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Aston Villa look impressive in crushing sorry Arsenal with two from Ollie Watkins

Doubling up: Watkins PICTURE: REUTERS

Arsenal 0-3 Aston Villa

ASTON Villa gave notice their fine start to the season was no flash in the pan with a brilliant performance at lacklustre Arsenal to move just three points behind leaders Leicester with a game in hand.

Bakayo Saka’s first-half own goal and two second-half efforts from Ollie Watkins gave Villa a convincing victory — and they were in no way flattered by the scoreline.

Dean Smith’s side made a mockery of the fact they had gone into the game off back-to-back defeats while the Gunners won 1-0 at Manchester United last weekend.

Villa dominated from the first whistle, John McGinn finding the net after 48 seconds only for a four-minute VAR check to eventually rule the offside Ross Barkley had affected goalkeeper Bernd Leno’s vision. So justice probably was done when they were gifted a 25th-minute opener as Saka turned Matt Targett’s cross into his own net with Trezeguet lurking.

Arsenal lost Thomas Partey to injury at the break and Villa continued to pose the greater threat with Leno saving smartly from Trezeguet and Jack Grealish.

But a sublime volleyed cross by the excellent Barkley set up Watkins for the second with 20 minutes left and Grealish then had a shot cleared off the line by Dani Ceballos. It was 3-0 when Grealish raced 50 yards and put Watkins through for a clinical finish.