Arsenal regained pole position in the Premier League title race on Saturday as the Gunners fought back for a thrilling 4-2 victory at Aston Villa, while Manchester City were held to a damaging 1-1 draw at Nottingham Forest.
Just three days after surrendering first place with a 3-1 defeat against City, Arsenal bounced back in impressive style to move two points clear of the champions.
With just minutes left at Villa Park, Mikel Arteta’s side were in danger of slipping up again in their bid to win the title for the first time since 2004.
Arsenal twice trailed to goals from Ollie Watkins and Philippe Coutinho, only for Bukayo Saka and then Oleksandr Zinchenko to haul them level.
Deep into second half stoppage-time, Arsenal received a helping hand from their former keeper as Emiliano Martinez inadvertantly deflected Jorginho’s shot into his own net after it hit the bar.
Gabriel Martinelli capped Arsenal’s remarkable escape when he tapped into the empty net in the final seconds after Martinez was caught upfield at a Villa corner.
“We are back with more belief than before because you have to turn performances into results,” Arteta said.
“Win in any context. We’ve always talked about that. Today we had a really difficult context, especially with what happened after five minutes.
“The team showed a lot of emotional qualities that are needed. I’m really happy.”
Arsenal’s first victory in five games in all competitions will give them renewed belief they can pip City to the title.
The Gunners, who have a game in hand on the champions, were given a massive boost by their title rivals’ stumble just hours later.
Bernardo Silva put Pep Guardiola’s men ahead four minutes before half-time, taking Jack Grealish’s pass in his stride and drilling a clinical finish past Keylor Navas from 20 yards.
But the tension mounted as City searched for a second goal and Guardiola was booked for manhandling the fourth official after Erling Haaland’s penalty appeal was rejected following Joe Worrall’s challenge.
City were undone by their profligacy as Haaland’s drive hit the bar before the Norway star blazed the rebound over.
Haaland missed another chance moments later and Forest made the champions pay with their first shot on target in the 84th minute.
Morgan Gibbs-White fired a low ball across the area and New Zealand striker Chris Wood tapped into an empty net to leave Guardiola stunned.
“We had amazing chances but it’s football. We have to score,” Guardiola said.
“It’s one of the best games we played but we dropped two points. We should be more aggressive. There are many games still to play, we know it.”
Everton moved out of the relegation zone with a valuable 1-0 win against fellow strugglers Leeds at Goodison Park.
Seamus Coleman netted in the 64th minute when Everton’s veteran defender hooked over a cross that caught out Leeds keeper Illan Meslier, who left a gap at his near post for the ball to squeeze into the net.
Sean Dyche’s side have won two of their three matches since he replaced the sacked Frank Lampard and now sit one point above the bottom three, while managerless Leeds are in 19th place.
Under-fire Chelsea boss Graham Potter suffered another blow as bottom of the table Southampton won 1-0 at Stamford Bridge.
James Ward-Prowse scored his 17th Premier League free-kick — one behind David Beckham’s record in the competition— to give Southampton the lead in first half stoppage-time.
Stuart Armstrong was fouled on the edge of the area and with Saints fans chanting Ward-Prowse’s name, the midfielder curled a superb set-piece past Kepa Arrizabalaga.
Chelsea were booed off at full-time after a result that left them languishing in 10th place, with just two wins in their last 14 games in all competitions and none in their last five.
Bournemouth climbed out of the relegation zone with a 1-0 win at Wolves, with Marcus Tavernier bundling in the winner after 49 minutes.
Manor Solomon’s 88th minute goal gave sixth-placed Fulham a 1-0 win at Brighton, while Brentford and Crystal Palace drew 1-1.
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