for dropping far too deep in the closing stages and inviting Arsenal pressure. A fourth defeat from six league games means they remain in the bottom three.