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Premier League: Arsenal stumble, held to draw by Southampton; Villa rout Brentford 4-0 (round-up)

London, Oct 23 (IANS) Granit Xhaka’s first-half goal went in vain as Arsenal stumbled to a 1-1 draw at Southampton, creating an opportunity for teams to inch closer to the Premier League leaders.

Xhaka netted his fourth goal of the season, sweetly connecting with Ben White’s cross, to give us an early lead. But the Saints were much improved after the interval, drawing level through Stuart Armstrong’s first goal of the season on 65 minutes, as the hosts took the game to Arsenal.

Arsenal went into the match with a one-point lead over second-placed Manchester City, who had reduced the margin with a win on Saturday. Sunday’s draw left them two points ahead of Pep Guardiola’s side, who had a chance of overtaking the Gunners in case they falter again.

Arsenal, desperate to re-establish the four-point lead they held before the weekend, pushed for a winner and thought they had found it through Martin Odegaard, but the ball had run out of play in the build-up.

The Saints, still pushing for a winner themselves, settled for a point that takes them to three games unbeaten as they picked their fifth point in a week, becoming only the second Premier League team this season to deny Arsenal victory in an absorbing draw at St Mary’s.

Villa down Brentford 4-0

A resurgent Aston Villa blew Brentford away at Villa Park on Sunday afternoon, delivering a scintillating display of attacking football to pick up three points.

Under the guidance of first-team coach Aaron Danks, the home side was in front after just 65 seconds when Leon Bailey curled home the opener. Danny Ings struck twice in quick succession, including one from the penalty spot, as Villa raced into a 3-0 lead after 14 minutes.

Things got even better inside a jubilant Villa Park when Ollie Watkins slammed home the fourth goal just before the hour mark.

Danks took charge of the hosts following the departure of head coach Steven Gerrard, making three changes from the team that lost 3-0 against Fulham in midweek.

And one of the players brought into the starting XI, Emi Buendía, played a part in the opening goal as Villa flew out of the traps and scored after just 65 seconds. Despite being urged to shoot by a charged-up Holte End, Douglas Luiz played a one-two with the Argentine from a short corner before rolling the ball into the path of Bailey, who strode onto the ball and curled it past David Raya.

In other matches, Fulham edged Leeds United 3-2 while Wolverhampton Wanderers thrashed Leicester City 4-0.

–IANS

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CELEBRITY GALLERY

Rubina Dilaik

Malavika Mohanan

Himanshi Khurana

Avika Gor

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