Five days is a long time in football. Last Thursday, Aston Villa were left desolate when Theo Walcott’s equaliser at Goodison Park appeared to have inflicted a fatal wound in their effort to escape relegation. But now they have control of their destiny after a deserved, battling win in which Arsenal rarely came close to puncturing a marvellously drilled back line. Watford’s heavy defeat to Manchester City earlier in the evening gave Villa an opening they took with relish, performing with admirable rigour and scoring an excellent first-half decider through Mahmoud Trezeguet. As a result, they are now outside the relegation zone for the first time since late February.

For Arsenal, previously buoyant, the season’s success now hangs purely on their FA Cup final against Chelsea. Europa League qualification through the league is now impossible and Mikel Arteta may come to regret a flat, imprecise display.

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