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Aston Villa surprise Arsenal 1-0 to climb out of drop zone

London, Jul 21 (efe-epa).- Aston Villa beat Arsenal 1-0 Tuesday to climb out of the Premier League drop zone at the expense of Watford, who fell 4-0 to Manchester City.

The victory brings Villa to 34 points, the same as Watford, but the Birmingham side are 17th by virtue of their goal difference of minus 26, compared with minus 27 for the Hornets.

But which of the two clubs will join already-relegated Norwich City and 19th-place Bournemouth – who have 31 points – in the second division won’t be decided until the final match day, when Watford face Arsenal and Villa battle West Ham United.

For the Gunners, the unexpected loss to Villa means that the only way they can qualify for European play in 2020-2021 is by defeating Chelsea in the FA Cup final. With 53 points from 37 games, Arsenal are 10th in the table and 6 points out of the final Europa League spot.

Arsenal had the ball for two-thirds of the contest at Birmingham’s Villa Park, yet failed to put a shot on target.

Trezeguet’s goal off a Conor Hourihane corner in the 27th minute proved to be enough for the hosts to grab all 3 points and sustain their hopes of staying up.

Raheem Sterling had a brace as Manchester City thrashed Watford 4-0 earlier Tuesday at Vicarage Road.

City took out their frustrations from losing the FA Cup semifinal to Arsenal against a Hornets side still at risk of relegation with Under-23 coach Hayden Mullins at the helm after the abrupt firing of manager Nigel Pearson.

Though playing at home, Watford conceded 76 percent possession to City, who had nine shots on target to one for the hosts.

Sterling opened the scoring in the 31st minute with an assist from Kyle Walker and extended the lead to 2-0 less than 10 minutes later.

After drawing a foul from Will Hughes, Sterling saw Watford keeper Ben Foster stop his penalty. But the ball ended up back at the striker’s feet and he hammered home.

And while Foster denied Sterling’s bid to complete the hat trick in the 63rd minute, Phil Foden pounced on the rebound to make it 3-0.

The fourth goal came in the 66th minute, when Aymeric Laporte got his head to Kevin de Bruyne’s free kick.

City, in second place, go to 78 points, 15 behind title-winners Liverpool.

Now that his side are out of the FA Cup, manager Pep Guardiola is focused on City’s coming round-of-16 Champions League clash with Real Madrid. EFE

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