Football, Premier League

Arsenal vs Aston Villa: Advantage City as Villa rescue late win at the Emirates

Unai Emery returned to upset his old side, Arsenal, as Aston Villa won 2-0 at the Emirates, dealing a severe damage to Arsenal’s prospects of winning the Premier League title.

After an unbelievable collapse against Villa in the closing moments, Arsenal has once again given the initiative to Manchester City, even though the outcome may not be quite as disastrous as their shocking home loss to Brighton that virtually ruined their title ambitions last May.

Victory would have put Mikel Arteta’s team back atop the Premier League, and they even had a lift prior to play when Liverpool lost poorly to Crystal Palace.

However, Arsenal was outplayed by Villa in the second half after being frustrated by them in the first, and Leon Bailey’s far-post finish in the 84th minute was the final straw.

Ollie Watkins produced an incredible second goal that took the breath out of the Emirates and solidified Villa’s hold on fourth place as the hosts were still in shock.

It also completed an ideal weekend for Manchester City, who on Saturday crushed Luton and then witnessed their title rivals suffer potentially devastating losses.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta said: “We can’t control [Manchester City]. What we can control is that when we have the run we had when you win, win, win, win, it’s easy.

“The moment is now. After this blow, it’s how we react. Now it’s a big test for us.

“We have the best opportunity to react against Bayern Munich. The team has to show it. If you want to win, you have to overcome these situations.

“With the games we had, this was going to happen. It is now about how we react. This is in our control.

“In any other league in the world, if you won the number of games in a row that we did, you would be six or eight points clear. That is not the case here. That is the challenge.”

Aston Villa manager Unai Emery said: “Before the match, we were very motivated and very excited about the possibility.

“This is a very tough match and we needed to be focusing very well defensively. We wanted to be strong and have high commitment to defence in the first half, and wait for our moment to control the game.

“The first half was more difficult but we tried to dominate with the ball. Second half we competed very well.

“We are not being consistent in every match like I want but today we were fantastic.”

On Wednesday, April 17, Arsenal will travel to Bayern Munich for the second leg of their quarterfinal Champions League match. After one leg, the score was 2-2.

On Saturday, April 20, their next Premier League matchup against Wolves will air live on Sky Sports.

On Thursday, April 18, Aston Villa will travel to Lille for the second leg of their quarterfinal Europa Conference League match.

On Sunday, April 21, Villa will play their home match against Bournemouth to resume Premier League action.

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