Loyal Gooner Lowell's take on Arsenal's excellent performance and victory against Aston Villa

Arsenal 3-1 Aston Villa: Lowell Hornby on the Gunners vibrant performance that overwhelmed the visitors

Loyal Gooner Lowell's take on Arsenal's excellent performance and victory against Aston Villa

Emile Smith Rowe was one of many Arsenal players that excelled against Villa on Friday night at the Emirates


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Bliss.

Normal service has been resumed. An electric atmosphere at the Emirates - with absolutely no hangover from Monday’s disappointment - was met with an equally vibrant Arsenal performance, who put the Villains to the sword. 

Despite not losing in six prior to this game, it felt like Arteta and Arsenal needed this. Having dropped points on Monday after a dismal display, it felt like not only a must-win at the Emirates but a must-perform.

The vitality of this game clearly transferred to the fans too. The Emirates was absolutely rocking, and the provokingly aggressive challenge from Ollie Watkins in the opening minutes only added fuel to the ever growing fire. 

The intensity with which we started the game rocked Villa. The players were clearly up for it, and the Villa players were evidently taken aback - allowing Arsenal to kick on. Promising starts have been a constant of Arsenal’s season so far, yet in so many ‘the handbrake’ has been applied soon after. This was not the case on Friday.

Despite many of our early efforts being thwarted, either through poor final ball or the woodwork, there was no let up in pressure.

Efforts were eventually rewarded in the 23rd minute when Thomas Partey opened the scoring (surprisingly not with one of his 40 yard piledrivers - can we PLEASE stop shouting ‘SHOOOOT’ whenever he gets the ball?) as he nodded home from Emile Smith Rowe’s inviting corner. Unlike on Monday, the goal merely spurred on Arsenal efforts.

Familiarly flowing football created a gilt edged opportunity for Saka soon after, who was denied only by the legs of the scrambling Martinez. Just as it looked as if Arsenal would walk down the tunnel with an underwhelming (given the performance) 1-0 lead, referee Craig Pawson pointed to the spot after consulting VAR.

Though, there seemed an air of inevitability of Martinez stopping it. Both the lengthy wait before the referee blew the whistle, but also Martinez’s determination to come back to haunt his old club meant this was a much harder task than usual for Auba to stroke home from the spot.

As presumed Martinez sprawled to his left to parry away, only for Auba to stroke home the rebound - leaving Martinez in bits on the flaw (quite enjoyably to be fair). A 2-0 half time lead was reflective of the performance, as an impressive Arsenal looked to cruise home to a vital home victory. 

The Arsenal came out with much the same attitude in the second half, determined not to let their first half efforts amount to naught. There was a comforting feeling of familiarity as Arsenal made it 3-0. Left back to Aubameyang, Aubameyang round the corner to Smith Rowe - you know the rest.

Despite some luck in the finish, it was a move that warranted a goal. There is no player I’d rather see score for Arsenal right now than ESR, especially given he just said he’d happily spend his whole career at Arsenal. We love you, Emile. 

Understandably, pressure let up after the third goal went in. The pack-like hunting of the Villa players - the likes of which weren’t to be seen on Monday night - eased as Arsenal looked to settle in and hold their well deserved three goal cushion.

We were robbed slightly of the perfect evening as Jacob Ramsey’s brilliant finish, along with a late chance for Ollie Watkins provided some avoidable nerves. No complaints really though, if you’d have offered me 3-1 and a brilliant performance before the game I would’ve bitten your hand off. 

All in all a really happy night at the Emirates, made even sweeter by the fans and their merciless mocking of Emi Martinez for his unsavoury comments in some recent interviews.

Probably the best performance of the season. Despite the obviously fantastic 30 minutes against Sp*rs, this felt more complete. Not just a quick blitz, a complete suffocation of a team that has picked up a few good results this season. 

Arsenal’s revival is resumed, and Arteta’s Arsenal tonight proved that there is a side that can play free-flowing attacking football there.

We host Leeds United with a place in the auarter-finals of the League Cup at stake on Tuesday before Leicester City await the Gunners early next Saturday. If we win there and it’s hard to call this spell anything but a success.

A big if though… Until then, Gunners.

Lowell Hornby will also feature in the pages of the next Gooner Fanzine, out later this month. 

Lowell plans to attend every Arsenal Premier League game this season and will be writing about it for the Gooner Fanzine. 

Read the brilliant Lowell's previous pieces below:

Arsenal's frustrating evening against Palace

Arsenal's rain-check at wet and windy Brighton

My word Arsenal were good against Spurs  

Burnley are the new Stoke 

A welcome win over Norwich

Shambles at City 

Another disappointing performance

Brentford: my first ever away game 

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Learn more about Lowell in his own words.

My name is Lowell Hornby.

I’ve been a devout Gooner for all I can remember. I was taken to my first Arsenal game in 2007 and never looked back.

I’ve never really thought of football being in my life as a conscious choice, more of a genetic deficiency.

The relationship my Dad (who some of you may know: Nick Hornby, author of Fever Pitch) has developed with football inevitably has rubbed off on me.

It feels like it’s a lot more than results; it’s the club, the feeling, the fans, the friends - everything.

In my year off, after an unimaginably painful 18 months of fan-less football, I can’t think of anything I’d rather do than follow my beloved Arsenal up and down the country as I attempt to go to every Premier League game this season.

The pieces I write will document not just the games, but my experiences, the cities, the journeys, the people.

I hope in doing so I can capture, express, articulate and transmit the visceral emotions of myself, fellow Gooners and football fans as a whole.

I live and breathe football, and I hope these pieces and my project this season can convey that in a way that’s enjoyable to experience vicariously.

If you’d like to be following me more casually, and be notified of any pieces of course, my Twitter handle is @weststandlowell and I’ll be tweeting over there. COYG.


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