Emi Martinez’s antics backfire as he unwittingly reboots Arsenal’s title bid

Emi Martinez is aware of the sensation of being on prime of the soccer world.

But even these current glory days with Argentina will really feel like a distant reminiscence as he faces as much as the particles of a nightmare Saturday with Aston Villa.

Martinez — a former Arsenal goalkeeper — turned an unanticipated participant within the Premier League title race inside minutes of the motion beginning on Saturday lunchtime.

His timewasting, which ultimately resulted in a yellow card (his third of the season for that individual offence) within the 84th minute, threatened to additional derail Arsenal’s season as Villa took the lead twice and had been holding on to a well-earned level with 93 minutes on the clock.


Martinez managed to get below the pores and skin of Mikel Arteta, Arteta’s gamers, and the travelling Arsenal supporters, who heckled the World Cup winner with “You’re only a shit Aaron Ramsdale” as Martinez held onto the ball and ran down the clock at each alternative.

However these chants quickly changed into songs of sarcastic help on the ultimate whistle as a weird ultimate three minutes noticed the Villa goalkeeper change the sport, simply not in the way in which he might need imagined.

As he dived for Jorginho’s 25-yard shot, he was helpless as the ball crashed off the crossbar and bounced off his head into the online. It meant that Arsenal led for the primary time within the sport.

Villa received a nook after the restart and Martinez raced up the pitch in a useless try and stage the scores however his luck — in some way — received even worse. Arsenal cleared the set piece, efficiently performed the ball as much as Fabio Vieira who slipped in Gabriel Martinelli to run the ball dwelling with nobody between him and the online. How usually do you see that occur?

And the way uncommon is it to see Martinez, the brash, bullish goalkeeper in such a pickle?

The best end Gabriel Martinelli will ever be introduced with? (Photograph by Clive Mason/Getty Photos)

Since signing for Villa, Martinez has produced some great moments and achieved lots of his ambitions. This, although, was a particular low. These chants of: “Oh, Emi Martinez” from the away finish will give him nightmares for weeks, if not months. He helped Arsenal win the 2020 FA Cup however Aston Villa are his concern now and, in per week by which he reiterated his need to play Champions League soccer, that appears like a mission he can solely realistically obtain elsewhere.

Villa have loads of work to do once more after dropping three Premier League video games in a row and conceding 11 targets within the course of.

Martinez’s gradual play when in possession is usually a method Villa look to grind opponents down however officers are getting sensible to it.

When he dropped to the bottom within the 88th minute after a gentle collision, referee Simon Hooper went straight over to select Martinez up from the bottom and encourage a speedy restart.

Martinez has now been booked 3 times for timewasting — solely Jordan Pickford has collected extra this season. He’s been warned to chop it out.

Maybe much more telling, although, is that Unai Emery, his personal supervisor, will not be a fan of his antics, believing that his facet are slowing issues down too usually.


“We’re not taking sufficient dangers,” Emery mentioned after the sport.

“Soccer is to play, with combos and to get the higher of the participant in entrance of you. Now we have to be the protagonists however we’re not.

“We’re additionally losing extra time than I would like. I would like us to impose ourselves on groups and to take accountability.

“I’m disenchanted, annoyed and embarrassed to concede 4 targets once more. Eight targets at dwelling in two matches will not be regular and the performances can’t proceed like this.”

It’s additionally unlikely Martinez might be going as much as for corners sooner or later with Emery saying: “He determined himself to go up however I advised him I don’t prefer it,” earlier than appropriately including that the possibilities of scoring from such a state of affairs are slim. Alisson scored a header for Liverpool at West Brom in 2021 however these moments are memorable exactly as a result of they’re so uncommon.

Unai Emery’s ideas following

— Aston Villa (@AVFCOfficial) February 18, 2023

Villa’s build-up from the again additionally has cracks that want filling. Sure, it was encouraging to see Villa rating from a well-constructed transfer from their very own half and much more rewarding to see Philippe Coutinho rating his first aim since Could. Ollie Watkins taking his tally to 4 in 4 was one other plus level, however Emery was in no temper to debate positives, insisting that his facet performed “too many lengthy balls” and weren’t aggressive sufficient of their strategy.

At one stage within the second half, Martinez kicked three aim kicks out of play in succession as he tried to discover a intelligent go to one among Villa’s full-backs. It was actually a day to overlook, significantly for the Argentine.

Martinez’s pleasure in profitable the World Cup in Qatar gave him maybe the last word finish to 2022 however, thus far, 2023 will not be shaping as much as be wherever close to as memorable. No less than, not in a great way.

(Header Photograph by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC by way of Getty Photos)

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