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Aston Villa 1-0 Arsenal: Trezeguet winner lifts Villa out of bottom three

By Neil JohnstonBBC Sport
Trezeguet scores for Aston Villa against Arsenal in the Premier League at Villa Park
Trezeguet has scored three goals in his past three Premier League appearances

Aston Villa's players must prepare for a "cup final" after showing "courage" to secure a priceless win over Arsenal and move out of the Premier League relegation zone with one game to go, says boss Dean Smith.

Trezeguet beat Emiliano Martinez with a powerful first-time finish after Tyrone Mings had diverted a corner into the Egypt international's path to lift Villa out of the bottom three for the first time since 28 February.

Villa moved above managerless Watford, who had started the day 17th before a heavy 4-0 home defeat by Manchester City, on goal difference.

The Midlanders' second win in three games sets up a dramatic final day at the bottom of the table on Sunday, which Villa will begin level on points with Watford and three points ahead of Bournemouth - with two of those three teams likely to go down.

Meanwhile, 16th-placed West Ham, who also play on Wednesday, still require one point to secure safety, although their goal difference ought to keep them up.

Villa's last game is away to West Ham and if they win - providing Watford do not win by a margin two or more goals greater than they do - Smith's men will secure another season in the top flight, having spent much of it in the bottom three.

"We had seen Watford play earlier and get beat. We knew we had to get a win to even catch them up," Smith told BBC Sport. "By getting the win it puts our fate in our own hands.

"There was a lot of character and a lot of courage from the players. It was a massive performance and I am proud of the players for that but now we have to recover and get ready for our cup final.

"We're working hard to maintain our status and the last three results have shown that."

A 10th league defeat means Arsenal, playing in their first match since reaching the FA Cup final, will finish outside the top six for the first time in 25 years.

They can come no higher than eighth after a disappointing performance by Mikel Arteta's side, Eddie Nketiah going closest to equalising with a header which hit the post.

However, the Gunners will still have a big say in the relegation battle when they host Villa's rivals Watford on Sunday.

During the match, a banner reading "Back Arteta Kroenke Out' was towed by an aeroplane over Villa Park in reference to Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke.

Aston Villa 1-0 Arsenal: Survival is now in our own hands - Dean Smith on Villa win

Villa's fate back in their own hands

After Watford's 2-1 win over Newcastle on 11 July, Villa looked down and out - seven points from safety with four games to go.

But Smith's side have reacted magnificently in the closing stages of the season, beating Crystal Palace, drawing at Everton before overcoming Arsenal with a gritty display oozing in character to give themselves a fighting chance of staying up.

Watford's defeat earlier on Tuesday opened the door for Villa to climb out of the relegation zone for the first time in five months, despite being forced to reshuffle their defence in the first half after Ahmed Elmohamady was forced off with an injury.

Smith's side have scored six goals since the restart with Trezeguet netting half of them, his latest an instinctive finish which beat Martinez for pace and power.

Villa were forced to endure some nervous moments, particularly towards the end after substitute Keinan Davis wasted a glorious chance to double the lead after firing wide.

Smith reacted to the final whistle by clenching his fist - with Villa's fate back in their own hands.

They will be safe if they win (presuming Watford do not win by two more goals than they do), or draw providing the Hornets do not win. But defeat would send Villa down if Watford avoid defeat or if Bournemouth win at Everton.

Aston Villa 1-0 Arsenal: FA Cup even important after disappointing loss - Mikel Arteta

Gunners take a step backwards

This felt like a big step backwards for Arsenal after a positive spell in which they collected 13 points from six games.

Having followed up victory over runaway champions Liverpool by beating Manchester City to seal a first FA Cup final visit since 2017, the Gunners did not force Villa keeper Pepe Reina into a serious save.

It was the first time Villa had not faced any shots on target in a Premier League game since January 2016.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang's stream of goals have been a highlight of his side's season, but the Gabon forward was frustrated at Villa Park and his future remains a hot topic of conversation among supporters.

A plane towing a banner flies over Villa Park during Aston Villa's match with Arsenal
An aeroplane circled Villa Park

"The quicker we do it the better because the player will be more focused, more determined and more calm," said Arteta on the eve of this game when asked if Aubameyang, whose current deal expires next summer, will sign a new contract.

It was Nketiah who went closest to scoring for the visitors, the England Under-21 forward heading against the post after connecting with a corner.

The Gunners can still qualify for Europe but they will now have to win the FA Cup to play in next season's Europa League.

"I don't think the league table lies at all," conceded Arteta. "You can see the gap and the difference in points with the other teams. It's where we are. That's the reality."

Man of the match - Jack Grealish (Aston Villa)

Jack Grealish challenges for the ball during Aston Villa's 1-0 win over Arsenal in the Premier League
Another huge shift from Jack Grealish, the Villa captain inspiring his team-mates to a crucial win which ensures they are out of the relegation zone with one game left

A 22-year wait - the stats

  • Villa have beaten Arsenal at Villa Park in a Premier League game for the first time since they did so in December 1998 under John Gregory, ending a run of 17 home games without a win against the Gunners.
  • Arsenal have lost four of their six away Premier League matches since the restart.
  • The Gunners have lost 10 league matches for a third consecutive season for the first time since a run of seven seasons between 1981-82 and 1987-88.
  • 21 of the 46 goals Arsenal have conceded in the Premier League this term have come from set-pieces.

What's next?

Both teams are involved in games which affect relegation on the final day of the season - while Villa visit West Ham on Sunday (16:00 BST) looking to stay up, Arsenal round off their Premier League campaign at home to relegation-threatened Watford at the same time.

Line-ups

Aston Villa

Formation 4-3-3

  • 29Reina
  • 27El MohamadySubstituted forGuilbertat 25'minutes
  • 15Konsa
  • 40Mings
  • 18TargettBooked at 87mins
  • 7McGinnSubstituted forLansburyat 90+3'minutes
  • 6Douglas LuizBooked at 71mins
  • 14HourihaneSubstituted forNakambaat 73'minutes
  • 17Trézéguet
  • 20SamattaSubstituted forDavisat 72'minutes
  • 10Grealish

Substitutes

  • 8Lansbury
  • 11Nakamba
  • 21El Ghazi
  • 23Jota
  • 24Guilbert
  • 25Nyland
  • 30Hause
  • 36Vassilev
  • 39Davis

Arsenal

Formation 3-4-3

  • 26Martínez
  • 16Holding
  • 23David LuizSubstituted forPépéat 60'minutes
  • 31KolasinacBooked at 80mins
  • 17Cédric SoaresSubstituted forWillockat 79'minutesBooked at 90mins
  • 8Ceballos
  • 11TorreiraBooked at 35minsSubstituted forXhakaat 45'minutes
  • 77SakaSubstituted forTierneyat 60'minutes
  • 30Nketiah
  • 9LacazetteBooked at 61mins
  • 14Aubameyang

Substitutes

  • 2Bellerín
  • 3Tierney
  • 5Papastathopoulos
  • 15Maitland-Niles
  • 19Pépé
  • 28Willock
  • 33Macey
  • 34Xhaka
  • 57Smith
Referee:
Chris Kavanagh

Match Stats

Home TeamAston VillaAway TeamArsenal
Possession
Home31%
Away69%
Shots
Home8
Away7
Shots on Target
Home3
Away0
Corners
Home8
Away9
Fouls
Home13
Away19

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Aston Villa 1, Arsenal 0.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Aston Villa 1, Arsenal 0.

  3. Substitution

    Substitution, Aston Villa. Henri Lansbury replaces John McGinn.

  4. Booking

    Joseph Willock (Arsenal) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  5. Post update

    Foul by Joseph Willock (Arsenal).

  6. Post update

    John McGinn (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  7. Post update

    Granit Xhaka (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  8. Post update

    Foul by Trézéguet (Aston Villa).

  9. Post update

    Corner, Arsenal. Conceded by Tyrone Mings.

  10. Booking

    Matt Targett (Aston Villa) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  11. Post update

    Nicolas Pépé (Arsenal) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  12. Post update

    Foul by Matt Targett (Aston Villa).

  13. Post update

    Dani Ceballos (Arsenal) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  14. Post update

    Foul by Marvelous Nakamba (Aston Villa).

  15. Post update

    Attempt missed. John McGinn (Aston Villa) left footed shot from the right side of the box misses to the right.

  16. Post update

    Foul by Alexandre Lacazette (Arsenal).

  17. Post update

    Ezri Konsa Ngoyo (Aston Villa) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  18. Booking

    Sead Kolasinac (Arsenal) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  19. Post update

    Foul by Sead Kolasinac (Arsenal).

  20. Post update

    John McGinn (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

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