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Aston Villa 1-0 Arsenal: Keeper Mat Ryan concedes 74 seconds into Gunners debut

By Neil JohnstonBBC Sport
Aston Villa keeper Emiliano Martinez in action against Arsenal's Bukayo Saka
Emiliano Martinez has kept 11 clean sheets in 21 Premier League games since joining Aston Villa from Arsenal for £17m in September

Dean Smith says his Aston Villa players "like to make history" after they completed a first top-flight double over Arsenal for 28 years.

Goalkeeper Mat Ryan conceded 74 seconds into his debut for the Gunners as Villa followed up a 3-0 win at Emirates Stadium in November with a narrow victory at Villa Park.

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.

"That's the first time we've done the double over Arsenal since the inception of the Premier League in 1992-93," said Smith.

"These players like to make history as we've seen in the last couple of years."

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 while Arsenal's second successive defeat leaves them 10th.

Watkins moves into double figures

Villa climbed above Tottenham and closed to within three points of 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 in London earlier in the season.

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.

Aston Villa go close to scoring against Arsenal in the Premier League
Aston Villa have as many points after 21 games as they managed for the whole of 2019-20 Premier League season

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 off by West Ham on Wednesday.

John McGinn and Jack Grealish were both denied by Ryan while Watkins forced the new 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.

"It was a real hard-working performance," added Smith.

"We've got the quality to score goals but that was more like us - a real dogged display against a good offensive team."

With 35 points from 21 games, Villa have equalled their tally from 2019-20 when they stayed up on the final day of the season.

Asked whether qualifying for Europe was a possibility, Smith added: "We're not looking that far ahead. People talk about that and you fall flat on your face against West Ham."

Dogged Villa are something to behold - Smith

Lacklustre Arsenal

Arsenal once again struggled without their inspirational forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who started on the bench for the second successive game.

Gabon striker Aubameyang has been absent in recent weeks because his mother has been in ill health.

Since the captain last started for his club, the Gunners have gone out of the FA Cup and taken four points from four games in the league, where they are without a win in three.

Aubameyang came on for the final 30 minutes at Villa Park but, despite a spell of sustained pressure towards the end, Mikel Arteta's side failed to score for the third time in five games.

After scoring against Wolves on Tuesday, Nicolas Pepe wasted two good chances while Martinez saved well from Hector Bellerin. Substitute Martin Odegaard blazed a late chance over the bar.

The Gunners, who had two players sent off at Wolves in the previous game, were unhappy when Konsa's first-half foul on Saka did not result in a red card.

Ryan, Arsenal's fourth keeper of the season, recovered from conceding early to produce some good saves but Arteta's side remain anchored in mid-table after a 10th league defeat.

Arteta was frustrated by his side's performance. "We gave them the goal and another three big chances," said the Gunners boss.

"We created more than enough openings but when we had to score a goal we didn't find the the right pass or the right shot. We should have won the game comfortably."

Aston Villa 1-0 Arsenal: Arteta extremely disappointed after defeat by Aston Villa

Double joy for Villa - the stats

  • Aston Villa have completed a league double over Arsenal for the first time since the inaugural Premier League season in 1992-93 under Ron Atkinson.
  • Arsenal have lost three consecutive league games against Aston Villa without scoring a goal for the first time since August 1920-March 1922.
  • Ollie Watkins became the first Aston Villa player to score in three consecutive Premier League matches at Villa Park since Darren Bent in November 2011.
  • Mat Ryan became just the fourth goalkeeper in the competition's history to concede within the opening two minutes of their full Premier League debut for a club, after Gavin Ward (Bolton Wanderers), Ian Bennett (Sheffield United) and Daniele Padelli (Liverpool).
  • Ryan is the first Australian to appear for Arsenal in a competitive game since John Kosmina against Red Star Belgrade in December 1978 in the Uefa Cup.

What's next?

Both teams have a full week to prepare for their next Premier League matches. Aston Villa visit Brighton next Saturday (20:00 GMT) and Arsenal host Leeds on Sunday, 14 February (16:30).

Player of the match

MingsTyrone Mings

with an average of 8.15

Aston Villa

  1. Squad number5Player nameMings
    Average rating


  2. Squad number11Player nameWatkins
    Average rating


  3. Squad number10Player nameGrealish
    Average rating


  4. Squad number18Player nameTargett
    Average rating


  5. Squad number2Player nameCash
    Average rating


  6. Squad number26Player nameMartínez
    Average rating


  7. Squad number4Player nameKonsa
    Average rating


  8. Squad number19Player nameNakamba
    Average rating


  9. Squad number7Player nameMcGinn
    Average rating


  10. Squad number15Player nameTraoré
    Average rating


  11. Squad number17Player nameTrézéguet
    Average rating


  12. Squad number20Player nameBarkley
    Average rating


  13. Squad number41Player nameJ Ramsey
    Average rating



  1. Squad number33Player nameRyan
    Average rating


  2. Squad number7Player nameSaka
    Average rating


  3. Squad number32Player nameSmith Rowe
    Average rating


  4. Squad number18Player namePartey
    Average rating


  5. Squad number19Player namePépé
    Average rating


  6. Squad number34Player nameXhaka
    Average rating


  7. Squad number16Player nameHolding
    Average rating


  8. Squad number11Player nameØdegaard
    Average rating


  9. Squad number9Player nameLacazette
    Average rating


  10. Squad number6Player nameGabriel Magalhães
    Average rating


  11. Squad number2Player nameBellerín
    Average rating


  12. Squad number17Player nameCédric Soares
    Average rating


  13. Squad number14Player nameAubameyang
    Average rating


  14. Squad number12Player nameWillian
    Average rating


More to follow


Aston Villa

Formation 4-2-3-1

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


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


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


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

Match Stats

Home TeamAston VillaAway TeamArsenal
Shots on Target

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Aston Villa 1, Arsenal 0.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Aston Villa 1, Arsenal 0.

  3. Booking

    Jack Grealish (Aston Villa) is shown the yellow card.

  4. Post update

    Corner, Arsenal. Conceded by Tyrone Mings.

  5. Booking

    Granit Xhaka (Arsenal) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

  6. Post update

    Foul by Granit Xhaka (Arsenal).

  7. Post update

    Jack Grealish (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  8. Post update

    Foul by Martin Ødegaard (Arsenal).

  9. Post update

    Emiliano Martínez (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  10. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Willian (Arsenal) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Granit Xhaka.

  11. Post update

    Foul by Emile Smith Rowe (Arsenal).

  12. Post update

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

  13. Post update

    Attempt saved. Jacob Ramsey (Aston Villa) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Marvelous Nakamba.

  14. Post update

    Offside, Aston Villa. Jack Grealish tries a through ball, but Ollie Watkins is caught offside.

  15. Post update

    Attempt missed. Martin Ødegaard (Arsenal) left footed shot from the centre of the box is too high.

  16. Post update

    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.

  17. Post update

    Foul by Willian (Arsenal).

  18. Post update

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

  19. Post update

    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.

  20. Post update

    Corner, Arsenal. Conceded by Matthew Cash.

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