- Liverpool beat Chelsea to extend lead by five points
Ten-man Arsenal twice came from a goal down to claim a much-needed 3-2 win over Aston Villa in dramatic fashion thanks to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s free-kick six minutes from time at the Emirates on Sunday.
The Gunners’ winless run in the Premier League seemed set to stretch to four games when John McGinn gave Villa the lead and Ainsley Maitland-Niles’s sending-off four minutes before halftime gave Unai Emery’s men a mountain to climb.
Nicolas Pepe’s first Arsenal goal from the penalty spot briefly brought the Gunners level, but Wesley soon restored Villa’s lead.
Arsenal heart and commitment was questioned after blowing a two-goal lead to draw at Watford last weekend.
But they showed no little spirit as Calum Chambers looped home an equaliser before Aubameyang took centre stage to rifle home a free-kick from the edge of the area.
A vital three points, which lifts Arsenal up to fourth, is a huge boost for Emery, who has faced questions in recent weeks over his ability to lead the Gunners back to the Champions League next season.
The Spaniard still has to find the right balance in midfield to protect an ailing defence, but with Aubameyang and Pepe in attack, Arsenal always look capable of scoring.
Maitland-Niles’s nightmare afternoon began after barely a minute when he blazed over Arsenal’s best chance of the first half.
The right-back then dragged down Anwar El Ghazi for an early booking that was to prove costly.
Elsewere at Stamford Bridge, Trent Alexander-Arnold’s thunderous strike inspired Liverpool’s 2-1 win against Chelsea as the Premier League leaders moved five points clear at the top on Sunday.
Jurgen Klopp’s side extended their perfect start to the title race as they became the first club to win their opening six games in consecutive top-flight seasons.
Alexander-Arnold’s blistering free-kick opened the scoring at Stamford Bridge.
Roberto Firmino increased Liverpool’s advantage before the interval and N’Golo Kante’s fine goal was not enough to give Chelsea tangible reward for a vibrant second half.
After Manchester City thrashed Watford 8-0 on Saturday, this was the ideal response from Liverpool as they bid to win the title for the first time since 1990.
Pipped to the trophy by City on the final day of last season, Liverpool are playing with a burning desire to end their rivals’ two-year reign as champions.