Aston Villa beats Arsenal, ‘lucky’ Liverpool leads the

Unai Emery came back to haunt Arsenal on Saturday as Aston Villa cut another English Premier League title challenger down to size.

A 1-0 win at Villa Park set a new club record of 15 straight home victories in the league and moved Emery’s team to within two points of first-placed Liverpool.

How sweet it must have been for the Spanish coach to get the better of his former club after being fired by Arsenal in 2019. He had already rebuilt his reputation before taking over a Villa team that was in danger of being relegated last season. But his work with the Midlands club could be his finest yet in a career that has seen him win four Europa League titles.

Third-placed Villa looks like a serious title contender after a recent run that includes wins against Manchester City and Tottenham.

“We are increasing mentality and believing how we can be stronger,” Emery said. “We want to be in the top eight teams, but a lot of teams want to be there. At the beginning there were seven top teams, but we will fight to be in there. While we are in we can be excited and motivated to get it.”

John McGinn scored the only goal after seven minutes and Villa held on to deny late-goal specialist Arsenal an equalizer that manager Mikel Arteta believed was the least his team deserved.

“I’m really proud of the way the team played in this stadium against this team,” Arteta said. “We deserved to win the game, but you have to be better in the boxes and things have to go your way as well.

“I see many, many teams come here and I haven’t seen many do what we have done to them today. The result is not there but, certainly, the way we played it was there.”

Arsenal led the league at the start of the day and dropped to second and a point behind Liverpool.

Lucky Liverpool

Manager Jurgen Klopp was relieved after “lucky” Liverpool pulled off a comeback 2-1 win at Crystal Palace.

Klopp admitted his team was “horrendous” as it trailed 1-0 at Selhurst Park after Jean-Philippe Mateta’s penalty in the 57th.

The attitude and momentum flipped when Palace’s Jordan Ayew was sent off in the 75th and a minute later Mo Salah’s deflected shot levelled the score. Almost inevitably, Harvey Elliott struck from distance to seal victory in stoppage time.

“I’m a very happy manager in this moment, but I know we were lucky as well,” Klopp said. “If you only win your really good games you have no chance to be really successful, that’s how it is, and obviously today was not a really good game from us.

“For 76 minutes it was a really bad performance.”

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