Ollie Watkins’ early goal was enough for Aston Villa to do the double over Arsenal for the first time since 1992/93.

The forward scored after just 74 seconds of the match, finishing Bertrand Traore’s cutback with a deflected strike for his 10th league goal of the season.

Arsenal went close though Granit Xhaka’s first-half free kick before upping the ante after the interval. Nicolas Pepe and substitute Martin Odegaard had the best of their openings but they could not find a way past their former keeper, Emiliano Martinez to avoid slumping to back-to-back defeats.

The result means Villa have claimed a first league double over the Gunners since 1992-93 and move up to eighth in the table ahead of the rest of the weekend’s action. Arsenal stay 10th, but could drop into the bottom half if results go against them.

Dean Smith speaking to BT Sport. “I said to them at the start that we’d got away on Wednesday from being a good team.

The values of being a good team, the work ethic, being a good team-mate, I thought we saw that in bundles today against a really good offensive team. We started with a good intensity that set us up really well.”

Ollie Watkins, speaking to BT Sport. “It’s a big result. We’ve played some good stuff but we haven’t got the results we wanted at home, so delighted with that today.

It was hard, we grinded it out. A bit of confusion at the back for them. I’ve hit it with my left foot, I think it’s come off their defender and gone in, but I’ll take that!”

Aston Villa rise to eighth in the Premier League, on 35 points; Arsenal are stuck in tenth, on 31.

Aston Villa 1-0 Arsenal: Watkins strikes early goal enough to seal the win


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