Aston Villa handed Champions League upper hand after Tottenham collapse v Arsenal

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and James Maddison of Tottenham Hotspur
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and James Maddison of Tottenham Hotspur -Credit:Getty Images

Aston Villa's Champions League hopes were significantly strengthened on Sunday after Tottenham Hotspur fell to a 3-2 defeat at home to bitter North London rivals Arsenal. The Gunners, chasing a first league title since 2004, dominated the first half and raced into a 3-0 half time lead thanks to goals from Bukayo Saka and Kai Havertz, as well as an own goal from Pierre-Emile Højbjerg.

Spurs did reply in the second half, but that response proved to be merely a consolation. This was Spurs' second successive defeat after their heavy loss up at Newcastle United last time out, a fortnight ago.

Although Villa themselves failed to win on Saturday night - despite being 2-0 up at home to Chelsea, they couldn't prevent a Blues comeback in the second half and, in truth, were rather hanging on in the closing stages of the game - they've actually increased their advantage over Spurs by another point during this gameweek.

Crucially, it now means that Villa's destiny is in their own hands, for Spurs have two games in hand but now the gap between the two sides in the table is seven points. Spurs also still have both Manchester City and Liverpool to play in their run-in, while Villa host the latter too next month.

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Villa now know that, irrespective of what Spurs might do in their remaining five matches, if they win their last three - against Liverpool, Brighton and Crystal Palace - then they cannot be overthrown in the battle to secure the final available Champions League place. Villa supporters, naturally, were buoyant having seen Arsenal do them a favour in their bid to win the league...

Kash: Arsenal have been one of the most generous clubs this season. Giving us six points, giving us a further three by points by taking them away from Spurs. That's nine points!! Thank you #afc and your mid club.

Edward Cartledge: Far too early to get the bunting out yet, but assuming the Spurs score stays the same, they would realistically need to win three of their last five matches to get 4th - even if we picked up no more points.

Northvillan: Love the fact we have the points and Spurs have the games to play. Gives an extra reason to watch and cheer on opposition in any Spurs game till season's end.

Joshua Moore: Thanks Arsenal! If Spurs win their two games in hand we will still be 1 point ahead of them.

Steven Billingham: Those wins over Arsenal and Bournemouth not looking too shabby at the moment

Adrian Siggins: Last night's point against Chelsea now seems a good point gained

Matt Lynch: Scoreboard pressure in full swing. Come on Chelsea/Liverpool

Darren Campbell: Despite a poor performance we got the point we probably didn't deserve yesterday. And now our gap to Spurs is bigger after Arsenal held on. That point yesterday could well turn out to be massive.

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