Aston Villa Complete Season Double Over Arsenal

Aston Villa completed a double over Arsenal for the first time in 28 years by staging a narrow-escape victory over us on Saturday afternoon. It was their second victory over us this season having defeated us 3-0 at the Emirates Stadium back in November.

Mikel Arteta was forced to make two changes to the side that lost at Molineux as a result of suspensions to David Luiz and Bernd Leno. They were replaced by Gabriel and Mat Ryan respectively.

The latter made his debut since signing on loan from Brighton in January. He had been injured but recovered on time to fill in for our first choice goalkeeper. Unfortunately, his debut was soiled as early as the 76th second from kick-off.

Our former man Emiliano Martinez initiated the move that ended in our hands but then a mistake by Cedric Soares gifted the ball to Bertrand Traore who then sent it to Watkins to score. Ryan was well in place and could have averted the danger if not for the fact that the ball deflected off Rob Holding into he net.

It was still very early, so we had a lot of time to make amends to even win the match. That will not be the case for us at full-time.

Apart from the early goal we conceded which we cannot blame Ryan fully for, he was solid for the rest of the encounter, denying Traore, Watkins and John McGinn. We hardly tested Martinez in the remaining part of the first half. When we eventually did, we were given more reasons to regret letting our former man join a league rival.

Arsenal improved in the second half. Nicolas Pepe hit a shot with his right leg following good partnership with Emile Smith Rowe. ESR got a chance later on only to be denied by Mings. 

Emi stopped Bellerin and as we were making no headway, Arteta brought in Aubameyang, Odegaard and Willian to give life to the attack. 

Ryan ensured that we remained safe by saving Grealish's effort while Watkins shot just wide. Odegaard shot one too from 12 yards but it went past goal, keeping us behind till the end. 

We completed two consecutive losses in the Premier League with our next match slated for Saturday. Leeds United will be coming to the Emirates Stadium. 

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