Villa defeat Arsenal, move out of EPL relegation zone
Aston Villa climbed out of the Premier League relegation zone as Egypt winger Trezeguet clinched a priceless 1-0 win against Arsenal on Tuesday.
Dean Smith’s side have their survival fate in their own hands after Trezeguet’s first-half strike at Villa Park.
Watford’s 4-0 thrashing against Manchester City earlier on Tuesday had opened the door for Villa to escape the bottom three.
And Villa seized their chance with a first home Premier League win over Arsenal in 18 attempts dating back to 1998.
Villa are now fourth bottom and have moved ahead of third bottom Watford on goal difference, with Smith’s men on -26 compared to the Hornets’ -27.
They head to West Ham for their final game of the season on Sunday, while Watford visit Arsenal and second-bottom Bournemouth, three points from safety, travel to Everton.
There are a multitude of permutations that could decide relegation, but Villa will be safe if they can better Watford’s result on what is certain to be a dramatic finale.
If Villa and Watford both win, goal difference or goals scored will decide who goes down.
Having secured an FA Cup final place by beating Manchester City on Saturday, Gunners boss Mikel Arteta made six changes and Arsenal looked a shadow of the team who impressed at Wembley.
Arsenal cannot finish higher than eighth and must win the FA Cup final against Chelsea to qualify for next season’s Europa League.
They are certain to finish below north London rivals Tottenham for a fourth successive season.
Villa kicked off just minutes after the final whistle at Watford, whose captain Troy Deeney found himself in the awkward position of looking for a favour from an Arsenal team he had mocked for lacking passion in the past.
If Smith was expecting his team to use the motivation from Watford’s defeat to make a fast start, he must have been disappointed by their tepid opening.