Arsenal's title hopes hit with 2-0 loss to Villa as Man City get boost

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LONDON: Arsenal's Premier League title push was hit by late goals from Aston Villa's Leon Bailey and Ollie Watkins as they suffered a surprise 2-0 home defeat on Sunday (Apr 14) to hand the initiative to leaders and defending champions Manchester City.

Villa substitute Bailey tapped home from close range in the 84th minute before Watkins' sublime finish three minutes later sent Gunners fans streaming for the exits.

Arsenal's loss, their first in 12 league games, leaves them in second place, two points behind City and level on points with third-placed Liverpool with six games left to play.

"We knew that this moment could come and now it's about reacting and keep believing and doing what we can," Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta told reporters.

"Now is the moment to stand up, as a leader, as a character, to make yourself count. When you win and win and win for four months, it's very, very simple to do it. The moment is now."

Following Liverpool's 1-0 defeat at home to Crystal Palace earlier on Sunday, the weekend belonged to City who bolstered their chances of an unprecedented fourth straight league title with a 5-1 demolition of visiting Luton Town on Saturday.

Opta now give City a 70% chance of winning the Premier League, with Arsenal on just over 18% and Liverpool nearly 12%.

Arteta said his side's trip to Bayern Munich in the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final tie, after a 2-2 draw in midweek, was "a beautiful opportunity" to respond.

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