REPORT: Arsenal 0-2 Aston Villa - Title Race Shifts Again

Arsenal dropped valuable points in their quest for the title and failed to capitalise on Liverpool's loss earlier in the day.

Goals from Leon Bailey and Oli Watkins were enough to compound Arsenal to a 2-0 defeat and allow Manchester City to open up a two point gap at the top of the table.

The result now means that the destiny of the title is no longer in Arsenal's control and they are now relying on others to drop points. 

Positive Opening

Arsenal began the match as you would expect, taking control of proceedings and creating opportunities. 

Kai Havertz had an early opening but saw his left-footed shot saved by Emi Martinez, before Gabriel Jesus fired wide after he was picked out by Bukayo Saka.

Saka then hit the side netting as he attempted to find the near post, after some clever play by Martin Odegaard. Arsenal were playing well but could not find the breakthrough.

Watkins then almost capitalised on a mix-up at the back, but his effort across goal struck the inside of the post. A huge let off for The Gunners.

Arsenal continued to probe until the half-time whistle, and created their best opening of the half. Odegaard's shot fell kindly to Jesus, who cut back for Leandro Trossard to see his shot saved by Martinez. 

It had been a frustrating half where Arsenal had produced enough chances to have put the game to bed. Instead, they somehow found themselves level.

Second Half Collapse

If Arsenal had been the dominant force in the opening 45, there was no question that Villa were in control in the second half.

Youri Tielemans hit a fabulous shot that hit both the bar and post before bouncing away, and it was clear that the visitors were growing in confidence.

Arsenal were finding it difficult to pose any kind of threat themselves, and in the 84th minute the pressure told as Lucas Digne found a low cross for Bailey to put home at the far post. It was a lead that their second half display had deserved. 

As Arsenal pushed to find a response, it left gaps at the back which Watkins was able to exploit. Breaking from an Arsenal corner, a long ball was played into his path where he was able to hold off Emile Smith Rowe before chipping a delightful finish over David Raya. Game over.

Need For Response

Arsenal now know that the title is out of their control. It's vital that they put together another run to keep the pressure on Manchester City at the top.

Attention will now turn back to the Champions League, as they travel to Germany for the second leg of their quarter final tie with Bayern Munich.