Arsenal lose 0-2 to Aston Villa, Liverpool face defeat to Palace in massive setbacks to Premier League title challenge | Football News - Hindustan Times
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Arsenal lose 0-2 to Aston Villa, Liverpool face defeat to Palace in massive setbacks to Premier League title challenge

PTI |
Apr 14, 2024 11:15 PM IST

Arsenal and Liverpool faced defeats in the Premier League, facing massive setbacks to their title hopes

Unai Emery damaged his former team’s title hopes again as Aston Villa beat Arsenal 2-0 on Sunday to leave Manchester City top of the Premier League.

Arsenal's Declan Rice and Jorginho look dejected after the match (REUTERS)
Arsenal's Declan Rice and Jorginho look dejected after the match (REUTERS)

Both goals came late after Villa had soaked up Arsenal’s pressure for much of the game, with Leon Bailey putting his team ahead in the 84th and Ollie Watkins adding the second on a counterattack two minutes later.

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Arsenal became the second title challenger to falter at home in the span of a few hours after Liverpool lost 1-0 to Crystal Palace at Anfield earlier in the day. That leaves defending champion Man City in full control of the title race as it leads both its rivals by two points with six games left to play.

Emery replaced Arsene Wenger at Arsenal in 2018 but lasted just 18 months before being fired. His Villa has now held Arsenal’s high-flying attack scoreless in two games this season after a 1-0 win at home, a double that could well end up costing Mikel Arteta’s team the title.

For Villa, the win puts them three points ahead of Tottenham in fourth place, although Spurs have a game in hand.

Arsenal had controlled much of the game without creating many quality chances, and Villa looked threatening when going forward and had hit the woodwork twice, once in each half.

So it wasn’t a surprise when the opener came.

Arsenal’s defense let a cross from Lucas Digne run across the area to Bailey, and the substitute had an easy finish into an empty net.

With Arsenal pouring forward in search of an equalizer, Villa hit them on the counterattack as Youri Tielemans sent Watkins clear through on goal and the striker chipped the ball over Raya with a delicate finish.

It was Arsenal's first league loss of 2024.

Liverpool's title hopes in tatters

A 1-0 loss at home to Crystal Palace damaged Liverpool's Premier League title challenge on Sunday, three days after a 3-0 defeat to Atalanta at Anfield in the first leg of the Europa League quarterfinals.

Eberechi Eze stroked home a finish from Tyrick Mitchell's cutback in the 14th minute to consign Liverpool to its first loss in the league at Anfield in 28 matches — stretching back to October 2022.

It was the 21st time the Reds have gone behind in 32 league games this season and they couldn't recover, despite Wataru Endo hitting the crossbar midway through the first half and Darwin Nunez and Curtis Jones squandering golden chances in front of the Kop after the break.

In the final minutes, Mohamed Salah was presented with an easy opportunity to score from close range for Liverpool but his prod toward goal was weak and blocked by the outstretched leg of Mitchell, who made a despairing challenge.

Liverpool started the weekend in second place, behind Arsenal on goal difference, but is now two points adrift of Manchester City after the champions' 5-1 thrashing of Luton on Saturday. Arsenal can regain the lead by beating Aston Villa later Sunday.

Liverpool lost last month to Manchester United in the FA Cup quarterfinals, ending Jurgen Klopp's team's unlikely quadruple hopes with the League Cup already secured.

In the past week, Liverpool has drawn at United, this time in the league, and now sustained back-to-back home losses in different competitions.

“Could be," Klopp said, when asked if the loss to Palace was a hangover from the defeat to Atalanta. "If you look at my teams over the years, I think you could say our pressing is usually good, the counterpress is there. The first half (against Palace), we were open — like how can that happen?”

"It's only a few days ago that we played a bad game so it might have something to do with that. Actually it was a really good game (Sunday), without scoring. But it's not that easy unfortunately.” 

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