Arsenal Premier League hopes dented after defeat against Aston Villa

AP , Sunday 14 Apr 2024

Unai Emery damaged his former team’s title hopes again as Aston Villa beat Arsenal 2-0 on Sunday to leave Manchester City top of the Premier League.

Arsenal
Arsenal s English midfielder #41 Declan Rice (2R) and teammates react to going two goals behind during the English Premier League football match between Arsenal and Aston VIlla at the Emirates Stadium in London on April 14, 2024. AFP

Both goals came late after Villa had soaked up Arsenal’s pressure for much of the game, with Leon Bailey putting his team ahead in the 84th and Ollie Watkins adding the second on a counterattack two minutes later.

Arsenal became the second title challenger to falter at home in the span of a few hours after Liverpool lost 1-0 to Crystal Palace at Anfield earlier in the day. That leaves defending champion Man City in full control of the title race as it leads both its rivals by two points with six games left to play.

Emery replaced Arsene Wenger at Arsenal in 2018 but lasted just 18 months before being fired. His Villa has now held Arsenal’s high-flying attack scoreless in two games this season after a 1-0 win at home, a double that could well end up costing Mikel Arteta’s team the title.

For Villa, the win puts them three points ahead of Tottenham in fourth place, although Spurs have a game in hand.

Arsenal had controlled much of the game without creating many quality chances, and Villa looked threatening when going forward and had hit the woodwork twice, once in each half.

So it wasn’t a surprise when the opener came.

Arsenal’s defense let a cross from Lucas Digne run across the area to Bailey, and the substitute had an easy finish into an empty net.

With Arsenal pouring forward in search of an equalizer, Villa hit them on the counterattack as Youri Tielemans sent Watkins clear through on goal and the striker chipped the ball over Raya with a delicate finish.

It was Arsenal's first league loss of 2024.

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