Leicester City 2 Arsenal 0

Brendan Rodgers said Leicester City are “not really thinking about the title race”, despite their 2-0 win against Arsenal taking them above Manchester City into second in the Premier League. The 2015-16 champions had looked set to be frustrated as they missed several chances in the first half before Wilfred Ndidi struck the bar early in the second period. But Jamie Vardy finally broke the deadlock as he finished off an excellent team move, firing in his 11th goal of the season after Harvey Barnes and Youri Tielemans cut open the Arsenal defence. James Maddison then made sure there was no way back for Arsenal with a low strike through Héctor Bellerin’s legs and into the back of the net.

Victory means Leicester move above Manchester City and Chelsea with 26 points from 12 games, five behind leaders Liverpool but nine clear of fifth-placed Sheffield United. “We are thinking about the development of the team and making them better and if we can bring European football here in my time, that would be great,” said Rodgers. “We have thrown a hand grenade right into the middle of it all. We are working very, very well. We will just concentrate on our performance levels until 10 games to go and assess it then. “I came here to make an impact and create something that we can hopefully sustain over a number of years.” Arsenal, meanwhile, are now eight points off the top four and are without a win in the Premier League since beating Bournemouth 1-0 on 6 October.

Eighteen months ago, former Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis hailed the arrival of Emery as a coach who “plays an exciting, progressive style of football that fits Arsenal perfectly”. That description was certainly accurate about one of the teams on the pitch at King Power Stadium on Saturday, but it was not Emery’s side. The Foxes possess a clear identity and a togetherness that appears to be absent from this current Gunners side who, apart from occasional flashes, rarely troubled their opponents. Leicester dominated possession from the outset and even though they missed a number of decent chances – Ayoze Pérez firing just over after capitalising on a defensive error and Maddison putting a free-kick on the roof of the net – there was always the sense that the Foxes would find a way through.

Xhaka May Never Play For Arsenal Again

Unai Emery admits Granit Xhaka may have played his last game for Arsenal and revealed conversations have taken place over whether he should be sold in January. The midfielder has been absent for the last three matches after telling supporters to “f*** off” as he was jeered as he was substituted during a draw against Crystal Palace last month. Emery, having later stripped Xhaka of the captaincy, confirmed he had taken the decision for him to sit out Saturday’s game at Leicester after conversations between the pair ended with the 27-year-old declaring he was unavailable.

In the immediate aftermath of the incident against Palace, the club offered counselling to a player who Emery described as “devastated, sad and very down”. He will now miss what could be a key game at Leicester as Emery stated he had taken the call to once again leave him out. “Not yet,” Emery replied when asked if Xhaka was ready to feature at the King Power Stadium. “I spoke with him on Tuesday about how he’s feeling now and how he is in his mind. He’s working well, he’s training well, but he said to me that he’s not feeling good enough at the moment to play. We are going to wait.

Pushed on whether Xhaka may never play for Arsenal again, he added: “As a coach I have a responsibility for the team. We need a player like Granit Xhaka. “But also, I don’t know if he’s going to play again. I don’t know, because if he is available in his mind to continue helping us and continuing defending the Arsenal shirt, I think time is giving us that solution.” Reports surfaced earlier in the week that the club may try and move Xhaka on in the winter transfer window to alleviate what could potentially become a long-term problem. And Emery did little to quell the speculation when it was put to him whether the club had spoken about a possible move.

Vitoria Guimaraes 1 Arsenal 1

Arsenal’s 100% record in the Europa League this season ended as Bruno Duarte scored a 91st-minute equaliser for Vitoria Guimaraes in Portugal. Shkodran Mustafi had provided the Gunners with the breakthrough with an unmarked header from a Nicolas Pepe free-kick with 10 minutes to go. But Vitoria came to life in the closing stages and former Spurs man Marcus Edwards’ cross from the right caused confusion in the Arsenal defence, allowing Duarte to equalise with a scissor-kick. The result was Arsenal’s fourth consecutive draw in all competitions in a turbulent week that saw Granit Xhaka stripped of the captaincy. Group F leaders Arsenal will still qualify for the last 32 on Thursday if third-placed Standard Liege lose to Eintracht Frankfurt.

Arsenal manager Unai Emery made eight changes from the side that drew 1-1 with Wolves in the Premier League on Saturday, including handing the captain’s armband to defender Rob Holding with former skipper Xhaka not part of the squad. The Switzerland captain was stripped of the captaincy following an angry confrontation with home fans during the Gunners’ 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace at Emirates Stadium on 27 October. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who will take over as club captain from Xhaka, and German midfielder Mesut Özil also did not travel to Portugal. Emery opted for a change in formation with a defensive back three of Holding, Sokratis and goalscorer Mustafi, with youngsters Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Kieran Tierney adding an attacking threat as wing-backs. But for the second time in a week the Gunners were punished late on and failed to take all three points. In a match played in torrential rain, the first half was largely uneventful with Vitoria showing early warning signs when their midfielder Pepe hit the post with a long-range effort and Edwards forced a good save from Emiliano Martinez.

Martinez was again called into action minutes later when a Vitoria free-kick found the unmarked Edmond Tapsoba but the centre-back’s flicked header was palmed away. Vitoria keeper Douglas was not tested in the opening 45 minutes as the Gunners failed to register a shot on target despite dominating possession. Arsenal’s best chance of the first half fell to Holding after clever play down the left-hand side by 18-year-old Bukayo Saka. The skipper for the match was unchallenged as he rose to meet the cross but his header went over the bar. In the second half the Gunners began to take control and were rewarded on 80 minutes thanks to Mustafi’s header from a free-kick by Pepe, who scored twice from set-pieces against Vitoria in the final 10 minutes at Emirates Stadium two weeks ago to give his side a 3-2 win.

Another victory looked to have been sealed here but Arsenal’s defensive frailties were exposed in stoppage time as Vitoria found a late surge of tempo to put the Gunners under pressure and find an equaliser, earning them their first point in the Europa League this season. Spanish midfielder Dani Ceballos suffered a hamstring injury in the second half and has been ruled out of the trip to Leicester on Saturday by Emery.

Xhaka Stripped Of Captaincy; Auba To Take Over

Midfielder Granit Xhaka has been stripped of the Arsenal captaincy with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang taking over, Gunners’ boss Unai Emery has confirmed. Xhaka, 27, was involved in an angry confrontation with home fans during the Gunners’ 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace on 27 October. “I had a meeting with him and told him he is no longer in the captain’s group,” said Emery on Tuesday. “He accepted my decision. I needed to take a decision and now it’s closed.”

Last month, the Switzerland international was booed as he walked off the pitch at Emirates Stadium, prompting him to cup his ear, take his shirt off and head straight down the tunnel to the dressing room. Emery later said Xhaka should apologise to the club’s supporters, saying the Swiss midfielder “knows he was wrong”. However, Xhaka refused to go that far, although he did say he got “carried away” and reacted “disrespectfully” to fans. “The scenes that took place around my substitution have moved me deeply,” Xhaka said in statement on Instagram last month. “I love this club and always give 100% on and off the pitch. “My feeling of not being understood by fans, and repeated abusive comments at matches and in social media over the last weeks and months, have hurt me deeply. “People have said things like, ‘We will break your legs’, ‘Kill your wife’ and ‘Wish that your daughter gets cancer’. That has stirred me up and I reached boiling point when I felt the rejection in the stadium on Sunday.”

Xhaka, who has not played since, has been left out of Arsenal’s squad for their Europa League game in Portugal against Vitoria Guimaraes on Wednesday. He joined the club in a £35m move from German side Borussia Monchengladbach in 2016 and played in the 2017 FA Cup final as Arsenal beat Chelsea. Xhaka, who is the captain of the Swiss national side, also helped the Gunners reach the League Cup final in 2018 and the final of the Europa League earlier this year. Arsenal are fifth in the Premier League and play away at third-placed Leicester on Saturday.

Emery’s decision to strip Xhaka of the Arsenal captaincy was the inevitable consequence of his angry exchange with supporters payday loans providers during the draw with Crystal Palace. The whole affair has been a mess of Emery’s making, starting with letting a blind vote among Arsenal’s players elect a captain rather than being strong enough to make the decision himself, ending with a figure who has never been a fans’ favourite and has had a chequered career at the club with the armband. And while there is understandable sympathy for Xhaka because of abuse he has suffered on social media, it was impossible for him to continue as captain once he gestured and mouthed towards fans when he was substituted during the 2-2 draw.

Arsenal 1 Wolves 1

Arsenal’s turbulent week ended with them surrendering another lead as Wolves fought back to claim a merited Premier League point at the Emirates. Wolves, who are now unbeaten in their past eight matches in the capital, dominated for long periods but fell behind as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was left unmarked from Alexandre Lacazette’s pass to steer home his 50th goal for Arsenal. However, that was a rare blip for Nuno Espirito Santo’s side who repeatedly carved the hosts open. And they got their reward when Raul Jimenez headed Joao Moutinho’s hooked cross past Bernd Leno into the bottom right corner.

It ensured Wolves, who are up to 11th, stretched their unbeaten run to six games, while Arsenal remain in fifth. Arsenal have already surrendered leads against Watford and Crystal Palace this season, and this result did little to allay concerns over the team’s perceived fragility in defence. Former boss Arsene Wenger came in for criticism over this towards the end of his 22-year tenure at the club and there is a feeling that Emery has been unable to address those failings as he nears 18 months in charge. While they were in total control against Watford and Palace before capitulating, that was not the case against Wolves who took the game to the hosts from the off.

The visitors had already fashioned at least half a dozen good opportunities before Arsenal opened the scoring against the run of play. Aubameyang’s expert finish brought up his ninth goal in 13 games but he was largely forced to feed off scraps with Arsenal managing just 10 shots compared to the visitors’ 25. There was little of the fan unrest that led to Granit Xhaka being omitted from the starting line-up but equally there was a sense of inevitability about Jimenez’s equaliser. However, only Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola currently enjoys a higher win ratio in the Premier League than Emery.

Liverpool 5 Arsenal 5 (5-4 On Penalties)

Liverpool’s dramatic penalty shootout victory over Arsenal sealed their place in the quarter-finals of the Carabao Cup after 10 goals were scored in a thrilling contest at Anfield. Celebrations broke out in front of the Kop after Liverpool goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher, 20, saved Dani Ceballos’ penalty to seal a 5-4 shootout win. Divock Origi’s 94th-minute scissor kick sent the game to penalties after Liverpool had twice come from behind to draw level. Arsenal’s Joe Willock thought he had given his side a memorable victory with a sensational long-range strike in the second half but there was more to come on an unforgettable night at Anfield.

The celebrations were wild from Liverpool’s players at full-time as teenager Curtis Jones coolly thumped the final penalty in off the post to make it five from five in front of the Kop. Arsenal were minutes away from victory after Willock’s stunning long-range effort had put them 5-4 up, before Origi pulled off what seemed the inevitable in stoppage time. Liverpool led just once during the match and that was after five minutes when Shkodran Mustafi slid in and diverted the ball into his own net. Midfielder Mesut Ozil, given just his third start of the season, then set-up Bukayo Saka, whose shot was rebounded in by Lucas Torreira to make it 1-1.

Teenager Gabriel Martinelli continued his impressive goalscoring form, pouncing on a loose ball at the near post before slotting in from Saka’s pass to make it 3-1 to Arsenal. But Liverpool cut their lead to one goal on the stroke of half-time through James Milner’s penalty after Harvey Elliott – who became the youngest Liverpool player to start at Anfield (16 years, 209 days) – went down in the box under minimal contact from Martinelli. It took just nine minutes for the goals to start flowing again in the second half, when Milner uncharacteristically gave the ball away in his own area and Ozil teed up Ainsley Maitland-Niles. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain fired in an excellent long-range effort for Liverpool and Origi’s smart turn and powerful finish made it 4-4 – all this before Willock and Origi’s late goals left the teams level at 5-5.

Arsenal 2 Crystal Palace 2

Arsenal captain Granit Xhaka was involved in an angry confrontation with his own supporters as Crystal Palace came from two goals down to earn a point in an ill-tempered atmosphere at Emirates Stadium. The Gunners were two up inside nine minutes as Sokratis Papastathopoulos and David Luiz took advantage of poor defending at corners – but it was all downhill from there for Arsenal and manager Unai Emery. Palace pulled one back before half-time when Luka Milivojevic scored from the spot following a VAR intervention after referee Martin Atkinson had initially shown Wilfried Zaha a yellow card for diving in a tangle with Calum Chambers. And Palace were level seven minutes after the break when Jordan Ayew headed in James McArthur’s cross at the far post.

The game turned toxic just after the hour when Xhaka was substituted to roars of delight from Arsenal’s fans, the newly-appointed captain reacting angrily to jeers at his slow departure by waving and cupping his ear sarcastically to the home support, exchanging words before taking off his shirt and disappearing down the tunnel. Arsenal’s frustration and misery was complete when another VAR intervention infuriated Emirates Stadium and denied the Gunners victory after Sokratis scored from close-range late on. As the players returned to the centre circle, referee Atkinson was involved in more debate with Stockley Park, where an apparent foul by Chambers on Milivojevic was detected, causing widespread anger inside an arena that was already boiling over.

Xhaka was a contentious choice as new Arsenal captain – and his behaviour here did nothing to suggest it is a role that suits him. His own performances raise questions about his suitability but his petulant, goading reaction to his 61st-minute substitution by youngster Bukayo Saka only played into the hands of those who believe he does not have the character for the role. Of course, it will have hurt a proud professional to hear the mixture of delight and sarcasm that greeted his number coming up, but his response was provocative and met with loud condemnation from Arsenal’s fans. Arsenal had conceded a two-goal lead so there was a sense of urgency that was not reflected in his slow stroll towards the technical area, anger growing with every laboured stride.

He then waved his arms towards Arsenal’s fans before foolishly cupping his ear and going through the most cursory of gestures with Emery, also appearing to exchange words with supporters. Xhaka then took off his shirt and went straight down the tunnel. It summed up the discontent lurking close to the surface at Arsenal, with further evidence provided by the loud chants for exiled German star Mesut Ozil as they fought in vain for the winner. Arsenal are in fifth but a gap is now opening up – four points to Chelsea in fourth – and this was another display that exposed their fragility and soft centre as that early advantage was cast aside. This was another unsatisfactory 90 minutes for Emery and Arsenal.

Arsenal 3 Vitoria Guimaraes 2

Substitute Nicolas Pepe rescued Arsenal with two sublime free-kicks in the last 10 minutes of their Europa League group game against Vitoria Guimaraes at Emirates Stadium. Arsenal were losing 2-1 when Pepe came on in the 75th minute and he scored five minutes later with a curling effort from 25 yards. He repeated the feat in stoppage time as Arsenal avoided their second straight defeat and retained their place at the top of Group F. Former Tottenham youngster Marcus Edwards had earlier cut inside and fired into the bottom corner to give Vitoria a shock lead, before Arsenal’s Brazilian teenager Gabriel Martinelli nodded in his fifth goal in just his third start to make it 1-1.

Bruno Duarte restored the visitors’ lead on 36 minutes, pouncing on a rebound to send Arsenal into the half-time break a goal behind. The Gunners, who were poor for large patches of the game, burst into life in the final 10 minutes as Martinelli was denied from close range before Rob Holding’s header was well held by the goalkeeper. Arsenal manager Unai Emery made 10 changes from the side that lost to Sheffield United in the Premier League on Monday but was forced to bring on Matteo Guendouzi and Dani Ceballos at half-time, before Pepe made the difference.

There was huge excitement this summer when Arsenal signed Ivory Coast winger Pepe from Lille for a club record fee of £72m. He showed glimpses of brilliance against Liverpool on his first Premier League start in August and picked up an assist in the following game against Tottenham. But the winger has been largely underwhelming and needed to make an impression from the bench in this European tie. And that is exactly what he did, curling both set-pieces past a helpless Miguel Silva to give Arsenal another three points in the group, as they maintained their 100% record in the competition this season.

Fans were booing as the players walked off at the break trailing 2-1 and banners displaying the words “Emery out” and “Unai, stop freezing Ozil out” were seen in the stands. German midfielder Mesut Ozil was not included in the squad and has made just two appearances this season. The defeat to Sheffield United on Monday looked set to be repeated even after Emery had ruthlessly pulled off youngsters Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Joe Willock at half-time but Pepe had other ideas.

Sheffield United 1 Arsenal 0

Sheffield United claimed a stunning win over Arsenal to move into the top half of the Premier League. Lys Mousset marked his first start for the Blades with the decisive goal in the first half, turning in Jack O’Connell’s knockdown from close range. Arsenal’s £72m signing Nicolas Pepe had earlier skewed a golden chance wide from six yards. Granit Xhaka forced Dean Henderson into an excellent save but the Blades closed the game out superbly for a famous win. The victory was Sheffield United’s biggest result since their return to the Premier League as they moved up to ninth, four points clear of the relegation zone.

Defeat for Arsenal, meanwhile, means they missed the chance to move back into the top four. They are fifth, two points behind Chelsea in fourth. Sheffield United have certainly shown plenty of grit on their return to the Premier League and have been particularly impressive in not rolling over to sides in the top six. They battled from two goals down to draw 2-2 at Chelsea in August before pushing Liverpool close at the end of last month, only to be undone by a single goal from a mistake by Henderson. Against Arsenal they again took the game to their opponents from the outset. David McGoldrick’s technical ability combined with Mousset’s pace posed a troubling front line for the Arsenal defence.

Chris Wilder had challenged his new-look forward line to give the Blades the cutting edge they have lacked this season and Mousset did just that, making the most of being unmarked inside the box to sweep home. From then on, it was all about the Sheffield United defence. The hosts, incredibly, have not lost a league game when leading at half-time since 2014 and they managed the remainder of the game superbly, with their back three of O’Connell, Chris Basham and John Egan forming a formidable barrier.

Arsenal 1 Bournemouth 0

David Luiz scored the only goal as Arsenal edged past Bournemouth at Emirates Stadium to move up to third in the Premier League. Luiz glanced home Nicolas Pepe’s ninth-minute corner for his first goal since his summer arrival from Chelsea. Bournemouth improved after the break and went close through Callum Wilson, but they rarely troubled Bernd Leno in the Arsenal goal. The Gunners move above Leicester, Burnley and Crystal Palace with the win, while Bournemouth stay 10th. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang went close in the opening stages and hit the post late on, but those opportunities bookended a game of few chances.

Bournemouth offered little as an attacking threat, but with Arsenal unable to kill the game off they were able to apply some pressure in the closing stages. Only a last-ditch tackle from Matteo Guendouzi prevented Joshua King from converting a low cross by Callum Wilson, who also fired straight at Leno in stoppage time. Though they were far from their best, a fourth win of the season means Arsenal go into the international break in the Champions League places having lost just once in eight league games. But while Unai Emery must be pleased with the way his side battled to the win, he will know there is still room for improvement, with a failure to score a second goal meaning this game was a lot closer than it could have been after their first-half performance.

Emery’s side began brightly and went close inside the opening five minutes when Aubameyang fired just wide from the edge of the penalty area after good work by Dani Ceballos and Bukayo Saka. They did not have to wait much longer to open the scoring, however, with Pepe’s corner from the right finding Luiz at the near post, and his flicked header went beyond Aaron Ramsdale into the far corner. Arsenal thought they had decent claims for a penalty when Pepe went down under a challenge by Diego Rico, but Martin Atkinson waved away the appeals, with his decision upheld following a VAR check.

Arsenal 4 Standard Liege 0

Teenage striker Gabriel Martinelli scored two goals and set up another to give Arsenal victory over Standard Liege in the Europa League. There was less than three minutes between the 18-year-old Brazilian’s first and second goals while team-mate Joe Willock, 20, made it 3-0 before half-time. Martinelli, who joined for £6m this summer, later set up Dani Ceballos for his first Arsenal goal. Arsenal sit top of Group F with two wins from two games. There were 10 changes to the Arsenal team who drew with Manchester United in the Premier League on Monday but no place in the squad for German midfielder Mesut Ozil.

Instead, manager Unai Emery put faith in the likes of academy graduate Willock, Martinelli and 19-year-old Reiss Nelson – as well as summer signing Kieran Tierney, making just his second start for the club. All four impressed as Tierney set up Martinelli’s first with a whipping cross from the left before teeing up Nelson’s shot in the build-up to Willock’s goal. Nelson recorded an assist – feeding Martinelli for his second – before slipping in the Brazilian to tee up Ceballos’ goal in the second half. It could easily have been more for the Gunners on a very positive night which also saw full-back Hector Bellerin, captain for the night, make his first start in over nine months following a knee injury.

Martinelli was already a fan favourite after he became the youngest player since Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in 2011 to score on his first start for Arsenal, against Nottingham Forest in the Carabao Cup. Two goals in that 5-0 win was the perfect way for the summer signing to announce himself and every time he got on the ball at the Emirates on Thursday the crowd grew excited. The teenager spent last season playing in the fourth tier of the Brazilian Football League with Ituano but his quality was evident against Standard Liege and he has now bagged four goals after just two starts for the club. The young Brazilian capped off an impressive night with an excellent assist – showing pace to reach Nelson’s pass before coolly lifting it over the goalkeeper and on a plate for Ceballos to tap in.

Manchester United 1 Arsenal 1

Manchester United and Arsenal played out a grim stalemate at Old Trafford that provided compelling evidence to illustrate just how far away from a Premier League challenge both clubs are. In a disappointing encounter that was a pale shadow of their mighty clashes of years gone by, Scott McTominay monthly loans no credit check gave Manchester United the lead at the end of an attritional first-half with a rising drive from the edge of the area. Arsenal equalised just before the hour courtesy of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s cool finish. It was originally ruled out for offside but the video assistant referee confirmed the striker had been played onside by Harry Maguire.

Goalkeeper Bernd Leno excelled for Arsenal with fine saves from Maguire and Marcus Rashford’s late free-kick, while Bukayo Saka’s goalbound shot crucially struck Victor Lindelof and flew over the top. McTominay also headed a great chance well over from Ashley Young’s corner but neither side could force a winner. The result takes Arsenal into the top four but Manchester United are now down in 10th after an outcome that means they have made their worst start after seven games in 30 years, failing to reach double figures for the first time since 1989-90, a season in which they finished 13th.

The current circumstances of both clubs was instantly demonstrated by the two captains who led out the sides. Manchester United’s captain was 34-year-old Ashley Young, pressed into defensive service by Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s absence through injury, and Arsenal were led by Granit Xhaka, newly appointed and a divisive figure among supporters. Young led from the front in a fashion by regularly contesting decisions, showing a remarkable knack of getting to referee Kevin Friend in an instant on numerous occasions. Xhaka’s night will be best remembered for his contribution to United’s goal – getting away with a foul in the build-up before appearing to take evasive action as McTominay’s drive made its way into the top corner.

Arsenal 5 Nottingham Forest 0

Unai Emery praised “fighter” Gabriel Martinelli for making the most of his opportunity after the teenage forward scored twice in Arsenal’s 5-0 Carabao Cup win against Nottingham Forest. The 18-year-old summer signing made his first competitive start in the third-round game at the Emirates. Martinelli opened the scoring with a powerful header before scoring a superb long-range second in injury time. Arsenal were playing only 48 hours after coming back to defeat Aston Villa 3-2 in the Premier League, but they put in a dominant display against their Championship opponents.

As well as Martinelli’s brace, Rob Holding marked his return from 10 months out through injury with a headed goal while Joe Willock and Reiss Nelson were also on the scoresheet. Nottingham Forest, who like Arsenal made a raft of changes for the tie, barely troubled their opponents with their only shot on target a late Sammy Ameobi strike that was comfortably saved by Emiliano Martinez. A big win was capped by the return from injury of defenders Holding and Hector Bellerin after lengthy spells on the sidelines while summer signing Kieran Tierney also made his long-waited debut after recovering from a groin issue.

Few fans had heard of Martinelli when he became Arsenal’s first signing of the summer, joining for £6m from Brazilian club Ituano in July. However, back in his homeland he is viewed as having the potential to become one of Brazil’s superstars and he certainly impressed on his home debut for the Gunners. The teenager, who made his Premier League debut with a late substitute appearance against Newcastle in Arsenal’s season opener, played futsal as a youngster and the close control and dribbling skills developed from that sport were on show against Forest.

This was a fine display of attacking football from Arsenal but what will have been just as pleasing for their fans was the clean sheet. Arsenal had conceded 10 goals in their last five Premier League fixtures and this game provided Unai Emery with the perfect opportunity to give some minutes to those returning from injury. All eyes were on full-back Tierney as the £25m summer signing from Celtic made his debut after recovering from a groin problem, while centre-back Holding made his first start following 10 months out with a knee injury.

Holding’s goal will have gone a long way to helping him put recent injury woes behind him while Tierney put in a hugely impressive performance full of excellent crosses and surging runs down the left flank and he could now be in contention to face Manchester United in the Premier League on Monday. The standing ovation he received on being substituted spoke for the fans’ appreciation and the applause continued for his replacement, Bellerin, who made his return to first-team action after nine months out with a knee injury and even managed to provide the assist for Willock’s goal.

Arsenal 3 Aston Villa 2

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. 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. After opting for a mix of youth and experience for Thursday’s Europa League win at Eintracht Frankfurt, Emery recalled the bulk of his senior stars for the meeting with Villa. That meant the Spaniard went with the same back four that lost a two-goal lead at Watford last weekend, and another shaky performance here means they have still not kept a clean sheet in the league since the opening day of the season, conceding 10 goals in five games.

The defensive problems ultimately did not cost them the result against Villa, but Emery cannot rely on his attacking players to bail out his team all the time if they are to make a sustained challenge for the top four. A lack of urgency and desire to close the Villa players down led to the opening goal, with El Ghazi given plenty of time to cross for McGinn, who found himself completely unmarked after ghosting ahead of Matteo Guendouzi. Guendouzi summed up Arsenal’s performance, he was often sloppy in possession and his failure to track McGinn led to the first goal, but he led by example in the closing stages with a series of driving runs into the penalty area.

One of those runs resulted in a government loans for bad credit sloppy tackle from Bjorn Engels, allowing Pepe to equalise from the spot early in the second half. After Arsenal went behind again Guendouzi drew a fine save from Tom Heaton, who pushed his low drive from the edge of the box on to the post. With Villa seemingly unable to get out of their final third, Arsenal’s pressure finally told. A mistake by Tyone Mings allowed Chambers, brought on in response to Maitland-Niles’ dismissal, to stab a looping effort beyond Heaton. Then, after Aubameyang was brought down just outside the area, the Gabon striker curled beyond an unmoved Heaton to send the Emirates crowd, who were frustrated for much of the afternoon, into raptures.

Eintracht Frankfurt 0 Arsenal 3

Goals from academy gradates Joe Willock and Bukayo Saka helped Arsenal overcome a difficult test against Eintracht Frankfurt and begin their Europa League campaign with a victory. Willock put the Gunners in front with a deflected shot in the first half before Saka smashed in his first senior goal for the club in the 85th minute. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang added a third two minutes later as Arsenal ended their three-game winless run. The Gunners had created further chances but also relied on goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez to come to the aid of their fragile defence. The Argentine produced excellent low saves to deny Filip Kostic and Andre Silva in the first half.

The second period was frantic in front of a vociferous home crowd with Arsenal’s late goals only coming after Dominik Kohr was shown a second yellow card for a cynical foul. The Gunners, beaten finalists in last year’s Europa League, are top of the early Group F table on goal difference after Standard Liege beat Vitoria in the night’s other game. Manager Unai Emery opted for a mix of youth and experience for the game in Germany, despite it arguably being Arsenal’s toughest test in Group F, and it was their young players who stood out.

Eighteen-year-old Saka, playing for the first team for the first time this season and fifth time in total, was excellent on the left flank, scoring once and setting up the other two goals. He created Willock’s goal by beating his marker with fine skill in midfield and was the main threat for the Gunners in the first half. The only criticism was he spurned a number of chances to increase Arsenal’s lead but he silenced those doubts with an emphatic finish from the edge of the area late on. Willock played as the Gunners most advanced central midfielder and offered a goal threat but also linked play well, notably with a fine driving run in the second half which ended with Martin Hinteregger excellently blocking an Aubameyang shot. The scoreline flattered Arsenal in the end but the game will be most memorable for the performance of their youngsters.

Watford 2 Arsenal 2

A Watford side brimming with attacking intent fought back from two goals down at half-time to draw at home to Arsenal in Quique Sanchez Flores’ first match since being reappointed Hornets manager. The hosts fired in 31 shots – a club-record for a Premier League game – as Arsenal’s shaky defence finally cracked after the break. Watford levelled the scores when Roberto Pereyra rolled in a late penalty to secure only their second point of the season. Tom Cleverley had earlier reduced the deficit when Gunners defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos gave away possession inside his own area. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang put the visitors in front when he collected Sead Kolasinac’s pass on the turn before firing past Ben Foster.

Arsenal doubled their lead as Aubemeyang finished a sweeping team move but the hosts improved after the break as the Gunners unravelled in front of the vociferous home support. The Hornets had their chances to complete a stunning comeback with a decisive third, but the otherwise impressive Gerard Deulofeu dragged his effort narrowly wide. The result sees Arsenal move into seventh, while the Hornets remain rooted to the bottom. The Arsenal striker is one of the most clinical forwards in the English top flight, having scored with seven of his last nine shots on target, and the Gunners are quite capable of blowing teams away going forward thanks to the potency of Aubameyang and the technical ability of Mesut Ozil and Dani Ceballos. They demonstrated their attacking flair as they went through 20 passes for their second goal – but glaring issues remain at the back.

This was evident as early as the 10th minute as the red and white shirts backed off and space opened up for Cleverley, whose fierce effort was well saved by Bernd Leno. Five minutes later, and Etienne Capoue was given the same time and space but could only shoot over the bar. The Gunners want to play out from the back, and even though Matteo Guendouzi lost possession deep inside his own half on two occasions they persisted with their approach. It was Sokratis who eventually made the mistake that always looked likely to happen, before Deulofeu diverted the ball into Cleverley’s path for Watford’s first goal. David Luiz was brought in from London rivals Chelsea to shore up the defence over the summer, but the Brazilian has endured a difficult few weeks at the start of his Arsenal career, and has now conceded two penalties in three matches. Luiz brought down Pereyra with a lunge in the final 10 minutes and the substitute stepped up himself to take the penalty and salvage a point for the hosts.

Mkhitaryan Joins AS Roma On Loan

Roma have agreed a deal to sign Henrikh Mkhitaryan on loan from Arsenal with an option to buy the attacking midfielder. Mkhitaryan arrived in the Italian capital on Monday to conclude the deal in the final hours of the European transfer window, with Arsenal later confirming his move. The 30-year-old signed for Arsenal in January 2018 from Manchester United in a swap involving Alexis Sánchez. Eighteen months later both players have left their clubs for loan moves to Serie A, Sánchez having joined Internazionale last week. Mkhitaryan came on during Arsenal’s draw with Tottenham on Sunday but has not started since the opening day.

He is the third experienced player moved on by Unai Emery in the final days of the window, following Nacho Monreal and Mohamed Elneny, who have joined Real Sociedad and Besiktas respectively. It’s understood Roma will be paying Mkhitaryan’s £200,000-a-week wages and have the option to buy the Armenian at any time during his stay at the Stadio Olimpico. Arsenal confirmed the move in a statement: ‘Henrikh Mkhitaryan has joined Serie A side AS Roma on loan for the rest of the season. ‘Everyone at Arsenal wishes Micki all the best for his season with Roma. The loan is subject to the completion of regulatory processes.’

Mkhitaryan said of the move: ‘It’s a great opportunity for me to begin a new chapter, with a great club. I know what this club is all about and I am sure we can achieve great things together.’ Mkhitaryan started just 19 league matches last term and has only managed nine goals in all competitions since his move from Manchester United in January 2018. His first-team opportunities were likely to be limited under Unai Emery following the arrivals of Dani Ceballos, Nicolas Pepe and Gabriel Martinelli this summer.

Arsenal 2 Tottenham Hotspurs 2

Arsenal staged a stirring comeback to earn a point in a chaotic, thrilling north London derby against Tottenham at Emirates Stadium. Spurs looked to be in complete control when Christian Eriksen pounced to put them ahead in the 10th minute after Arsenal keeper Bernd Leno pushed out Erik Lamela’s shot. Leno then saved superbly from Son Heung-min before the South Korean was senselessly hacked down in the area by Arsenal captain Granit Xhaka to allow Harry Kane to score his 10th goal in 11 derby games. Arsenal started the revival when Alexandre Lacazette pulled one back on the stroke of half-time before they laid siege to Spurs’ goal after the break. Spurs keeper Hugo Lloris saved superbly from Matteo Guendozi’s low shot and from substitute Dani Ceballos before Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang showed the poacher’s instinct to turn home the equaliser with 19 minutes remaining.

Kane struck the inside of the post and Sokratis had a goal ruled out for offside but neither side could make the decisive breakthrough and this entertaining encounter ended with honours even. The result lifts Arsenal to fifth in the Premier League with seven points from four games, while Tottenham head into September’s international break four places behind their rivals in ninth on five points. Arsenal showed real character amid the mood swings of this north London derby to fight back from a precarious position to earn a point. Unai Emery’s side found themselves in big trouble at two goals down but never felt sorry for themselves, fighting their way back to parity and pinning Spurs back for most of the second half. The Gunners were guilty of poor defending and moments of carelessness but no-one could question their heart.

Lacazette’s goal with seconds left of the first half was vital, lifting the spirits of Arsenal’s players and supporters and setting the perfect platform for a second half that was low on moments of high class but full of fervour and entertainment. The action swung from end-to-end but Arsenal looked stronger after the break with 20-year-old Guendouzi performing with great maturity in midfield. Guendouzi certainly showed greater composure than his captain Xhaka, who was guilty of a moment of crass stupidity when diving into a sliding challenge on Son to concede a penalty. The young Frenchman almost scored only for Lloris to make a brilliant save and it was his intelligent, probing ball into the box that was diverted in by Aubameyang.