Arsenal 0-2 Aston Villa: Man City dreamland as Gunners follow Liverpool's slip-up

Arsenal 0-2 Aston Villa: Man City dreamland as Gunners follow Liverpool's slip-up

Arsenal relinquished the lead of the Premier League table with a 2-0 defeat to Aston Villa on Sunday.

After Manchester City edged ahead with a win over Luton, Liverpool’s remarkable defeat at home to Crystal Palace earlier in the day looked to have set the scene for the Gunners to reclaim first place.

And yet late goals from Leon Bailey and Ollie Watkins at Emirates Stadium completed a superb double for Villa over Arsenal, pushing them clear of Tottenham in fourth place as a result.

Kai Havertz, Gabriel Jesus and Bukayo Saka all went close in the first half as the hosts settled well, before Villa went closest.

Unai Emery’s gameplan was not one of sitting deep and launching on the counter but controlling possession and slowing the game down when possible, although Gabriel’s silly giveaway meant Watkins had no choice but to race at goal and his shot cracked the inside of the post.

Within a minute, Emi Martinez denied Leandro Trossard from point-blank range and there was a lingering sense that it wouldn’t be the Gunners’ day.

The second half saw Villa step up their game and frustrate Arsenal further.

Somehow they were still without a shot on target as the hour-mark passed even though Youri Tielemans did absolutely everything but hit the target with a screamer that smacked both the crossbar and post.

The pressure finally told on 84 minutes when Lucas Digne’s cross saw Pau Torres drag defenders to the near post. That the Spaniard failed to connect meant little given substitute Bailey was free behind him to tap home.

Just over two minutes later, Villa took advantage of Arsenal’s attempt to rally by playing Watkins in behind. While holding off Emile Smith Rowe, he delicately chipped home to make it 2-0 in what could prove a definitive result in both teams’ seasons.