Watkins hits Villa winner as Arsenal lose again

Emiliano Martinez has kept 11 clean sheets in 21 Premier League games since joining Aston Villa from Arsenal for £17m in September

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.

Player of the match

MingsTyrone Mings

Aston Villa

  1. Squad number5Player nameMings

  2. Squad number11Player nameWatkins

  3. Squad number10Player nameGrealish

  4. Squad number18Player nameTargett

  5. Squad number2Player nameCash

  6. Squad number26Player nameMartínez

  7. Squad number4Player nameKonsa

  8. Squad number19Player nameNakamba

  9. Squad number7Player nameMcGinn

  10. Squad number15Player nameTraoré

  11. Squad number17Player nameTrézéguet

  12. Squad number20Player nameBarkley

  13. Squad number41Player nameRamsey

More to follow

Line-ups

Aston Villa

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 26Martínez
  • 2Cash
  • 4KonsaBooked at 31mins
  • 5Mings
  • 18Targett
  • 7McGinn
  • 19NakambaBooked at 35mins
  • 15TraoréSubstituted forTrézéguetat 66′minutes
  • 20BarkleySubstituted forRamseyat 78′minutes
  • 10GrealishBooked at 90mins
  • 11Watkins

Substitutes

  • 1Heaton
  • 6Douglas Luiz
  • 17Trézéguet
  • 21El Ghazi
  • 22Engels
  • 25Sanson
  • 27El Mohamady
  • 39Davis
  • 41Ramsey

Arsenal

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 33Ryan
  • 2Bellerín
  • 16Holding
  • 6Gabriel
  • 17Cédric SoaresSubstituted forØdegaardat 65′minutes
  • 18ParteyBooked at 52minsSubstituted forWillianat 74′minutes
  • 34XhakaBooked at 90mins
  • 7Saka
  • 32Smith Rowe
  • 19Pépé
  • 9LacazetteSubstituted forAubameyangat 59′minutes

Substitutes

  • 8Ceballos
  • 11Ødegaard
  • 12Willian
  • 13Rúnarsson
  • 14Aubameyang
  • 21Chambers
  • 22Marí
  • 25Elneny
  • 35Martinelli

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