Aston Villa See Off Patchy Arsenal

Aston Villa players celebrating their victory starightnews
Aston Villa players celebrating their victory

Ollie Watkins’ second-minute goal proved the winner as Aston Villa’s 1-0 victory condemned Arsenal to a second league defeat in five days.

Watkins made the most of some lax defending between Cedric Soares and Gabriel, which allowed Bertrand Traore to steal in before teeing up his team-mate for a close-range finish with only 74 seconds on the clock.

Villa at their best to see off patchy Arsenal

Ryan could not have wished for a worse start to his debut than to pick the ball out of his own net with barely a minute on the clock, after Cedric’s weak pass to Gabriel instead found an alert Traore, whose excellent pass for Watkins was turned home via a deflection for the opening goal.

Instead of pushing for an equaliser, the Gunners lacked incision and Villa came by far the closest to scoring the game’s second goal, with Traore given space to turn in the area by Cedric before Ryan denied him with an excellent reaction stop.

Arteta’s introduction of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Martin Odegaard from the bench did spark Arsenal into life, with Tyrone Mings twice at his best to block the former at close-range.

Arsenal’s need to press forward in the latter stages gave Villa even more room to attack, and both Watkins and Grealish came close to doubling the lead in the final 10 minutes.

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But the one-goal advantage proved enough, with Villa looking a different side to the one soundly beaten by West Ham in midweek to move eighth, three points off the fifth-placed Hammers, who have played a game more.

Two defeats in five days means Arsenal could end the weekend as low as 13th, and as many as eight points off a European spot. (Sky Sports)