Aston Villa moved out of the Premier League relegation zone for the first time since 28 February, with one game to go, after Trezeguet’s priceless winner for a 1-0 home victory against Arsenal on Tuesday.
Trezeguet beat Emiliano Martinez with a powerful first-time finish after Tyrone Mings had diverted a corner into the Egypt international’s path to lift his side above managerless Watford, who had started the day 17th before a heavy 4-0 home defeat by Manchester City, on goal difference.
After Watford’s 2-1 win over Newcastle on 11 July, Villa looked down and out – seven points from safety with four games to go.
But Dean Smith’s side have reacted magnificently in the closing stages of the season, beating Crystal Palace, drawing at Everton before overcoming Arsenal with a gritty display oozing in character to give themselves a fighting chance of staying up.
Watford’s defeat earlier on Tuesday opened the door for Villa to climb out of the relegation zone for the first time in five months heading into the final day.
Villa’s second win in three games sets up a dramatic final day at the bottom of the table on Sunday, which Villa will begin level on points with Watford and three points ahead of Bournemouth – with two of those three teams likely to go down.
Villa will be safe if they win (presuming Watford do not win by two more goals than they do), or draw providing the Hornets do not win. But defeat would send Villa down if Watford avoid defeat or if Bournemouth win at Everton.
The game felt like a big step backwards for Arsenal after a positive spell in which they collected 13 points from six games.
Having followed up victory over runaway champions Liverpool by beating Manchester City to seal a first FA Cup final visit since 2017, the Gunners did not force Villa keeper Pepe Reina into a serious save.
It was the first time Villa had not faced any shots on target in a Premier League game since January 2016.
A 10th league defeat means Arsenal, playing in their first match since reaching the FA Cup final, will finish outside the top six for the first time in 25 years.
They can finish no higher than eighth after a disappointing performance by Mikel Arteta’s side, Eddie Nketiah going closest to equalising with a header which hit the post.
The Gunners can still qualify for Europe but they will now have to win the FA Cup to play in next season’s Europa League.