Arsenal moved back to the top of the Premier League in dramatic fashion as an own goal from Aston Villa keeper Emiliano Martinez in stoppage time handed the Gunners a crucial 4-2 victory on Saturday.
With just minutes left at Villa Park, Mikel Arteta’s side were in danger of stumbling again in their bid to win the title for the first time since 2004.
Arsenal had twice trailed to goals from Ollie Watkins and Philippe Coutinho, only for Bukayo Saka and then Oleksandr Zinchenko to haul them level.
A draw would have taken Arsenal above Manchester City but hardly enhanced their hopes of holding off the champions in a thrilling title race.
But they received a helping hand from their former keeper as Martinez inadvertently deflected Jorginho’s shot into his own net after it hit the bar in stoppage time.
Gabriel Martinelli capped Arsenal’s remarkable escape with a goal in the final seconds to lift the north Londoners three points clear of second placed City.
Pep Guardiola’s men would go back above Arsenal on goal difference if they win at Nottingham Forest later on Saturday.
For the first time since August 20, the Gunners were not starting a round of fixtures on top of the Premier League table after losing 3-1 to City on Wednesday.
Arsenal were without a win in their previous three top-flight games and last four in all competitions, but this spirited victory will give them the renewed belief they can pip City to the title.
Tom Hanks, a self-confessed Villa fan, was watching from the stands and Arsenal scripted a Hollywood ending in front of the superstar actor
Arteta had bemoaned the “very difficult” fixture schedule that saw Arsenal back in action just 63 hours after the final whistle in their defeat against City on Wednesday.
And Arteta’s fears about Arsenal struggling to cope with the quick turnaround came true after just five minutes.