Martin Keown couldn't fail to see the irony in Emiliano Martinez’s late own goal which earned Arsenal a dramatic victory at Aston Villa.
After three Premier League matches without a win, the Gunners headed to Villa Park in desperate need of three points. Their mini-slump had seen Manchester City move to the summit in midweek, albeit having played a game more.
Nevertheless, the need for a positive result was clear, but they were made to battle to the last for their memorable 4-2 win. Villa snatched the initiative early on and took the lead in the opening stages through Ollie Watkins. Bukayo Saka quickly struck back, before - against the run of play - Philippe Coutinho put the hosts back in front.
Unai Emery’s charges held onto that lead until after the hour mark when Oleksandr Zinchenko fired home an equaliser. But that was only a precursor to the real drama which was set to unfold.
Leon Bailey smashed the crossbar in the final 10 minutes, with Jorginho doing the same in stoppage time. However, while Bailey’s effort deflected away safely, Jorginho’s smashed back into play, off the back of Martinez’s head and into the bottom corner.
The goal sparked wild scenes of celebration in the corner where the Arsenal fans were situated, with Martinez left dejected on the turf. The Argentine, who spent eight years at the Emirates, had drawn the ire of the travelling supporters, taking his time with every set-piece - eventually picking up a yellow card.
It was those delaying tactics which left officials with no choice but to add on six minutes of injury time, with the Gunners scoring twice in that timeframe. And Gunners legend Martin Keown, fresh off frenzied celebrations in the BT Sport studio, wasted no time in sticking the boot into Martinez for his time-wasting antics.
“I just thought it was ironic,” Keown said. “I seem to have spent a whole hour watching him time-wasting, so to watch it come off his head - look, he was a great player for Arsenal and maybe he shouldn’t have gone - but look what it means now to the next generation.
“Jorginho coming in and scoring that goal, so no, it’s really ironic that he should waste that amount of time and then eventually it comes off his head, but that can happen.”
Martinez’s gamesmanship made headline news across the world at the end of last year as he helped Argentina to World Cup glory at the expense of France. But his extrovert style of play backfired again in the final seconds, where after going up for a corner - against his manager’s orders - Gabriel Martinelli tapped into an open net for the fourth.
“I have never told my goalkeeper to go and score one goal in the 90th minute, because maybe – and I don’t know the data – maybe one goal in 100, maybe 20 times they [the opponents] are doing a counter transition and they are scoring 10 goals,” Emery angrily said in his post-match media commitments.