Arsenal reclaimed pole position in the Premier League on Saturday as the Gunners battled back for an impressive 4-2 win at Aston Villa, but Manchester City was held to a poor 1-1 draw at Nottingham Forest.
Just three days after giving up the first place with a 3-1 defeat to City, Arsenal returned in impressive form to move two points ahead of the championship.
With minutes remaining at Villa Park, Mikel Arteta’s men were in danger of slipping back up in their bid to win the title for the first time since 2004.
Arsenal won twice with goals from Ollie Watkins and Philippe Coutinho, only for Bukayo Saka and then Oleksandr Zinchenko to pull them back.
During the second half stoppage time, Arsenal got a helping hand from their first keeper as Emiliano Martinez inadvertently deflected Jorginho’s shot into his own net after hitting the bar.
Gabriel Martinelli sealed Arsenal’s escape when he tapped into the empty net in the final seconds after Martinez was found on the pitch in a Villa corner.
“We are back with more confidence than before because you have to change games to results,” said Arteta.
“The team showed a lot of emotion that is needed. I am very happy.”
Arsenal’s first win in five games in all competitions will give them renewed confidence that they can take City to the title.
The Gunners, who have a game in hand in the championship, were given a big boost by stumbling their opponents a few hours later.
Bernardo Silva put Pep Guardiola’s men in front four minutes before half-time, taking Jack Grealish’s pass in his stride and curling a header past Keylor Navas from 20 yards.
But tension grew as City searched for a second goal and Guardiola was booked for forcing a fourth official after Erling Haaland’s appeal was turned down following a challenge from Joe Worrall.
City were undone by their composure as Haaland missed a number of chances before Chris Wood tapped in Morgan Gibbs-White’s cross in the 84th minute.
“We had amazing chances but it’s football. We have to score,” said Guardiola.
“It was one of the best games we played but we dropped two points. We have to be stronger. We have a lot of games left, we know.”
Liverpool returned to the hunt for a top-four finish after Newcastle’s 17-match unbeaten run ended with a 2-0 win at St James’ Park.
Darwin Nunez put Liverpool ahead from just inside the area after 10 minutes and Cody Gakpo doubled the lead seven minutes later with a close-range finish.
Newcastle goalkeeper Nick Pope was sent off in the 22nd minute after handling the ball outside the area.
Jurgen Klopp’s eighth-placed side – who last beat Newcastle in the league in August – are six points behind the Magpies with a game in hand.
Fourth-placed Newcastle are winless in their last four league games.
“Both goals were impressive. When you’re not at your best you have to fight and that’s what we did. It’s nice to be honest,” said Klopp.
“It is too early to say that we are back, but we are moving forward.”
Everton moved out of the relegation zone with an important 1-0 win against struggling Leeds at Goodison Park.
Seamus Coleman scored in the 64th minute when an Everton defender latched on to a cross that found Leeds goalkeeper Illan Meslier, who left space at his near post for the ball to tap in. the net.
Sean Dyche’s side have won two of their three games since taking over from the sacked Frank Lampard and now sit one point above the bottom three, while Leeds have no manager is in the 19th position.
Under fire Chelsea manager Graham Potter suffered another bottom-of-the-table defeat to Southampton 1-0 at Stamford Bridge.
James Ward-Prowse scored his 17th Premier League kick – one behind David Beckham’s record in the competition – to give Southampton the lead at half-time.
Chelsea were relegated at full time after a result that left them in 10th place, with just two wins in their last 14 games in all competitions and none in the last five.
Bournemouth jumped out of the relegation zone with a 1-0 win at Wolves.
Sixth-placed Fulham won 1-0 at Brighton, while Brentford and Crystal Palace drew 1-1.
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