Watkins makes Arsenal ‘body language’ claim as ‘motivated’ Villa leave England team-mate ‘gutted’

Jason Soutar
Ollie Watkins discusses Aston Villa's win over Arsenal
Ollie Watkins discusses Aston Villa's win over Arsenal

Aston Villa striker Ollie Watkins says “we could see from their body language” that Arsenal were there for the taking in his side’s 2-0 win.

Watkins scored Villa’s second goal of the game after Leon Bailey’s opener as Unai Emery’s side stunned the Gunners at the Emirates on Sunday.

Aston Villa smelt blood v Arsenal – Ollie Watkins

The defeat leaves Arsenal two points behind reigning champions Manchester City, whose fixture list is a lot nicer.

Liverpool were also on the wrong end of a surprise result on Sunday, losing to Crystal Palace at Anfield.

It was two late goals from Villa that downed their hosts, with Emery’s men holding on in the opening 45 minutes before a terrific showing in the second half.

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With Villa growing into the game after Arsenal ought to be leading at half-time, Watkins says he and his team-mates smelt blood and took advantage of the Gunners’ ‘frustration’.

He told BBC Match of the Day: “I felt like we grew into the game a lot.

“The longer Arsenal didn’t create much, we could see from their body language that they were getting tired and definitely getting frustrated and I think we used that as momentum and motivation really.

“We grew into the game and we played some really good football.”

Declan Rice: Arsenal must bounce back from Villa loss

Meanwhile, Declan Rice has emphasised the need for a quick reaction with Arsenal now preparing for a trip to Bayern Munich in the Champions League.

“We’re gutted and disappointed we’ve lost a massive game but, it’s time for a reaction,” Rice said post-match.

“We’ve been on such an amazing run since January, won so many football matches, and got ourselves back into an unbelievable position after being written off at Christmas.

“Now that reaction starts in the Champions League against Bayern, so we’ll be ready for that. We have to park this to the side now. It’s gone, it’s a game of football. We’ve lost but we need to bounce back, that’s for sure.

“It’s a great chance for us to get into a Champions League semi-final. Going to the Allianz Arena, it’s going to be a special night. It’s time to pull our socks up and show everyone why we’re in this position.

“It’s not over yet, there’s six games to go. We’re in an unbelievable position, two points behind. We’re still ready, we’re still fully focused on what we want to do and what we can achieve.

“There’s going to be many more twists and turns in the Premier League, I think you can see that with the other results today. Anything can happen and we’ll stay positive.”

Rice went on to say that Arsenal should have won Sunday’s clash against Aston Villa, noting that missed chances in the first half ‘came back to haunt us’.

“When you create that many chances and have that many one-on-ones with the keeper or you get to the byline and you don’t quite get the cross, or don’t quite get the finish it’s very disappointing,” the England midfielder added.

“We’ve got to be taking one of those chances because in games like this, teams like Villa have got quality and can come back to haunt you and they did today.

“I think in the first half they gave us so much space, then second half they adapted to that. They closed everything up, and where we were having our success in the first half, they shut down completely. We didn’t have enough attempts on goal in the second half, that’s for sure, in a game where we should be winning.”

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