HomePremier LeagueArsenal 0-2 Aston Villa: Man City top Premier League table after late...

Arsenal 0-2 Aston Villa: Man City top Premier League table after late goals condemn Gunners

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Arsenal failed to overtake Manchester City at the top of the Premier League table as late goals from Leon Bailey and Ollie Watkins gave Aston Villa a deserved win at Emirates Stadium on Sunday.

Mikel Arteta’s side applied more sustained pressure before the goals but the fourth-placed Villans were unlucky when top scorer Watkins clipped the inside of a post with a shot with seven minutes of the first half to play.

Youri Tielemans almost went one better with a strike from an audacious distance 62 minutes in, finding the crossbar and a post to the relief of the home fans at Emirates Stadium.

Read our other football news stories here:
Report: West Ham 0-2 Fulham
Report: Liverpool 0-1 Palace
Frank scoffs at Toney reports

Bailey broke the deadlock by tapping in Lucas Digne’s cross six minutes from time and Villa sealed victory three minutes later when Watkins broke clear and beat David Raya with a cool clipped finish for his 19th Premier League goal of the season.

The result leaves Arsenal two point behind City with a goal-difference advantage over Liverpool, who lost at home to Crystal Palace earlier on Sunday. Villa are in a strong position to qualify for the Uefa Champions League, rising three points clear of Tottenham.

Premier League results gift City

Pep Guardiola is likely to dismiss repeated questions this week about his side being in pole position, but the City manager could not have asked for a better pair of results on Sunday.

After misfiring Liverpool lost 1-0 to Palace, Arsenal were expected to avoid another surprise result despite the danger posed by opponents having an excellent season.

Gabriel Jesus headed wide, Bukayo Saka shot against the side netting and Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez produced fine saves from Kai Havertz and Leandro trossard as Arsenal threatened an opener in between Villa testing the frame of Raya’s goal.

Only four of Arsenal’s 18 shots came during the second half, when Bailey’s goal and Watkins’ delightful chip capped a memorable four days for Villa following their 2-1 home win over Lille in the first leg of their Uefa Europa Conference League quarter-final on Thursday.

Whether fifth place will be enough to qualify for next season’s Champions League depends on co-efficient rankings at the end of the season, but Villa look more likely to claim fourth than Spurs, who have a game more to play but lost 4-0 at Newcastle on Saturday.

Far more of the attention will fall on the very top of the table, where City’s title defence is now in their hands with six matches remaining for the top three.

City might have expected their 5-1 home thrashing of Luton Town on Saturday to be the highlight of their weekend. Little more than 24 hours later, they have become sure favourites to retain the Premier League.

Ben Miller
Ben Miller
Ben has more than 10 years' experience in sports journalism, covering two EURO tournaments, European club competitions, the Premier League, EFL and WSL and a variety of other major sporting events.

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