Goalkeeper Mat Ryan conceded 74 seconds into his debut for Arsenal as Aston Villa completed their first top-flight double over the Gunners for 28 years.
Former Arsenal keeper Emiliano Martinez started the move which led to Bertrand Traore pouncing on a mistake by Cedric Soares before Ollie Watkins scored with a shot that deflected off Rob Holding.
Boyhood Gunners fan Ryan, signed on loan from Brighton in January and starting in place of suspended first-choice keeper Bernd Leno, produced a fine save to deny Traore a goal on his return to the Villa side.
Martinez frustrated his former club further when the Argentine produced an excellent save to keep out Granit Xhaka’s free-kick.
Villa move up to eighth in the Premier League with Arsenal in 10th.
Watkins moves into double figures
Villa climbed above Tottenham and closed to within three points off fifth spot through Watkins’ 10th Premier League goal since joining from Brentford for a club record £28m in September.
Three of those goals have been against Arsenal, the 25-year-old scoring two in Villa’s 3-0 win at Emirates Stadium in November.
After a barren run of games without a goal between November and January, there are clear signs Watkins is warming to playing at a higher level.
In netting Villa’s earliest Premier League goal since 2014, Watkins has four goals in his past five top-flight appearances after Cedric’s intended pass to Gabriel was way too short, allowing Traore to nip in and cross for the striker to score.
This was Villa’s sixth game in 18 days but there was little sign of fatigue as they worked hard to return to winning ways after being picked apart by West Ham on Wednesday.
John McGinn and Jack Grealish were both denied by Ryan while Watkins forced the Arsenal keeper into two further saves.
Burkina Faso forward Traore brought fresh energy after being a substitute on Wednesday, while Ezri Konsa and Tyrone Mings helped limit Arsenal to three attempts on target.
During a sustained period of Arsenal pressure, Mings did well to block Emile Smith Rowe’s goal-bound attempt and Matty Cash got in the way of Bukayo Saka’s shot.
More to follow
- 4KonsaBooked at 31mins
- 19NakambaBooked at 35mins
- 15TraoréSubstituted forTrézéguetat 66′minutes
- 20BarkleySubstituted forRamseyat 78′minutes
- 10GrealishBooked at 90mins
- 6Douglas Luiz
- 21El Ghazi
- 27El Mohamady
- 17Cédric SoaresSubstituted forØdegaardat 65′minutes
- 18ParteyBooked at 52minsSubstituted forWillianat 74′minutes
- 34XhakaBooked at 90mins
- 32Smith Rowe
- 9LacazetteSubstituted forAubameyangat 59′minutes
Match ends, Aston Villa 1, Arsenal 0.
Second Half ends, Aston Villa 1, Arsenal 0.
Jack Grealish (Aston Villa) is shown the yellow card.
Corner, Arsenal. Conceded by Tyrone Mings.
Granit Xhaka (Arsenal) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Granit Xhaka (Arsenal).
Jack Grealish (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Martin Ødegaard (Arsenal).
Emiliano Martínez (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt blocked. Willian (Arsenal) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Granit Xhaka.
Foul by Emile Smith Rowe (Arsenal).
Trézéguet (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt saved. Jacob Ramsey (Aston Villa) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Marvelous Nakamba.
Offside, Aston Villa. Jack Grealish tries a through ball, but Ollie Watkins is caught offside.
Attempt missed. Martin Ødegaard (Arsenal) left footed shot from the centre of the box is too high.
Attempt missed. Ollie Watkins (Aston Villa) left footed shot from the left side of the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Jack Grealish.
Foul by Willian (Arsenal).
John McGinn (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt saved. Gabriel Magalhães (Arsenal) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Granit Xhaka with a headed pass.
Corner, Arsenal. Conceded by Matthew Cash.