Arsenal’s pursuit of the Premier League title faced a setback as they fell 1-0 to Aston Villa at Villa Park, just days after a dramatic victory against Manchester City. The match started with an early lead for Villa, courtesy of John McGinn’s seventh-minute goal, a result of a well-executed passing move involving Leon Bailey.
Despite Arsenal’s efforts to equalize, including a shot from Gabriel Martinelli cleared off the line, they couldn’t break through Villa’s defense. Emiliano Martínez, their former goalkeeper, stood strong, denying Arsenal any goals. The defeat pushed Arsenal down to second place in the league standings, with Liverpool taking the lead after a comeback victory against Crystal Palace earlier in the day.
Notable milestones were achieved by Arsenal players in this match. Bukayo Saka marked his 150th Premier League appearance, becoming the fifth youngest player to reach that landmark. However, his chance to give Arsenal the lead in the sixth minute went amiss. Similarly, Martin Ødegaard celebrated his 100th Premier League game for Arsenal but couldn’t convert a crucial chance in the 39th minute.
Villa’s McGinn, on the other hand, continued his impressive form, scoring his fourth goal in the Premier League this season, already surpassing his tally from the previous campaign. Leon Bailey extended his streak, having scored or assisted in each of his last seven Premier League games at Villa Park.
Despite Arsenal’s historical struggles in away games when trailing at halftime, having won only one of their last 22 such matches, there was a glimmer of hope for the Gunners, given their comeback win at Villa Park last season.
Arsenal had opportunities to level the score, with Saka having a goal ruled offside and Havertz’s late effort disallowed due to handball. However, Villa held on to secure the 1-0 victory, maintaining their perfect record this season when leading at halftime. The win solidified Villa’s third place in the Premier League, closing the gap to just one point behind Arsenal.