Arsenal 0 Aston Villa 3 – Ollie Watkins’ brace sinks Gunners as they drop out of Top half Updated for 2023
Updated: 9 December
2020-21 English Premier League match report – Arsenal v Aston Villa – Emirates stadium – Sunday, December 8, 2020
Arsenal 0 Aston Villa 3 Match Report
Ollie Watkins struck twice as Aston Villa stunned a miserable Arsenal 0-3 away at the Emirates to claw back to the sixth spot with one match still in hand.
Villa could very well have gone ahead in under a minute but John McGinn's finish was disallowed by VAR as Ross Barkley, who was in an offside position, was adjudged to have been in goalkeeper Bernd Leno's way.
But Arteta's men ought to have restored parity when an unmarked Alexandre Lacazette rose to meet Kieran Tierney's cross but the Frenchman's header from close range was off target.
Ultimately the visitors went ahead in the 25th minute when Bukayo Saka inadvertently stabbed Matt Targett's cross into his own net.
The Gunners had another chance immediately after the interval when Gabriel set-up Rob Holding for a failed attempt by the latter and substitute Nicolas Pepe's effort from a Eddie Nketiah pass whizzed past the post.
Villa then found acres of space as Barkley's brilliant volleyed delivery from close range was headed in by Watkins for the visitors' second of the night in the 72nd minute.
Watkins doubled his tally four minutes later, finishing coolly past Leno following some fine work from Grealish.
This defeat will be especially worrying for Arteta who seemed to have resolved issues with a defence that conceded goals far too easily last season.
Going into Sunday night's home game, the Gunners boasted the Premier League's best defence, having conceded just seven goals in seven games, but simply fell apart at Villa Park.
As for Dean Smith the Emirates win will be a relief after back-to-back defeats against Leeds and Southampton.
Villa had made a superb start to this season with a run of four successive wins that included headline-grabbing victories over Liverpool and Leicester City.
They are now on 15 points with one game still in hand and with a home game against Brighton coming up, the Villans can at least hope to break into the Top four.
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