Aston Villa v Arsenal LIVE: Premier League result and reaction after Kai Havertz denied late equaliser

Aston Villa continued their remarkable home winning run with a gutsy 1-0 win over Arsenal that lifted Unai Emery’s side to within two points of the top of the Premier League table.

Having out-played Manchester City earlier in the week, Villa produced a performance of real defensive strength to hold on after John McGinn’s early goal. The tireless home captain was emblematic of an industrious performance as the visitors suffered a set back in their chase for the title.

Arsenal had been knocked off top spot by Liverpool’s win earlier on Saturday, and missed a series of chances to suffer just a second defeat of the season. With Mikel Arteta watching on from the stands due to a touchline ban, Kai Havertz’s late leveller was ruled out after referee Jarred Gillett deemed the ball to have brushed the midfielder’s hand just before he converted from close range.

And with Aston Villa now just a point behind their opponents after a 15th consecutive home league win, there will be growing belief among the Villa Park faithful that their team can continue to mix it with the established big boys.

Re-live all the action below plus get the latest odds and tips right here:

Aston Villa vs Arsenal

  • Aston Villa climb to within two points of the top of the Premier League table with an impressive win

  • FT: Aston Villa 1-0 Arsenal

  • 90’ Kai Havertz equaliser disallowed for handball

  • 58’ Aston Villa saved by the woodwork before Martin Odegaard misses a great chance

  • 36’ Off the line! Diego Carlos spares his goalkeeper’s blushes

  • GOAL! ASTON VILLA 1-0 Arsenal (John McGinn, 7 minutes)

Aston Villa FC 1 - 0 Arsenal FC

Arsenal stunned by Unai Emery’s early trick as Aston Villa join the title race

19:50 , Jamie Braidwood at Villa Park

Mikel Arteta looked down from above as his predecessor stole the stage and Aston Villa joined Arsenal in the title race. Unai Emery’s side extended their club-record home winning run to 15 consecutive matches after adding the second of two of the finest victories Villa Park has staged within the same week. Triumphant against the champions on Wednesday, Villa knocked down the side who started the weekend as leaders on Saturday night. Though those wins may share the elements of magnitude and scoreline, they could hardly have been more different in how they were achieved.

Villa’s energy and commitment was superb but Arsenal were wasteful and allowed three points and the chance to extend their lead over Manchester City to slip away. With Arteta suspended from the touchline, Arsenal were unable to produce another late goal and the manager departed the directors box seconds before the final whistle. Moments later, Emery was dancing down the touchline, having beaten the club who sacked him after 18 months for the second time and first since his return to the Premier League.

Arsenal stunned by Unai Emery’s early trick as Aston Villa join the title race

Aston Villa beat Arsenal to climb to within two points of Premier League summit

20:15 , Harry Latham-Coyle

With both having to negotiate midweek European fixtures, it’ll be eight days before these two are back in Premier League action. Aston Villa face a potentially tricky trip to Brentford, while Arsenal host Brighton - who beat them at the Emirates Stadium in May.

Mikel Arteta on Arsenal’s defeat

20:08 , Harry Latham-Coyle

“Really good performance,” the Arsenal manager says to Sky Sports. “I thought we were the better team and didn’t deserve to lose the game at all. But that’s football.

“I prefer not to comment [on the Kai Havertz disallowed goal]. I have a big opinion.

“We have to put the ball in the net and that was the only thing we missed today. We had some big, big chances, but still lost the game.

“They are a really good side in a really good moment right now. Congratulations to them.”

Aston Villa beat Arsenal to move within two points of top spot

20:00 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Only in the 1980/81 season, when they won the title, have Aston Villa taken more points from the first 16 games of a top flight season.

Are Aston Villa title contenders?

19:48 , Harry Latham-Coyle

“I’m banning the T-word!” John McGinn quickly replies to Sky. “It’s gameweek 16, so there’s a long, long way to go. We respect everyone around us who have been in this position for years. We’re newbies. Can we keep it up? I don’t know.

“I think the targets will certainly be revised. Whether that is as ambitious as what you are trying to coax out of me, I don’t know...

“We’ll take a couple of days, we’ve got Thursday in Bosnia to try and get first place in the group, and then re-evaluate for next week at Brentford. Our away form isn’t horrendous but it can be improved.”

Aston Villa skipper John McGinn on a ‘monumental week’ for his side

19:45 , Harry Latham-Coyle

McGinn is asked by Sky Sports if he could have had a better week: “It could have got better if we’d beaten Bournemouth! That was a really tough spell for us, we played Thursday, Sunday, Wednesday, Saturday, and I think it showed in our performance today. It wasn’t our best and I think the second half was just about character and grit.

“Fair play to the substitutes. A couple of them came on and haven’t played for a long, long time, but they dug right in there. Arsenal have made a habit of scoring late goals and it was up to us to stay concentrated. What a monumental week it has been for us.

“We had the best of the first 20 minutes up until we scored. They had a lot of the ball, but i don’t think too many clearcut chances. So credit to us, maybe not playing as well as we did on Wednesday night, but that’s a clean sheet against the two best teams in the league, in my opinion. Another huge win.”

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

FT: Aston Villa 1-0 Arsenal

19:40 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Arsenal will feel that is a chance missed - they had their chances in the game, with Martin Odegaard guilty a couple of times of failing to hit the target and a lack of accuracy from others allowing other opportunities to slip by. You wonder if Mikel Arteta and his bird’s eye view might have some thoughts on the disallowed Kai Havertz goal.

But it didn’t quite click for Arteta’s team today.

FT: Aston Villa 1-0 Arsenal

19:30 , Harry Latham-Coyle

15 home Premier League wins in a row - Aston Villa’s remarkable run goes on. Back-to-back wins over Manchester City and Arsenal, and Unai Emery’s side march onwards, now just a point behind their opponents. This was not the fluent display they produced in midweek but a win built on guts and grit, with a staunch defensive performance (and a brush of Kai Havertz’s hand) ensuring that John McGinn’s early goal was to be the only one of the game.

The home crowd jump along to Jeff Beck - their side are starting ro resemble genuine contenders.

FULL TIME: ASTON VILLA 1-0 ARSENAL

19:27 , Harry Latham-Coyle

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Aston Villa 1-0 Arsenal, 90 + 8 minutes

19:27 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Headed over and he’s offside anyway! Aston Villa boldly keep a high line as Declan Rice comes forward, the midfielder picking out the right pass to Eddie Nketiah but finding an expert offside trap had snared the striker.

Nketiah’s headed effort is poor, anyway. Is that it?

Aston Villa 1-0 Arsenal, 90 + 7 minutes

19:26 , Harry Latham-Coyle

It’s getting hearted. Kai Havertz bashes into Emiliano Martinez unneccessarily after the goalkeeper collects a fruitless hoist forward, and Martinez reacts predictably, up to his feet and squaring up to the Germany international. The pair’s teammates arrive to calm things down as the home fans roar for the full-time whistle.

Aston Villa 1-0 Arsenal, 90 + 6 minutes

19:24 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Lenadro Trossard is squeezed out, the irrepressible John McGinn again the man to eventually steal it. The Aston Villa captain has been simply magnificent up and down that right flank.

Aston Villa 1-0 Arsenal, 90 + 4 minutes

19:23 , Harry Latham-Coyle

So I reckon we’ll be playing to near enough 100 minutes here. John McGinn leads an Aston Villa break as the hosts look to kill the game off, but none of he, Moussa Diaby or Leander Dendoncker can test David Raya with shooting opportunities as Arsenal scramble strongly.

Aston Villa 1-0 Arsenal, 90 + 3 minutes

19:21 , Harry Latham-Coyle

We are into five minutes of added time, but that will be considerably extended - not just for that long check, but also given Emiliano Martinez is in need of a plaster after taking a stray boot to the face.

Arsenal use the delay to make a change, with Reiss Nelson on for Oleksandr Zinchenko.

No goal! Aston Villa 1-0 Arsenal, 89 minutes

19:18 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Arsenal have the ball in the net but the referee’s whistle blows!

There’s a mighty mess as Kai Havertz and Matty Cash contest a cross in front of Emiliano Martinez, with Eddie Nketiah and Diego Carlos in close attention too. Has it brushed Havertz’s arm before the German knocks home from a metre?

My, this is a tough call. Jarred Gillett whistled immediately in real time, but VAR Michael Salisbury is nowhere near as certain. But it has just touched Havertz’s hand - and the on-field call is upheld. A mighty roar from the Aston Villa fans as they break away from biting their fingernails.

A top, top decision from Gillett.

Aston Villa 1-0 Arsenal, 87 minutes

19:16 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Aston Villa hurry the Arsenal defenders, Wiliam Saliba and then Gabriel put under pressure but showing their calm to extricate themselves from the situation.

Eddie Nketiah goes down off the ball - was that a naughty elbow from Diego Carlos? The defender is booked and the VAR will have a look...

A yellow is deemed sufficient. A stray arm to the face rather than anything more sinister.

Aston Villa 1-0 Arsenal, 85 minutes

19:14 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Leandro Trossard goes down and stays down after Matty Cash takes ball and then man. It’s only a brush of Trossard’s ankle, but a sore one, clearly, with Arsenal forced to put the ball out of play. No treatment required, though - the Belgian is up and limping back into position.

Aston Villa 1-0 Arsenal, 84 minutes

19:12 , Harry Latham-Coyle

That’s not great from Dendoncker, either, looking to switch play with his weaker left boot and slicing his pass some distance away from Alex Moreno. Out of play it skids, thudding into the advertising hoardings.

Aston Villa 1-0 Arsenal, 82 minutes

19:10 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Nketiah draws a foul from Leander Dendoncker as the replacement striker drops deep. Aston Villa still throwing themselves into those tackles as they look to cling on to this narrow advantage.

Aston Villa 1-0 Arsenal, 82 minutes

19:09 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Arsenal make their second witch, with another freshening of the forward options. Gabriel Jesus off; Eddie Nketiah on.

Aston Villa 1-0 Arsenal, 79 minutes

19:07 , Harry Latham-Coyle

It looks like it will have to be late drama for Arsenal again. Up in the rafters, Mikel Arteta perches his chin on a hand, wiping at his eyes with his fingers with his side just having lost control of the game again.

Aston Villa 1-0 Arsenal, 78 minutes

19:06 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Cash nips in again, forcing Declan Rice into a foul. A first booking, remarkably, of the season for the former West Ham midfielder.

Aston Villa make their fifth and final change. Alex Moreno replaces Lucas Digne, who was booked earlier.

Aston Villa 1-0 Arsenal, 76 minutes

19:05 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Gabriel Magalhaes rises with command to head it clear.

Matty Cash picks up a loose ball to prevent a counter-attack and spots his opportunity, driving forward full of intent and unfurling an effort. Not quite - bending by David Raya’s left-hand post with the Arsenal goalkeeper not overly troubled.

Aston Villa 1-0 Arsenal, 75 minutes

19:03 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Jacob Ramsey and Lucas Digne exchange six passes in a private game of keep-ball towards the left corner. Ramsey forces Declan Rice to concede a corner.

Aston Villa 1-0 Arsenal, 72 minutes

19:03 , Harry Latham-Coyle

An excellent battle between Ollie Watkins and William Saliba as the pair contest for a bouncing ball, evenly matched for a while before the Arsenal defender asserts himself with a muscular (and legal) shove.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Aston Villa 1-0 Arsenal, 72 minutes

19:01 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Leander Dendoncker can’t realese Moussa Diaby, the Belgian not starting his curling pass far enough out to the right to bend it around the defender.

Arsenal look to counter and John McGinn’s trip is punished with a yellow card.

Aston Villa 1-0 Arsenal, 71 minutes

18:59 , Harry Latham-Coyle

It’ll be Declan Rice to take, a firm strike under the wall clever if not for the presence of new man Trossard beyond the leaping Aston Villa quartet. It squirms through the Belgian and into Emiliano Martinez’s grasp - clearly, Trossard had not been appropriately briefed about Rice’s intention on arrival.

Aston Villa 1-0 Arsenal, 69 minutes

18:57 , Harry Latham-Coyle

That’s poor from Gabriel Jesus, all alone in the Aston Villa box but unable to take a knee high pass. Arsenal win a free kick on the edge of the area soon after, and make a change - Leandro Trossard is on for Gabriel Martinelli.

Aston Villa 1-0 Arsenal, 68 minutes

18:57 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Sharp save! It’s Moussa Diaby again providing the threat, too quick for Arsenal’s centre-half pairing and getting to John McGinn’s hopeful forward hoist. He seeks a shot but finds his path blocked, wisely pivoting to a pass that Ollie Watkins turns goalwards. There’s plenty of power behind Watkins’s shot but David Raya gets low and slaps it away.

Aston Villa 1-0 Arsenal, 66 minutes

18:54 , Harry Latham-Coyle

A double switch for Aston Villa. Matty Cash is on for Ezri Konsa at right back, while Leander Dendoncker freshens things up in holding midfield, with Boubacar Kamara taking leave.

Aston Villa 1-0 Arsenal, 64 minutes

18:53 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Moussa Diaby is just starting to fizz, the French forward striding up the right and trying to force a shot past David Raya at the near post. Raya had left a gap, but might a cross stood up to the far stick for Ollie Watkins have been a better option? Regardless, you fancy Diaby will have a better chance at some point as Arsenal press bodies forward in search of an equaliser.

Aston Villa 1-0 Arsenal, 63 minutes

18:51 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Douglas Luiz is shown a yellow card - that’s his fifth of the season, and he’ll join Lucas Digne on the sidelines for their next game against Brentford.

It looks like Unai Emery is preparing another couple of alterations.

Aston Villa 1-0 Arsenal, 62 minutes

18:50 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Arsenal have the ball in the net - but the flag’s up! A long ball sets Bukayo Saka free, and Emiliano Martinez is lobbed, but the England attacker had gone too soon.

Aston Villa 1-0 Arsenal, 60 minutes

18:49 , Harry Latham-Coyle

The home fans lift the noise, perhaps recognising that their team are flagging a little and in need of a gee-up. It seems to work, John McGinn bursting out of midfield and connecting with Moussa Diaby, who finds an arriving Lucas Digne. Digne cuts across the ball as he puts his laces through it, but David Raya is strongly behind it.

Aston Villa 1-0 Arsenal, 58 minutes

18:47 , Harry Latham-Coyle

A bad miss! Arsenal are right on top here and should be level, Martin Odegaard presented with a gem of an opportunity but unable to gobble it up. A ball across from the left runs into the midfielder’s path, but his left-footed sweep sends it past the far post with more than half the goal to aim for and Emiliano Martinez beaten.

Aston Villa 1-0 Arsenal, 57 minutes

18:46 , Harry Latham-Coyle

A defensive horror show and Aston Villa are saved by the post! Oh my, nearly a disaster for the home side, Emiliano Martinez flapping like a frightened fowl at a tame corner kick, and patting the ball against the back of Ollie Watkins. It deflects goalwards but takes a healthy enough chunk of the inside of the upright to remain in play and Diego Carlos makes a second goalline clearance of the game to ensure his side remain in front.

Aston Villa 1-0 Arsenal, 55 minutes

18:44 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Arsenal are starting to ratchet up the pressure. Unai Emery is preparing another change - and will make the substitution after Youri Tielemans concedes a corner.

Tielemans will, in fact, be the player replaced; Jacob Ramsey and his fresh legs are on in midfield.

Aston Villa 1-0 Arsenal, 54 minutes

18:42 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Or not. Saka tries a short one to Martin Odegaard, who had buried himself in a two-man wall. Odegaard is - predictably - squeezed out by the two burlier men just beyond him, leaving Saka disappointed as he seeks a swift return. An odd routine with the box loaded.

Aston Villa 1-0 Arsenal, 52 minutes

18:41 , Harry Latham-Coyle

On the other flank, Lucas Digne’s defending is less impressive - the Frenchman is all too easily turned by Bukayo Saka and forced to tug him back. A booking for Digne, his fifth of the season: he’ll miss Aston Villa’s next game.

Danger here, though, for the hosts, with Saka standing over a free kick in a good crossing position.

Aston Villa 1-0 Arsenal, 51 minutes

18:40 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Ezri Konsa has produced a couple of timely defensive interventions today, and that’s another useful foot, Konsa extending his toe just in time as Gabriel Martinelli hares after a through pass that looked to have beaten the versatile defender.

Aston Villa 1-0 Arsenal, 48 minutes

18:37 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Aston Villa have won all six of the Premier League games they have led at half time this season - they are, generally, good front-runners.

Moussa Diaby picks up the ball in a bit of space and should really do better with his ball out to the right, underweighting it and allowing Arsenal to clear.

Aston Villa 1-0 Arsenal, 47 minutes

18:35 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Gabriel Jesus hits the deck under a challenge from Luiz, and immediately the Arsenal players nearby go up. Jarred Gillett says no, and VAR Michael Salisbury concurs - there was contact, but presumably it wasn’t deemed sufficient to have knocked Jesus over.

Aston Villa 1-0 Arsenal, 46 minutes

18:35 , Harry Latham-Coyle

It looks like a switch of foramation from Aston Villa, with Diaby in behind Ollie Watkins. John McGinn and Youri Tielemans are the wider members of a creative three with Boubacar Kamara and Douglas Luiz sitting.

Second half

18:34 , Harry Latham-Coyle

A half time change for Aston Villa, Moussa Diaby stripped and ready with the second 45 minutes imminent. Leon Bailey was carrying an injury for the final 15 minutes or so of the first half, and is removed.

HT: Aston Villa 1-0 Arsenal

18:21 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Off for some oranges the 22 players go, Aston Villa holding on to their 1-0 lead with Arsenal beginning to threaten after a slow start. The would-be league leaders fell one behind early on when John McGinn provided the finish to a beautiful flowing move, and the game has bubbled along nicely thereafter, with chances at both ends.

It feels very much in the balance, but as things stand, that long Villa Park winning run is remaining intact.

HALF TIME: ASTON VILLA 1-0 ARSENAL

18:18 , Harry Latham-Coyle

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Aston Villa 1-0 Arsenal, 45 + 1 minutes

18:16 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Arsenal defend the corner well, and Gabriel Jesus sticks to his defensive duties impressively to beat Leon Bailey to a cross when Aston Villa attack again.

Aston Villa 1-0 Arsenal, 45 minutes

18:15 , Harry Latham-Coyle

The harassment of William Saliba by Ollie Watkins forces the Arsenal man into a loose pass, conceding the softest of corners. Two added minutes to be played.

Aston Villa 1-0 Arsenal, 44 minutes

18:15 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Martinez collects the corner and takes a tumble, killing a bit of time as he clutches at a sore muscle. It feels like Aston Villa need the half-time break to reset.

Pau Torres was getting a little bit handsy with Declan Rice at that corner kick. Not enough in that incident for a penalty but one to watch if the grappling continues.

Aston Villa 1-0 Arsenal, 42 minutes

18:12 , Harry Latham-Coyle

That chacne was very much against the run of play, though. Oleksandr Zinchenko’s raking pass is collected by Gabriel Jesus, who shoots sharply. Emiliano Martinez palms it behind.

Aston Villa 1-0 Arsenal, 40 minutes

18:11 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Big chance for Ollie Watkins! The flag is hoisted but I fancy William Saliba was playing the striker on, meaning Watkins must rue his inability to beat David Raya as the Spanish goalkeeper closes the space. Watkins tried to go cute and slot it through the goalkeeper, but couldn’t force it past him.

Aston Villa 1-0 Arsenal, 38 minutes

18:10 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Top stop! Superb play from Arsenal, finding top gear. Martin Odegaard is teed up on the edge of the box and jinks on to his left foot, looking to find the bottom corner. Martinez reads his intentions, though, and gets down sharply to his right, both saving and clutching to ensure the visitors can’t capitalise on any potential follow-up.

Mikel Arteta furiously scribbles some notes in his book.

Aston Villa 1-0 Arsenal, 36 minutes

18:07 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Cleared off the line! Vital defensive work from Diego Carlos, helping out his goalkeeper after Emiliano Martinez had rashly exited his goal to try and get to a bouncing ball. Gabriel Martinelli beat him to it and rather deftly directed it over the sliding World Cup winner, but a retreating Carlos was back promptly to hook the ball away.

Martinelli might just have been offside on review - but the flag did not go up.

Aston Villa 1-0 Arsenal, 33 minutes

18:04 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Just wide! Ben White and Saka work the ball inwards to Martin Odegaard, who strokes his shot to the near post with Martinez unsighted. Not quite accurate enough - the side netting is ruffled.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Aston Villa 1-0 Arsenal, 31 minutes

18:03 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Better from Arsenal, a bit more zip to their play. Bukayo Saka does manage to create a clearer route to goal and sends the ball on its way, but there’s too much curl and too little oomph to provide too much bother for a keeper of Emiliano Martinez’s shot-stopping prowess.

Still, a first shot on target for the visitors.

Aston Villa 1-0 Arsenal, 30 minutes

18:00 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Gabriel Martinelli is offered an opportunity to drive at Ezri Konsa in a one v one situation, but his touch is too heavy and Konsa gets a firm foot in.

Aston Villa 1-0 Arsenal, 29 minutes

17:59 , Harry Latham-Coyle

It looks like Bailey will try to run it off, the winger continuing and offering an option as Youri Tielemans turns Oleksandr Zinchenko. Zinchenko grabs a fistful of shirt - into the book the Ukraine international goes.

Aston Villa 1-0 Arsenal, 27 minutes

17:58 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Good pressing from John McGinn and Youri Tielemans force Arsenal to go around the houses, David Raya used and Arsenal unable to escape up the left. Aston Villa soon win it back, but there attempts to use the possession are undermined by an injury to Leon Bailey, who limps away after controlling.

Aston Villa 1-0 Arsenal, 25 minutes

17:56 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Bukayo Saka looks Arsenal’s likeliest threat, the winger moving cannily as Lucas Digne withdraws to remain onside. Gabriel Jesus finds Saka, who beats Emiliano Martinez to the ball but can’t find a teammate with a pass made in haste.

Aston Villa 1-0 Arsenal, 23 minutes

17:54 , Harry Latham-Coyle

After a long wait while the two squabble over it, Digne’s attempt is disappointing, colliding with the wall.

Aston Villa 1-0 Arsenal, 21 minutes

17:52 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Youri Tielemans breaks off Kai Haverts, forcing the German to pull him back as the ex-Leicester midfielder sets his sights on releasing Leon Bailey. 25 yards out, right of centre - both Lucas Digne and Bailey might well fancy this.

Aston Villa 1-0 Arsenal, 20 minutes

17:50 , Harry Latham-Coyle

A sharp ball from Declan Rice gives Gabriel Martinelli a bit of room, and the Brazilian has time to put his foot on the ball and consider his options. Martinelli plumps for a cross, but it’s overly floaty and swallowed up by the goalkeeper.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Aston Villa 1-0 Arsenal, 18 minutes

17:49 , Harry Latham-Coyle

It is not just in posssession that Oleksandr Zinchenko is tucking in, the “left-back” spending most of his time in a holding midfield role. You do fear that might leave Gabriel Magalhaes, manning the left of the defensive unit that remains, a bit exposed, with the Aston Villa goal havign come down that channel.

Aston Villa 1-0 Arsenal, 16 minutes

17:48 , Harry Latham-Coyle

A thrusting left boot from Kai Havertz looks a little high on Boubacar Kamara, but referee Jarred Gillett is happy to let play continue with the German having taken the ball. Bukayo Saka releases a shot, which ricochets away off Aston Villa legs. Saka just couldn’t quite open up the space for the far-post curler he likes.

Aston Villa 1-0 Arsenal, 14 minutes

17:45 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Arsenal are just off their game a bit. Gabriel Jesus cuts back and tries to switch play, but it’s between Bukayo Saka and Ben White, who watch it skim out of play across the damp Villa Park turf.

Aston Villa 1-0 Arsenal, 12 minutes

17:43 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Arsenal continue to push up, Kai Havertz and Martin Odegaard each high in their press and almost alongside Gabriel Jesus. Oleksandr Zincheko is tucking in to a midfield area at times, combining to set a platform with Declan Rice. The Ukrainian looks forward with a direct, long ball, but it’s too straight and through to Emiliano Martinez on the bounce.

Aston Villa 1-0 Arsenal, 9 minutes

17:40 , Harry Latham-Coyle

That really was a lovely goal, Aston Villa playing out from the back to break the shackles of Arsenal’s press and then create the opportunity up the right.

Mikel Arteta shakes his head in the directors’ box - not the start he was hoping for.

GOAL! ASTON VILLA 1-0 Arsenal (John McGinn, 7 minutes)

17:37 , Harry Latham-Coyle

John McGinn makes no mistake at the other end!

Superb. This is a beauty of a team goal from Aston Villa, lively interplay freeing Leon Bailey. the wide man draws three to him and still manages to pick the right pass, cutting back to his captain, who pivots perfectly and plants it high into the back of the net.

A trademark celebration and a jump of joy from John McGinn - and Villa Park is bouncing with him.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Aston Villa 0-0 Arsenal, 6 minutes

17:37 , Harry Latham-Coyle

That’s a chance, though! It’s a delightful ball from Gabriel Martinelli, picking up the switch from Bukayo Saka and playing an elongated one-two, curling deliciously to the far post where Saka has ghosted by Lucas Digne. Given his quality, it’s a surprise that Saka does not make more of the chance, the England international scuffing his half-volley. It was touch technique-wise, but you’d have backed him to hit the target.

Aston Villa 0-0 Arsenal, 5 minutes

17:35 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Ollie Watkins regathers and forces a hurried shot away, though is unable to get it through the pair of Arsenal legs he is attempting to bisect. Arsenal yet to really settle.

Aston Villa 0-0 Arsenal, 4 minutes

17:34 , Harry Latham-Coyle

This is a strong start from the hosts, pushing Arsenal back. Boubacar Kamara drives between Declan Rice and Kai Havertz, but the German just manages to get a foot in.

Aston Villa 0-0 Arsenal, 2 minutes

17:32 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Aston Villa pack the six-yard space with bodies, surrounding David Raya. It’s a shame, then, that the delivery is so poor, failing to meet the first defender.

Aston Villa 0-0 Arsenal, 1 minute

17:31 , Harry Latham-Coyle

As expected for Aston Villa, with John McGinn tucking in from the left side of midfield and Leon Bailey providing width on the right. Bailey immediately wins a corner after twisting by Oleksandr Zinchenko.

KICK OFF!

17:30 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Mikel Arteta takes his seat up in the stands, Unai Emery down in the dugout. We are underway at Villa Park.

Aston Villa vs Arsenal

17:28 , Harry Latham-Coyle

The players are out there under the lights. Jarred Gillett is our referee this evening, with VAR Michael Salisbury on standby if required.

Aston Villa vs Arsenal

17:27 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Aston Villa pay a quick tribute to Benjamin Zephaniah ahead of kick off, the late, great poet a lifelong fan who sadly passed away at the age of 65 this week.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Aston Villa vs Arsenal

17:25 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Almost go time at Villa Park. Remember, Mikel Arteta will be watching on from the directors’ box this evening after being shown a third yellow card of the season at Luton. Assistant Albert Stuivenberg is likely to be delivering the key touchline messages.

Aston Villa vs Arsenal

17:20 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Kick off creeping ever nearer at Villa Park. Aston Villa will still be well placed in the top four chase even if they are beaten tonight, but it feels like the sort of occasion on which they can make a real statement of intent. They were so, so good against Manchester City, completely shutting the champions down, but backing up that sort of performance is the mark of a top team.

Aston Villa vs Arsenal

17:12 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Leon Bailey was excellent against Manchester City, and his match-up with Oleksandr Zinchenko could be an area Aston Villa look to attack today. Zinchenko is a key part of Arsenal’s possession play, but there is a thought that the converted midfielder can be a little bit vulnerable defensively. Moussa Diaby is a handy bench option, too.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Aston Villa vs Arsenal

17:05 , Harry Latham-Coyle

David Raya was probably glad that Aaron Ramsdale didn’t quite take his chance against Brentford a couple of weeks ago, with the Spaniard yet to convince after being given the gloves in the Premier League by Mikel Arteta. The goalkeeper should, really, have kept out Ross Barkley’s strike at Kenilworth Road having also flapped at a corner for Luton’s second goal. A solid, secure performance might go somewhere towards Raya really establishing himself.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Aston Villa vs Arsenal

16:59 , Harry Latham-Coyle

That Manchester United defeat keeps them sixth, but a positive result of any kind for Newcastle at Tottenham tomorrow will see Erik ten Hag’s side drop down. Brighton would have gone above them, too, if they’d beaten Burnley - but an excellent battling performance has earned Vincent Kompany’s side a valuable point against Brighton.

Aston Villa, remember, start tonight’s game four points behind their opponents, with Arsenal looking to move back to the top of the table after being beaten by lunchtime winners Liverpool.

Aston Villa vs Arsenal

16:55 , Harry Latham-Coyle

A bit of news from elsewhere before we focus more fully on tonight’s action - and it’s a famous day for Bournemouth, who have had a fourth goal chalked off but remain three to the good at Old Trafford. So much for Manchester United turning a corner with an impressive perforamnce against Chelsea...

Arsenal midfield gets another go

16:53 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Kai Havertz keeps his place in the Arsenal midfield, with the German and Martin Odegaard offering plenty of creativity but perhaps leaving Declan Rice with plenty to do in a defensive sense. Arsenal were a little loose at Luton, and you wonder what the narrative might have been this week had Rice not popped up with that latest of late winners, but it’s a dynamic, attacking line-up that will surely look to take it to an Aston Villa defensive structure that so stymied Manchester City.

Unai Emery calls for Villa to remain calm in chase for Champions League place

16:46 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Unai Emery admitted Aston Villa’s Champions League chase is on but called for calm in their quest for the top four.

Villa host Premier League leaders Arsenal on Saturday following Wednesday’s impressive 1-0 win over champions Manchester City.

It lifted them to third in the table - just four points behind the Gunners - having won their last 14 top-flight home games, equalling a club record previously done in 1931 and 1903.

“(Qualifying for the Champions League) of course is a big motivation for us. Every place now is important for us,” said Villa boss Emery, ahead of the meeting with his former club.

“We can wait until match 30 or 32 in case we are in the top four in that moment, then maybe we can think we are contenders to be there.

“Now, we have to be happy and we have to be focused. The match on Wednesday is finished and we enjoyed that moment with our supporters in Villa Park, but now we have to focus 100 per cent on the match.

“Again, it’s a big challenge and a great moment but we’re very focused on our professional work for the match.”

Aston Villa vs Arsenal

16:40 , Harry Latham-Coyle

So pretty familiar line-ups, as was to be expected with these two sides in such good form. Arsenal were the last team to win at Villa Park some 14 home matches ago for Unai Emery’s side - and that victory was only achieved thanks to a couple of stoppage time goals.

Arsenal team news

16:32 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Arsenal, meanwhile, make a single alteration, with Oleksandr Zinchenko back in the side at left-back. Jakub Kiwior drops out.

Arsenal XI: Raya; White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko; Odegaard, Rice, Havertz; Saka, Jesus, Martinelli.

Aston Villa team news

16:31 , Harry Latham-Coyle

As you were for Aston Villa - the hosts are unchanged.

Aston Villa XI: Martinez; Konsa, Carlos, Torres, Digne; Bailey, Kamara, Tielemans, Luiz, McGinn; Watkins.

Team news imminent...

16:27 , Harry Latham-Coyle

Little more than an hour before kick off now, which means we’ll soon have the all-important team news. Will Aston Villa stick with the side that performed so impressively against Manchester City in midweek?

Inside Unai Emery’s journey to Premier League redemption: ‘People didn’t see the full picture’

16:25 , Harry Latham-Coyle

As Mikel Arteta’s staff began preparations for Saturday’s increasingly important Premier League clash at Aston Villa, they noticed elements that were profoundly different from Unai Emery’s time at Arsenal. Some were even markedly different to last season.

Emery is playing far higher up the pitch than he has ever done in his career. A sporting director at one major club was shocked by it, as it went against acres of analytics they had from the Spaniard’s previous teams. Even some of the Villa players were initially surprised, immediately sceptical given the risk of it. Emery, contrary to both perceptions of his coaching and his time at Arsenal, was more than willing to take that risk. His belief similarly meant the players were more than willing to buy in. They were soon fully sold as results immediately improved, and have gone on to reach new levels.

Inside Unai Emery’s journey to redemption: ‘People didn’t see the full picture’

Arteta praises former Gunners boss Emery for Villa’s form

16:18 , Jamie Braidwood

Aston Villa’s position under manager Unai Emery is no surprise to Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta.

Speaking ahead of Saturday’s game, Arteta lavished praise on former Arsenal manager Emery.

“I think you have to give huge credit to them and Unai and the coaching staff,” he said.

“They are going to be a tough opponent and it is one of my favourite grounds... (It’s) no surprise. I have followed him since he was coach of Almeria and what he has done at every team is remarkable.

“He has always improved the players, the team and the club. He is Basque like I am. I really admire him. I am really happy for him.”

 (Getty)
(Getty)

Why is Mikel Arteta not on the touchline for Aston Villa v Arsenal?

16:10 , Jamie Braidwood

Mikel Arteta will be absent from the touchline during Arsenal’s trip to Aston Villa with the Spanish manager serving a ban.

The former midfielder received a third yellow card of the season in his side’s win over Luton.

Referee Samuel Barrot deemed that Arteta had over-celebrated Declan Rice’s late goal that snatched victory in a seven-goal thriller.

Erik ten Hag, Arteta’s counterpart at Manchester United, was also recently forced to watch from the stands after disciplinary issues.

Why is Mikel Arteta not on the touchline for Aston Villa v Arsenal?

Aston Villa vs Arsenal

16:05 , Jamie Braidwood

Odds

Aston Villa win 5/2

Draw 11/4

Arsenal win 11/10

Prediction

A draw. Aston Villa 1-1 Arsenal.

Get the latest football betting site offers here.

Arsenal vs Aston Villa

16:04 , Jamie Braidwood

Predicted line-ups

Aston Villa XI: Martinez; Konsa, Carlos, Torres, Digne; Diaby, Kamara, Tielemans, Luiz, McGinn; Watkins.

Arsenal XI: Raya; White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko; Odegaard, Rice, Havertz; Saka, Jesus, Martinelli.

Aston Villa vs Arsenal

16:03 , Jamie Braidwood

Arsenal team news

Mikel Arteta, who will serve a touchline ban at Villa Park, confirmed that Arsenal had no fresh injury concerns from the win over Luton, though Takehiro Tomiyasu was lost to a four-to-six week injury against Wolves last weekend. Jurrien Timber, Emile Smith Rowe and Thomas Partey also remain out.

Aston Villa vs Arsenal

16:02 , Jamie Braidwood

Aston Villa team news

Emiliano Buendia and Tyrone Mings are Aston Villa’s long-term absentees, while Unai Emery suggested on Friday that he may have to rotate his side during a busy period of fixtures. Leon Bailey impressed against Manchester City but appeared to be feeling fatigued towards the end of the win; Moussa Diaby could swap in to the starting side.

Aston Villa vs Arsenal

16:01 , Jamie Braidwood

When is Aston Villa vs Arsenal?

Aston Villa vs Arsenal is due to kick off at 5.30pm GMT on Saturday 9 December at Villa Park.

How can I watch it?

Viewers in the United Kingdom can watch the match live on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Premier League, with coverage from 5pm GMT. Subscribers can stream the action via Sky Go.

If you’re travelling abroad and want to watch major sporting events, you might need a VPN to unblock your streaming app. Our VPN round-up is here to help and includes deals on VPNs in the market. Viewers using a VPN need to make sure that they comply with any local regulations where they are, and also with the terms of their service provider.

Good evening

16:00 , Jamie Braidwood

Good afternoon and welcome to coverage of Aston Villa vs Arsenal in the Premier League tonight, in what is a huge meeting in the title race.

Unai Emery’s side extended their winning run at Villa Park to 14 games when they defeated Manchester City 1-0 during the week. The consequence of that win being a jump up to third in the table, above the reigning champions, and within four points of the Gunners.

Elsewhere, Arsenal required a dramatic stoppage-time winner from Declan Rice to claim all three points in a seven-goal epic against struggling Luton.

Mikel Arteta says that Emery has done a remarkable job at Villa and is expecting another tough test when he goes up against his fellow Spaniard today.

Follow all the action in tonight’s live blog