Well well well… what a performance that was from Dean Smith’s Villans! Coming into this game Villa had lost their last two games against Leeds United and Southampton respectively. Aston Villa came into this game wanting to end the run of defeats – and they most certainly did!
Before we get to the action, let’s start with the line-ups both sides put out…
Aston Villa XI:
Aston Villa started this game off brilliantly and arguably should have scored the opening goal of the game earlier than they did when John McGinn finished off a lovely Villa move with a powerful effort – but VAR cancelled out this goal due to Barkley being called offside and potentially in Arsenal keeper Bernd Leno’s line of sight. 0-0. Villa certainly felt hard done by and it certainly was a let-off for the Gunners.
Despite not dominating in terms of possession, Dean Smith’s Villa were in control of the contest with very few Arsenal chances to speak of at this point in the game. Aston Villa then took what was a deserved lead in the 25th minute of the contest when a nice patient move from Villa resulted in a wonderful ball through the Arsenal defence from Ross Barkley into the feet of Matt Targett – who was able to put a nice ball across to the back post where Trezeguet was on hand to slot the ball into the back of the net to give the Villans the lead in North London. The goal was later declared a Bukayo Saka own goal.
Not long after Villa took the lead, Arteta’s Arsenal had a glorious chance to restore parity in the game when Tierney put in an inch-perfect cross that Lacazette got on the end of, but the French striker was unable to direct his header into the back of Martinez’s net. It remained 1-0 to the visitors. Half time came with Villa in the lead and Villa were playing some great football.
Villa then had numerous chances to double their advantage, namely when a volley from Grealish was blocked by the Gunners’ defence to keep the margin at one goal. Arsenal then had a decent chance to bring themselves level in the contest, but Pepe saw his curling shot go just wide of Martinez’s far post.
It was more joy for the Villans! Villa doubled their lead when Douglas Luiz’s ball landed at the feet of Barkley, and the Chelsea loanee’s ball across the area allowed Ollie Watkins to burst across the box to place his close-range header into the back of the Arsenal net. The ex-Brentford striker had scored his fifth of the campaign. Villa were in dreamland!
Villa, just a minute later had a great chance to extend their lead when an effort from Grealish on the counter-attack was cleared off the line by Dani Ceballos, to stop Villa, for now, taking a three-nil lead at the home of the Gunners.
Unfortunately for Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal, Dean Smith’s Aston Villa put the Gunners to the sword when just a few minutes later Ollie Watkins got his brace to give Villa a three-nil lead following great play from Grealish who, following a mazy run and, just outside the Arsenal box put in a lovely through ball into the feet of Watkins, who calmly put the ball into the back of the net to give Villa a three-goal lead!
Villa was able to maintain their advantage for the remainder of the contest and went on to secure an extraordinary 3-0 victory in North London to hand Arsenal their fourth defeat of the season to put them eleventh in the table. Meanwhile, this great performance and a fifth win of the season for Villa has put them sixth in the Premier League table on fifteen points. UTV!