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Arsenal v Aston Villa Match Report, 08/11/2020

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B. Saka (25 og)
O. Watkins (72)
O. Watkins (75)
Emirates Stadium
Arsenal 0-3 Aston Villa: Watkins brace helps down Gunners
21:14 GMT 08/11/2020
Watkins cropped
Arsenal suffered back-to-back home Premier League defeats after Ollie Watkins helped Aston Villa to a 3-0 win at the Emirates Stadium.

Ollie Watkins took his tally to six Premier League goals for the season as Aston Villa claimed a shock 3-0 victory at Arsenal in the Premier League on Sunday.

Villa had taken the lead when Arsenal defender Bukayo Saka accidentally slid the ball into his own net, before Watkins made the result certain in the second half.

The striker finished off a fine team move when he headed in from close range, and then fired an angled shot through the legs of Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno a few minutes later.

It was Arsenal's second consecutive home league defeat of the season following a 1-0 loss to Leicester at the Emirates last month.

Villa had the ball in the net inside the first minute when John McGinn fired home, only for referee Martin Atkinson to decide via a VAR review at pitchside that Ross Barkley had obscured the view of Arsenal goalkeeper Bernd Leno from an offside position.

A weak pass from McGinn at the other end almost let in Thomas Partey shortly afterwards, but Emiliano Martinez reacted quickly to clear the danger.

Villa were the more positive side, however, and took the lead just before the half-hour mark when Barkley's pass pierced the Arsenal defence and Matt Targett's cross – intended for Trezeguet – was misdirected into the net by Saka.

Alexandre Lacazette went close to equalising late in the half when he got on the end of a superb cross from Kieran Tierney but could only head over.

Arsenal had only won one of their six games under Mikel Arteta when trailing at half time (D2 L4) before this encounter, and some clinical finishing from Watkins stifled any hopes of a fightback.

The striker, who netted a hat-trick against champions Liverpool earlier in the season, got his head on the end of a volleyed cross from Barkley, leaving Leno with no hope.

Villa added another shortly afterwards when Jack Grealish burst forward, as Arsenal were caught on the counterattack, and fed the ball to Watkins who finished confidently.

What does it mean? One step forward, two steps back for Arteta

Last weekend's victory over Manchester United seemed to be a significant moment for Arteta, but this home defeat is a setback.

It is still early days, but the Gunners missed the chance to keep the pressure on their rivals for a place in the top four. Worryingly for Arteta, they have also failed to keep a clean sheet in any of their last seven home league games, since beating Norwich 4-0 in July.

Villa, meanwhile, seem watertight at the back and Dean Smith's team are the third side in Premier League history to win each of their first three away games in a season without conceding a goal, after Chelsea in 2005-06 and Manchester City in 2015-16.

Watkins in wonderland

Watkins has now scored six goals in seven games for Villa in the Premier League this season - only Dean Saunders (seven) and Dion Dublin (nine) have ever netted more in their first seven appearances for Villa in the competition.

His finishing – scoring twice from a total of three shots – was clinical at the Emirates as he helped Villa's fine start to the season continue.

Saka well below his best

At 19 years and 64 days old, Saka became the fourth-youngest player to score an own goal in the Premier League, and youngest since Southampton's Martin Cranie in May 2004 (17 years 218 days v Chelsea).

The mistake capped a miserable evening for the promising young defender as he failed to get to grips with the threat posed by Villa's attacking players - winning just one tackle.

What's next?

Both teams are back in Premier League action after the international break. Arsenal face Leeds United at Elland Road on Sunday, November 22 while Villa host Brighton And Hove Albion a day earlier.