Premier League: Arsenal’s Title Bid Rocked By Aston Villa Loss

Apr14,2024



Arsenal's Premier League title hopes suffered a major blow as Aston Villa scored twice in the closing stages with a dramatic 2-0 win at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday to boost their top-four bid. Mikel Arteta's side would have returned to the top of the table with a win, but instead they surrendered to Manchester City after conceding two goals in the last six minutes. Leon Bailey put the visitors ahead and Ollie Watkins doubled their lead as Villa boss Unai Emery enjoyed a second sweet win this season over the club that sacked him in 2019. Arsenal's first defeat in 12 league games leaves them in second place, two points behind City. , while third-placed Liverpool trails Arsenal on goal difference. With just six games left, champions City are on course to win a fourth consecutive Premier League title.

City beat Luton on Saturday to knock Arsenal out of first place.

But the Gunners should be in high spirits after Liverpool suffered a shock 1-0 defeat against Crystal Palace just half an hour before kick-off in north London.

Instead, Arsenal produced an underwhelming performance that could prove fatal to their challenge for a first English title in 20 years.

It has been a disappointing week for the Gunners, who were held to a 2-2 draw by Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals on Tuesday, making a difficult trip to Germany for the second leg on Wednesday.

After opening up an eight-point lead in the title race last season, Arsenal are in danger of losing the lead once again.

Villa dropped to fourth without kicking a ball after Tottenham's defeat at Newcastle on Saturday, leaving them below Emery's side on goal difference.

And Villa's second win in six league games took them three points clear of Tottenham, who have a game in hand in the race to qualify for the Champions League by finishing in the top four.

Arsenal had made the bright start and Kai Havertz's low drive was stopped by Emiliano Martínez before Gabriel Jesus headed Bukayo Saka's cross into the side-netting.

Accelerating Martin Odegaard's pin-point pass, Saka shot from inside the area, but could not test Martínez from the acute angle.

Watkins should have put a stubborn Villa ahead when he was allowed to slide unimpeded into the Arsenal area for a low strike which deflected off the post and ricocheted across the goalline to safety.

Just seconds later, Arsenal were pushed back by a brilliant reflex save from Martínez when Leandro Trossard got a close-range shot off Jesus' cross that was destined for the net until the Argentine keeper was able to stop it. Didn't take one leg out.

As Arsenal's pressure increased, Saka headed wide of the far post from 12 yards.

But brilliantly organized Villa held firm, equalizing on the stroke of half-time, before Youri Tielemans was inches away from giving them the lead on the hour.

Robbing an unsuspecting Zinchenko 20 yards from goal, Tielemans fired a powerful shot that hit the bar, then bounced off the post before being deflected to safety.

Martínez pushed away Jesus' shot from the edge of the area, but Arsenal were working hard to unlock a Villa defense expertly marshaled by Diego Carlos.

As Villa pushed Arsenal past in the closing stages, the Emirates crowd became increasingly frustrated.

And their fears were confirmed in the 84th minute when Emery's men took the lead.

Lucas Digne's low cross could not elude Arsenal defenders William Saliba and Gabriel Magalhaes, leaving Bailly with the easy task of heading into the empty net from close-range.

Two minutes and 26 seconds later, Watkins delivered the knockout blow, stealing the ball from Emile Smith-Rowe and firing past David Raya to score his 10th goal in his last 11 league games.

Emery celebrated on the touchline as Arsenal suffered a horror defeat, while Arteta stood embarrassed.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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