Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta praises his side’s response to their draw to Crystal Palace four days ago as convincing 3-1 win over Aston Villa moves them level on points with Man United
- Arsenal defeated Aston Villa in a convincing 3-1 league win on Friday night
- The result sees the Gunners move level with sixth-placed Manchester United
- Thomas Partey broke his duck before Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang doubled
- Emile Smith Rowe later added a third for the Gunners with a deflected effort
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta praised his side’s reaction to their 2-2 draw against Crystal Palace on Monday as they cruised to victory over Aston Villa.
The Gunners stormed to a comfortable 3-1 win at home as Thomas Partey broke his duck before Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang doubled the lead before half-time and deflected third from Emile Smith Rowe wrapped up Arsenal’s win.
The win saw Arsenal move level with sixth-placed Manchester United, albeit having played a game more, despite the north London club suffering their worst start to the league in their history.
Mikel Arteta praised Arsenal’s winning reaction to their draw to Crystal Palace on Monday
The Gunners were the better side throughout and Arteta praised his side for bouncing back with a well-deserved win.
‘What I liked the most is the way the team reacted on Monday evening, how we finished the game and how they were in the dressing room,’ he said.
‘Accepting that it wasn’t good enough, that we played to a really good level in some parts, but to a level that is not acceptable in others. We are the youngest team in the league, but that is not an excuse.
Arsenal were the better side as they returned to winning ways in the Premier League
‘We cannot change the age, so we cannot find these kind of excuses. We have to find why those things happen in the game, find the right solutions and then put them right and believe they can play at that level, because they can.’
Following the result, the Gunners boss also praised Smith Rowe for changing his lifestyle and improving his game after he put in a man-of-the-match performance
Villa saw two bids for the England Under-21 international turned down in the summer, with Arteta insisting he was never worried Smith Rowe would leave the Emirates Stadium.
Smith Rowe now has two goals and two assists this season and the manager has been pleased with the development of the academy graduate.
Emile Smith Rowe impressed as he scored his fourth Premier League goal in the second half
‘When you want to take the game to the next level, when you become a real important player in such a big club, that should be the only priority and every detail is important and relevant,’ Arteta said.
‘You have to make him aware of that, you cannot give percentages away that can make big differences and he has changed that.
‘Credit to him and obviously the staff here that are all the time monitoring and build that education with him and he’ll only get better.
Smith Rowe maintained the Gunner’s momentum with a deflected effort at the near post
‘He should demand that in his game because he is capable of doing it. I’m pleased that that is developing. He still needs to develop more in other areas as well.
‘The other night he wasn’t 100 per cent fit but he stepped forward and he wanted to play with a difficult injury that he had.
‘There is no complaining, he is just looking forwards, he is really determined, he has changed the way he is living as well a little bit and some of the habits that he had and he’s been superb.’
Meanwhile, Villa boss Dean Smith was unhappy with the penalty awarded to Arsenal on the stroke of half-time as referee Craig Pawson consulted his pitchside monitor before pointing to the spot, adjudging Matt Targett had fouled Alexandre Lacazette.
Referee Craig Pawson (right) consulted his pitchside monitor before pointing to the spot
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had his spot kick saved but reacted to tuck home the rebound
Emiliano Martinez’s penalty mind-games once again proved successful as he blocked Aubameyang’s spot kick but the Arsenal captain reacted quickest to fire in the rebound.
‘I saw it in real-time and my first instinct was it looked a penalty, I must admit that,’ Smith said.
‘When I see the same thing he sees (on the monitor) to me it is too frivolous, we are looking really closely to see if he touches the ball first, it is what we spoke about in the summer, about those kinds of decisions not going to VAR and staying with the referee.
‘My understanding was we were walking off the pitch for half-time and then he gives the penalty after looking at VAR, so I don’t think the referee has even thought about it but if it is a goal or he saves it, he should blow for half-time.’