Oleksandr Zinchenko hails Arsenal's fighting after thrilling comeback win over Aston Villa

Oleksandr Zinchenko hails Arsenal's fighting after thrilling comeback win over Aston Villa

Oleksandr Zinchenko believes Arsenal showed they had "balls" as he hailed their comeback win at Aston Villa as a game of "champions".

The Gunners secured a last-gasp 4-2 victory at Villa Park that took them back to the top of the Premier League, with a two-point lead and a game in hand over closest challengers Manchester City.

A stoppage-time own goal from former Arsenal goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez put the visitors ahead after they twice battled back from behind, and Gabriel Martinelli wrapped up the win with a late tap-in.

Zinchenko, who joined Arsenal from City in the summer having won four Premier League titles at the Etihad Stadium, scored his first league goal in England to equalise for a second time at Villa Park after Bukayo Saka had drawn them level in the first half.

"The performance in the first half wasn't good enough," Zinchenko said.

"I wasn't happy at all but in the second half we showed our character and this team has balls. I'm happy to help my team with the goal, but my priority was always three points.

"It's the strongest league in the world and the kind of games, the reaction we showed in the second half. I remember at City we were also losing, down at half-time but in the second half the response from the team was perfect.

"I would call these kind of dramatic games, they are like champions games. I'm not saying anything about the title yet because there's still a lot of games to play but this is the sort of character that you need, the direction we need and that is the key."

Gabriel Jesus also moved from City to Arsenal in the summer to add more title-winning experience to the ranks of Mikel Arteta's young squad.

The January acquisition of Jorginho from Chelsea further improved the winning mentality in the dressing room and Zinchenko singled the Italy midfielder out for praise.

"He is a winner," added the Ukraine full-back. "Since he arrived, he knows how to win the games, he knows how to win the titles and he's an amazing player. We're so happy for him that he helped us so much. And we keep going.

"We have a lot of leaders in our dressing room, this mix between the young players and experienced players is so good, and our staff pushing us to go forward and to improve ourselves - it's a good mix between young players and experience.

"Everyone here, this group can achieve a lot of good things in the future if we work hard together and keep going in this way.

"The quality is there but we can't stop. There's a lot of things to improve but if we work hard to improve ourselves then we are on the right way to go."