Football News

Arsenal 0-2 Aston Villa: It’s advantage Man City after Premier League title race takes another huge twist

By Mohamed Moallim

Published: 18:45, 14 April 2024

You can forgive Pep Guardiola’s wry smile after Manchester City witnessed their Premier League title rivals lose to end this weekend.

Crystal Palace beat Liverpool before Arsenal lost 2-0 to Aston Villa, leaving the defending champions two points clear with six remaining matches.

A dumfounded Gary Neville could only ask: “Arteta and Klopp have got work to do to stop their season crumbling before their eyes. How do they recover from today?”

Despite being in the race to reach next season’s Champions League, very few backed Villa from getting something from this game, but former Gunners boss Unai Emery had one ace up his sleeve.

Emery took Moussa Diaby off just after the hour mark, bringing Jamaican forward Leon Bailey on; just over 20 minutes later, he put the visitors into a shock lead. He’s been directly involved in seven goals as a substitute in the Premier League this season (three goals, four assists), which is more than any other player.

Ollie Watkins immediately doubled Villa’s lead. He became the first to represent the Birmingham-based club to score ten away goals in a single Premier League campaign. Furthermore, it’s 19 goals this season – the joint-most by an Aston Villa player in competition history (level with Christian Benteke in 2012-13).

“It’s massive to come away to Arsenal and to play like that just shows how far we’ve come and where we’re going. It was the perfect away performance,” Watkins told Sky Sports afterwards.

“Any win is a big result but considering the other results, we’re fighting for the Champions League and knew it was going to be tough today. “A lot of people doubted us, they thought we play good football but that we wouldn’t come here and get a result. We’ve proved a few people wrong.”


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The result means Villa recorded a Premier League double over Arsenal for the third time after the 1992-93 and 2020-21 seasons. The Gunners have only lost more league games under Mikel Arteta against Man City (7) than Villa (5).

Perhaps there was something in the air. Villa are unbeaten in their last ten English top division games in London (seven wins and three losses), including on all six trips so far this season (five wins and one draw)—among non-London sides, only Manchester United (three times) have ever had a longer unbeaten run away from home in the capital in the competition.

Even more impressive is the fact Villa won an away Premier League game against a team starting the day in the top two positions for the first time since December 2009 against Man Utd (1-0), losing 14 such games in a row before today.

Emery, who had a short tenure in North London, has lost just one of his seven games as a manager across all competitions against his former club (three wins and three draws). He is still unbeaten as an away coach at the Emirates Stadium across matches with Paris Saint-Germain (one draw), Villarreal (one draw), and Villa (one win).

Villa supporters who dream of Champions League football weren’t the only ones celebrating. “I can imagine Guardiola now. He’s just opened a nice bottle of Spanish red, he’s got his cigar out and he’s playing Wonderwall. He can’t believe it,” Jamie Redknapp said on Sky Sports Super Sunday.

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