There was no love lost between former Arsenal teammates Emiliano Martinez and Alexandre Lacazette, who clashed as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang stepped up to take a penalty against Aston Villa
Former Arsenal teammates Emiliano Martinez and Alexandre Lacazette were involved in a heated squabble after the Gunners were awarded a penalty during their clash with Aston Villa.
Mikel Arteta’s side were handed a gilt-edged chance to double their lead just before half-time as Craig Pawson awarded them a spot kick after consulting the pitchside monitor.
The referee had initially waved away Arsenal’s appeals after Matt Target clipped Lacazette’s heels with a diving clearance, flooring the Frenchman in the process.
Martinez was among the Villa players furious once Pawson reversed his original decision and appeared to be moving into place to perform some of his famous mind games with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who was about to step up to take the penalty.
But Lacazette intervened, seemingly telling the Argentine to go back to his line and await the Arsenal captain’s effort from 12 yards.
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Martinez ended up making a fine save to deny Aubameyang with a powerful dive to his right, but the Gabonese striker was able to convert the rebound.
This doubled the deserved lead Thomas Partey gave the hosts earlier in the first half, while Emile Smith Rowe punished more lax Villa defending to all but secure all three points at the Emirates on 56 minutes.
Martinez was visibly distraught to see his penalty save amount to nothing, especially as he has a reputation for being hard to beat from the spot.
The former Arsenal goalkeeper, who joined Villa in September 2020, made headlines for his antics on Argentina’s path to Copa America glory this summer.
He also taunted Cristiano Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes in the build-up to the latter’s costly penalty miss at Old Trafford last month.
Martinez spent three years as Lacazette’s teammate at Arsenal but the pair’s relationship has deteriorated since his move to Villa Park.
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The Gunners striker claimed he was fouled by the shot-stopper during Arsenal’s 1-0 defeat by Dean Smith’s side back in February.
Lamenting the decision not to award a penalty after the match, Lacazette wrote on Twitter : “Another one…”
But Martinez clearly saw things differently and hit back by saying: “You were pushing me first bro.”
The former Arsenal star has established himself as one of the best goalkeepers in the Premier League since emerging from Bernd Leno’s shadow with a move to the second city.
Despite conceding multiple times at the Emirates, it was another high-class showing by the 29-year-old, who made a brilliant diving save to deny Bukayo Saka in the first half and keep the scoreline 1-0.
However, Villa’s performance as a team was far below the standards they set for themselves last season and Arsenal were fully deserving of their commanding lead as the game wound down.