Aston Villa leave The Emirates this evening with three points – dismissing Arsenal with a convincing 3-0 win.
Words: Regan Foy | @findfoy
Aston Villa arrived at The Emirates this evening hoping to rectify their previous two games against Leeds and Southampton.
It got off to the perfect start for Aston Villa in their away kit for the first time. Matt Targett played a long ball to Grealish to controlled the ball well, before playing the ball to an onrushing McGinn to unleashed an explosive strike with his left foot into the roof of the net.
Well, at least we thought so. After a lengthy delay, VAR and referee Martin Atkinson after checking the pitch-side screen ruled the goal out as Ross Barkley was adjudged to be offside and in the vision of Leno.
A mistake from John McGinn almost let Arsenal take the lead instead just before the ten minute mark as Thomas Partey raced after a loose ball and fired towards goal – but Emiliano Martinez was wise to it and cleared the ball away.
Aston Villa’s eventual opener came from serial-back post scorer Trezeguet. After a period of slow play, Matt Targett found himself at the near post – where he squared the ball to the back for Trezeguet to tap in despite a rash challenge.
Arsenal attempted to respond before the half hour mark and the Villans found themselves under the cosh for a brief period of the game. Important blocks from Ezri Konsa and Matt Targett kept Arsenal at bay.
Alexandre Lacazette had an excellent opportunity to bring Arsenal level five minutes before the end of the half, but the French forward couldn’t keep his header low and ended up firing over the bar.
Aston Villa went in at the break in the lead, and hoping they could make it two victories from two against Arsenal in 2020.
As the second half started, Arsenal made a change, replacing Thomas Partey with Dani Ceballos.
Trezeguet forced Leno into a strong save at his near post early into the half, finding himself in acres of space and attempting a shot into the top right of the net.
The threat of Aston Villa continued as Jack Grealish cut in at the near post and tried to strike it into the net – but Leno saved well with a reaction save. From some of the resulting corners, Jack attempted a Derby-esque volley, but Tierney bravely got his head to the ball.
Rob Holding could have equalised for Arsenal on the hour mark as he found himself in acres of space, but he swept his shot high and wide.
The 63rd minute saw Arsenal make their final two changes, replacing Willian and Lacazete with Pepe and Nketiah.
Aston Villa picked up a second goal with 20 minutes remaining as Douglas Luiz pinged a high ball towards the back post towards Ross Barkley, who placed a first time, volleyed pass across goal for Watkins to head into an almost open net.
That goal seemed to make Arsenal self-capitulate – or rather Aston Villa were going for the jugular. Shortly after, Jack Grealish had a shot cleared off the line – before the 75th minute saw Jack race down the pitch is a counter-attack after some smart play from Emiliano Martinez. The captain played Watkins in to goal, where he fired between Leno’s legs and into the net.
As the game headed towards its conclusion, Anwar El Ghazi replaced Trezeguet in the 88th minute.
There were three minutes added at the end of the 90 in which Villa had a handful of chances.
Great win, boys!