Watkins brace sees Aston Villa beat Arsenal as Martinez keeps clean sheet

Date published: Sunday 8th November 2020 9:13 - Samuel Bannister

Aston Villa bounced back from successive defeats to overcome Arsenal in convincing fashion with a 3-0 win.

Villa had started the season with a perfect record after four games, until Leeds and Southampton gave them their first defeats.

Those losses had seen Dean Smith’s side drop out of the top four, but they moved just three points off top spot – and with a game in hand – by condemning Arsenal to their fourth defeat of the season.

Villa thought they had taken the lead inside the first minute, when Jack Grealish set up John McGinn. The Scotland international controlled the ball with one foot and fired home with his other.

However, the goal was ruled out by VAR. It took more than four minutes to come to the decision, with Ross Barkley eventually deemed to have been interfering with play due to blocking Bernd Leno’s view from an offside position.

Villa did get the lead in the 24th minute. Once again, the move came down the left-hand side, with Matt Targett crossing low for Trezeguet.

Before the Egyptian midfielder could tap it home at the far post, Arsenal defender Bukayo Saka had already bundled it into his own net to give Villa a 1-0 advantage.

With that being an own goal, Villa actually made it to half-time without having a shot on target, but still went in at the break in front.

Mikel Arteta made a change at half-time, replacing summer signing Thomas Partey with Real Madrid loanee Dani Ceballos.

Arteta then made a double substitution midway through the half to freshen things up further, sending on Nicolas Pepe and Eddie Nketiah for Wilian and Alexandre Lacazette.

The changes tried to alter the momentum of the game, as Arsenal began to up the pressure.

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Watkins double seals win

However, it was Smith’s side who got the next goal, thus doubling their lead. In the 72nd minute, Ollie Watkins continued his promising recent form with his fifth league goal of the season.

Ross Barkley sent Douglas Luiz’s ball forwards with a volley into the striker’s path for a diving header. It brought up Watkins’ first away goal in the Premier League.

And just three minutes later, he got his second. As Villa continued to pile on the pressure, Ceballos had to clear a shot from Grealish off the line. Moments after, the England international set up Watkins for Villa’s third.

Former Arsenal keeper Emiliano Martinez threw the ball out to Grealish, who carried it far up the pitch before threading it through for Watkins. He coolly finished between Leno’s legs to make it 3-0.

Martinez kept hold of his clean sheet, perhaps proving a point to Arsenal after they let him go this summer despite some good form towards the end of last season.

The Gunners have now conceded more goals than Villa so far this season, albeit having played a game more. The 3-0 scoreline matches Arsenal’s record home defeat in the Premier League.

Arteta’s side drop to 11th in the table as a result, while Villa move sixth. They have now won more away games in the Premier League this season than they did in the entirety of last season.


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