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Aston Villa 1-0 Arsenal: Trezeguet strike send hosts out of bottom three as Arteta’s momentum stalls

Aston Villa climbed out of the Premier League’s relegation zone with just one game remaining thanks to a 1-0 home win over Arsenal, ending the Gunners’ slim hopes of a top-seven finish. 

Villa – who had been in the bottom three since before the season’s March suspension – were faced with opponents invigorated by consecutive wins over Liverpool and Manchester City in the league and FA Cup respectively. 

But Dean Smith’s men were boosted ahead of kick-off as City’s comprehensive win at Watford significantly dented their fellow strugglers’ goal difference. 

Victory by just a single goal would therefore take Villa above Watford at this crucial stage of the campaign – and Trezeguet’s third strike in three matches – a rare unbeaten stretch – provided just that. 

Not until the 27th minute did either side enjoy a sight of goal, but the Villa winger took that first chance when it finally came. 

A corner skipped through the Arsenal box to reach the right boot of Trezeguet, who thumped a fine low finish past Emiliano Martinez.

Jack Grealish advanced from halfway to send a fierce effort just past the top-right corner shortly before half-time, while Arsenal openings remained scarce. 

Mikel Arteta’s men needed three points to maintain an unlikely bid for European qualification through the league, so a response after the restart seemed inevitable. 

However, there was little improvement in the visiting ranks as Villa instead passed up a huge opportunity to double their advantage, substitute Keinan Davis wastefully lashing wide. 

Eddie Nketiah sought to punish that miss and came agonisingly close to a leveller, heading against the post before the ball dropped into Pepe Reina’s arms. 

Arsenal ultimately would not muster a single shot on target, only Martinez’s save denying John McGinn as Villa put their top-flight status into their own hands heading into Sunday’s final day.

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