Aston villa 1 v 0 Arsenal: Villa two points off top after MCginns winner

Aston Villa moved to within two points of the summit of the Premier League with a narrow win over Arsenal, who missed out on a chance to go top.

Villa took the lead at Villa Park through skipper John McGinn, who brought Leon Bailey’s cross under control before hammering the ball into the net.

Arsenal had a late Kai Havertz effort ruled out for handball by referee Jarred Gillett, with the video assistant referee upholding the call after a lengthy review.

Despite Arsenal pressure, Villa held on to back up their statement victory over champions Manchester City on Wednesday and record a club record 15th straight home league victory.

Defeat will be a blow for title-chasing Arsenal, whose run of six straight wins in all competitions came to an end.

Only in 1980-81, when they last won the title, have Aston Villa taken more points after 16 games of a top-flight season, and there is a real belief that they can break into the top four.

There are even whispers that Unai Emery, once of Arsenal, could manage an outside push for the title.

Villa are the only Premier League club not to have dropped a point from a winning position this season, and, although Arsenal had the better chances after falling behind, Villa did create a few more of their own.

Ollie Watkins forced two good saves from Arsenal goalkeeper David Raya, one of them when clean through, although the England striker was soon flagged for offside.

In the second period Lucas Digne and Watkins both had shots saved following counter-attacks.

Villa defended with discipline and intensity, ultimately benefitting from a late VAR call to stay third, one point off Arsenal in second place, and win their opening eight home matches in a top-flight season for the first time since 1932-33.

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