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Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta lays down gauntlet to 'youngest Prem side' after Aston Villa win


Mikel Arteta has issued a challenge to his young Arsenal stars – show you can play like this on a weekly basis. His sparkling Gunners side dazzled their way to a comfortable 3-1 victory over Aston Villa at the Emirates Stadium in their brightest performance of the season to date.

The Spaniard was particularly impressed by the character of his players and the way they carried out his game plan to perfection.

Arsenal were 2-0 to the good at half-time thanks to goals from Thomas Partey and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang before Emile Smith Rowe notched a crucial third.

The smile on Arteta’s face at full-time really told this story and this was one of the most impressive displays of his reign.

The Gunners pressed ferociously from the get-go as Aston Villa struggled to adapt to their new 3-5-2 formation and their ponderous nature was ruthlessly punished by the hosts.

Now Arteta’s players know they can play at this tempo, the Arsenal boss wants to see them replicate their enthusiasm and energy levels in every match.

“This is what you get [from young players]. They can get you the level, they need the consistency. That comes with experience and maturity,” he told BBC Sport.

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But former Arsenal goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez outsmarted his former team-mate Aubameyang from the spot, saving smartly down to his right.

However, the ball rebounded straight into the path of the Arsenal captain, who made amends for his miss to make the score 2-0.

Arsenal were then in dreamland when Emile Smith Rowe helped himself to a goal via a deflection off Tyrone Mings.

Villa looked more dangerous having switched to 4-2-3-1 and pulled back a late goal through youngster Jacob Ramsey, who finished brilliantly.

It meant next to nothing though for Villa, who have plenty to reflect on after two disappointing results after the international break.

Meanwhile, Arsenal will be feeling pleased with the way they responded to Monday’s 2-2 draw with Crystal Palace.

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Goalscorer Partey, who enjoyed one of his best games in an Arsenal shirt, was delighted with the way his side battled for every ball.

“The team knew what to do. We had to keep fighting and keep our intensity. At the end with the quality we have we are able to get results.

“All the team was frustrated and we wanted a win. That was the mentality we brought to this game today and we were able to get our result.

“I’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time. I think it was the right moment to have it and I’m very happy.

“The team performed very good. We have to do this every weekend and every game and with this we can achieve beautiful things. They deserve it. they have been supporting us when we have been down and when things have gone bad. This win is for them and I hope they enjoy it.”

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