Arsenal 0-3 Aston Villa
Dean Smith seems to have Mikel Arteta’s number. For the second time in two Premier League meetings, Smith’s Villans have gotten the better of Arteta’s Gunners.
Their first meeting in July saw Villa claim a crucial win that helped them survive relegation last season. And this weekend, the Villans went into the Emirates and came away with an emphatic 0-3 victory.
It was a much-needed result for Aston Villa, who are finally back to winning ways after a couple of rough Premier League 2020 results.
On the other side, that’s now four defeats in eight games for Arteta’s misfiring Gunners, who are still struggling to create a cohesive attack.
Highlights of the game
Aston Villa had an absolutely flying start to the match as it took them less than a minute to put the ball in the back of the net. Captain Jack Grealish was the chief creator once again as he set up John McGinn for an unstoppable strike into the top corner.
However, the visitors’ joy would be shortlived as the goal was waved off by VAR. Ross Barkley, who was in an offside position, was adjudged to have been interfering with play by blocking Bernd Leno’s sight of the ball.
After having a goal taken away on one end, McGinn very nearly gave away a goal on the other on 10 minutes as Thomas Partey almost intercepted the Villa midfielder’s underhit back pass. Luckily for Villa, Emi Martinez was alert to the danger and got the ball clear ahead of the Arsenal midfielder.
Villa would have the ball in the back of the net again on 25 minutes, and this time it counted. After some beautiful interplay between Grealish, Barkley and Matt Targett on the Villa left, Barkley played Targett through with an excellent through ball, and the Villa left-back delivered a dangerous cross which Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka directed into his own net while trying to prevent Trezeguet from scoring.
Arsenal came close to equalising just before half-time. Kieran Tierney delivered an outstanding cross to Alexandre Lacazette, who skied his header from point-blank range over the bar.
Both sides came out attacking in the second half. In a span of 10 minutes, Trezeguet and Grealish created chances for Villa, while Willian and Dani Ceballos both had shots that went well wide of goal.
The home side had another good chance on the hour mark. Gabriel set up his fellow centre-back Rob Holding for a shot, which flew agonisingly wide of goal once again. Substitute Nicolas Pepe also had a curling effort that sent Martinez diving but was well off-target in the end.
Villa would make Arsenal pay for their lack of incision in front of goal as they doubled their lead on 72 minutes. After a wonderful pass from Douglas Luiz, Barkley supplied a fantastic first-time cross for Ollie Watkins, who beat out Tierney to head to ball into the net.
Barkley very nearly set up Villa’s third just moments after the restart. He got behind the Arsenal backline and his cross found Grealish, whose goal-bound shot was cleared off the line by Ceballos.
But Villa would get that clinching third goal just a few minutes later. Grealish capped off another magnificent outing by sprinting through the middle third of the pitch and laying off a perfect ball for Watkins to blast past Leno.
Villa were simply sensational against Arsenal. Despite having just 41 per cent of possession, they outshot their hosts, 15-13. Six of their 15 shots were on target, while the other nine were blocked.
Grealish was immense once again as he was in the middle of seemingly every Villa attack. He finished with five shots and supplied his fifth assist of the season.
Meanwhile, Ollie Watkins is up to six goals in seven league appearances, three of which came in Villa’s famous 7-2 victory over Liverpool.
As for Arsenal, their main man — Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang — was anonymous as he didn’t have a single shot in the match. Aubameyang has just nine shots in total this season with two goals, one of which was a penalty in their win against Manchester United.
With three defeats in their last four games, Mikel Arteta will get the chance to regroup during the international break before going on a tricky away test at Leeds.
Meanwhile, Villa will look to make it back-to-back wins when they host struggling Brighton. The SBOTOP Premier League 2020 betting odds should be in the Villans’ favour against the Seagulls, who have failed to win any of their last six league matches (three draws, three defeats).
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