Aston Villa go into the World Cup break with two successive Premier League victories as they beat Brighton & Hove Albion 2-1 at the Amex Stadium on Sunday. It was a glorious comeback for Villa, who record their first away win of the entire season.
It wasn’t all glory, though, Villa made a disastrous start. Alexis Mac Allister tackled the ball away from him and the Brighton number 10 fired past his Argentine international teammate, finding the bottom left-hand corner in just 49 seconds.
Paraguayan international Julio Enciso took his place. Emery was nearly in action to make a similar call as wonderkid midfielder Jacob Ramsey went down, but the 21-year-old was able to carry on – much to the relief of the travelling supporters.
Villa enjoyed a good spell of possession after Brighton’s surprise early lead and created a good opportunity in the 16th minute.
Just minutes later, the Villans had an even better chance as John McGinn was fouled by Lewis Dunk – a blatant penalty as he slid in from behind. Albion goalkeeper Robert Sanchez got a strong hand to it but the power from Danny Ings’ effort meant it was converted from the spot. The England international’s 100th career league goal. Brighton piled on the pressure afterward in another shift in momentum. Mac Allister’s inswinger nearly found its way into the near post, with a deliberate effort at goal.
After a cagey end to the first half, it was Brighton who were largely on top at the beginning of the second, as they pressed to get a goal up. It was Villa who ended up on top score-wise, though, as Ings grabbed his second of the game to make it 2-1 during a counter attack in the 52nd minute. The Brazilian dispossessed Mac Allister to find Ings, who got past Dunk and found the back of the net.
De Zerbi’s side put Villa under intense pressure in response and probably should’ve had their own penalty in the 71st minute. Villa defended resolutely and were able to hang on for an important win on the south coast and move up to 12th in the Premier League standings.
Arsenal beat Wolves 2-0
Arsenal brushed aside bottom club Wolverhampton Wanders 2-0 on Saturday with both goals from captain Martin Odegaard to take a five-point lead at the top of the Premier League going into a mid-season break for the World Cup.
The Norwegian midfielder, one of the revelations of Arsenal’s swashbuckling early-season form, slotted his first into a gaping net in the 55th minute after a Fabio Vieira cross at the end of a typically clever passing by the visitors.
The result left Arsenal first in the Premier League on 37 points, five ahead of Manchester City who lost at home to Brentford earlier in the day. The Londoners have not won the Premier League since their 2003-04 title when they were dubbed “The Invincibles” for going an entire season without defeat. The only negative for Arsenal was seeing midfielder Granit Xhaka substituted in the first half, seemingly with an illness.
But nothing could dampen the mood of the away fans, who chanted their adoration of manager Mikel Arteta at the final whistle, some stripping shirts off despite the November chill.
Despite Wolves’ first-half resistance, Arsenal’s slick and youthful side looked comfortable throughout and could have scored more. Striker Gabriel Jesus saw a goal disallowed then hit the bar.