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Aston Villa 1-0 Arsenal

GALLERY: Aston Villa 1-0 Arsenal 📸 Dean's Debrief: The boss reacts to Arsenal victory
Aston Villa 1-0 Arsenal

Trezeguet's third goal in as many games fired Aston Villa to a crucial 1-0 victory over Arsenal and all three points in their bid to secure Premier League safety.

The Egypt international slammed home a sweet strike in the 27th minute after Tyrone Mings had flicked on Conor Hourihane's corner to prove the difference, coming after his matchwinning brace against Crystal Palace, and settle a nerve-jangling encounter at Villa Park.

Dean Smith's spirited side played with passion aplenty to a man, defending resolutely as a team with bodies on the line and attacking with purpose to secure a second successive home victory.

Eddie Nketiah came close to an equaliser when he headed against a post in the 77th minute and Pepe Reina saw the ball rebound off him before pouncing to prevent it inching towards the goal-line.

Villa's determined display secured their first home victory against the Gunners since 1998 and ended a run of seven successive defeats against the north London side.

It also proved enough to lift Smith's charges up to 17th place in the table and out of the relegation zone on goal difference heading into the final weekend of the season, when Villa head to West Ham United.

Smith named an unchanged starting line-up for the clash, keeping faith with the same XI who started last Thursday’s 1-1 draw against Everton at Goodison Park.

And Villa held firm inside the opening quarter as the Gunners enjoyed the bulk of the possession, although neither goalkeeper was seriously tested.

Ahmed Elmohamady hobbled off after 25 minutes, replaced by Frederic Guilbert, and it was the hosts who took the lead shortly afterwards courtesy of the game’s first shot on target.

Hourihane’s corner was flicked on by Mings at the near post and the ball fell to the unmarked Trezeguet who drilled home low from 12 yards out.

The goal gave Smith’s side confidence and they started to impose themselves more, posing a threat in the final third, with Trezeguet’s header testing keeper Emiliano Martinez and captain Jack Grealish drilling narrowly wide from distance before the break.

Villa started the second period on the front foot with a succession of corners while Bukayo Saka fired over the crossbar at the other end.

Ezri Konsa blocked well from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as the game started to become stretched, with both sides posing a threat in the final third. 

Smith turned to Marvelous Nakamba and Keinan Davis in the 73rd minute as Arsenal continued to dominate the ball and put Villa under increasing pressure.

And Davis put wide a golden opportunity to double the home side's advantage within minutes of coming on, pulling his effort across goal having been sent clear by Grealish following a surging run from the skipper.

Yet Arsenal went even closer just moments later as Nketiah's header from a corner bounced off a post and came off Reina before the Villa stopper scrambled to gather away from the goal-line.

McGinn stung the palms of Martinez with a stinging drive as the clash went from end to end.

Yet it was Villa who stood strong during a tense finale to secure a big victory and sign off with a win in their final home match of the 2019/20 season.

Villa: Reina, Elmohamady (Guilbert 25), Konsa, Mings, Targett, McGinn (Lansbury 90+3), Luiz, Hourihane (Nakamba 73), Trezeguet, Samatta (Davis 73), Grealish (c).

Subs: Nyland, Hause, El Ghazi, Jota, Vassilev.

Goal: Trezeguet (27)

Who’s next?

Villa round off the season with a final-day trip to London Stadium to face West Ham United on Sunday (ko 4pm).

AVFC Official
By @AVFCOfficial 21st July 2020