Aston Villa stun Arsenal; Liverpool-City draw

Aston Villa returned to winning ways in stunning fashion as Ollie Watkins scored twice in a 3-0 away thumping of an abject Arsenal in drizzly north London on Sunday.
Aston Villa stun Arsenal; Liverpool-City draw

LONDON: Aston Villa returned to winning ways in stunning fashion as Ollie Watkins scored twice in a 3-0 away thumping of an abject Arsenal in drizzly north London on Sunday.

The visitors had already seen a John McGinn goal ruled out for a harsh offside decision when Bukayo Saka, under pressure from Trezeguet, put into his own goal after 25 minutes.

Villa went up a gear in the second half with Jack Grealish pulling the strings in midfield and it was no surprise when Arsenal-fan Watkins headed home in the 72nd minute.

Watkins struck again three minutes later after a rapid counter-attack to seal the points.

Consecutive defeats to Leeds United and Southampton had halted Villa's early-season charge but they moved back up to sixth with 15 points from seven games.

Remarkably Villa have already won more away games this season than they managed in the whole of the last campaign.

Inconsistent Arsenal are down in 11th with 12 points after four wins and four defeats so far.

Villa were denied a dream start when McGinn thumped a piledriver past Bernd Leno but Ross Barkley was adjudged to have been in the line of sight of the keeper while in an offside position — referee Martin Atkinson making the decision after viewing a pitchside monitor.

Rather than provide a wake-up call for Arsenal it had the opposite effect and a slick Villa took the lead when Matt Targett's low cross was turned in by Saka, although Trezeguet was poised to score anyway.

Willian put a decent chance high over the bar for the hosts and Alexandre Lacazette should have done better with a clear header from Kieran Tierney's whipped cross in the 41st minute.

Villa took the game by the scruff of the net in the second half and Leno made saves from Trezeguet and Grealish, either side of Dani Ceballos curling just wide for Arsenal.

Dean Smith's side doubled their lead with a goal of stunning quality. Douglas Luiz picked out Barkley with a raking diagonal ball and the England midfielder's first-time volleyed cross was met by the alert Watkins to nod home.

Things got even worse for Mikel Arteta's side when Villa keeper Emiliano Martinez, formerly of Arsenal, released Grealish down the left and the midfielder scorched across the turf on a 50m run before slipping a pass to Watkins to shoot home.

Champions Liverpool held by City

The revolving door at the summit of the Premier League continued spinning on Sunday as first Tottenham Hotspur and then Leicester City reached it before Liverpool stumbled in their bid to reclaim it with a draw at Manchester City.

Southampton had begun the day as unlikely leaders but Harry Kane's late goal, his 150th in the Premier League, earned Tottenham a 1-0 win at West Bromwich Albion.

That put Jose Mourinho's men into first place with 17 points from eight games but a couple of hours later Leicester's 1-0 win against Wolverhampton Wanderers, sealed with a Jamie Vardy penalty, hoisted them up to 18 points.

Champions Liverpool were on course to move top when Mohamed Salah fired them ahead from the penalty spot after Sadio Mane had teased Kyle Walker into a foul.

But Gabriel Jesus equalised after a smart turn and City could have been in front before halftime had Kevin de Bruyne converted a penalty awarded via a VAR check after his cross was adjudged to have struck the arm of Joe Gomez.

The second half petered out as Liverpool ended the day in third spot behind Tottenham on goal difference while City, yet to really get going, remain in 10th.

Liverpool boss Juergen Klopp said the poor quality of the second half was a result of a punishing schedule and said clubs should be allowed to use five substitutes as they were after Project Restart at the end of last season. Agencies

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