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Arsenal's Gabriel Martinelli, centre, scores his side's fourth goal during the English Premier League soccer match between Aston Villa and Arsenal at Villa Park in Birmingham, England, Feb. 18, 2023.Jon Super/The Associated Press

In a title race that keeps producing twists, the pendulum swung back Arsenal’s way again after a frustrating day for Manchester City in the English Premier League.

Arsenal came from behind twice before scoring two goals in injury time to beat Aston Villa 4-2 in the early kickoff on Saturday and halt a three-game winless streak in the league.

City then conceded a second-half equalizer and was held at Nottingham Forest to a surprising 1-1 after wasting chances to put the game away. The normally prolific Erling Haaland was guilty of a glaring double miss when he first hit the crossbar and then fired the rebound over the net from close range in the second half.

That all put Arsenal back atop the league standings, two points above City and with a game in hand after Pep Guardiola’s side went ahead on goal difference on Wednesday following a 3-1 win over the Gunners.

“We had amazing chances but it’s football. We have to score,” Guardiola said. “It is one of the best games we have played but we drop two points.”

Also, Chelsea’s struggles reached a new low after losing at home against last-placed Southampton 1-0, which should ramp up the pressure even further on manager Graham Potter.

The match also had some worrying scenes as Chelsea defender Cesar Azpilicueta sustained a head injury after taking a kick in the face in the second half. He was carried off on a stretcher and taken to hospital.


Having seen an eight-point lead slip away, Arsenal badly needed to beat Villa and bounce back from the defeat to City midweek.

It came thanks to a lucky late bounce.

At 2-2, Jorginho’s shot from outside the area in the third minute of injury time struck the crossbar and bounced in off the head of Villa goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez to put Mikel Arteta’s team in front. Gabriel Martinelli added the fourth into an empty net after Martinez went up into the Arsenal box in search of an equalizer.

“We needed a magic moment and Jorginho produced it,” Arteta said of his new signing, who joined from Chelsea in January.

None of Chelsea’s expensive January signings seem able to produce much of anything at the moment. Instead, set-piece specialist James Ward-Prowse scored the only goal at Stamford Bridge with a free kick just before the halftime break.

The result comes on the heels of three straight league draws and a 1-0 loss to Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League for Potter’s side. To make matters worse was Azpilicueta lengthy treatment after being hit in the face by an attempted overhead kick by Sékou Mara in the 74th minute.

Azpilicueta was taken off on a stretcher wearing a neck brace and breathing from an oxygen mask after a 10-minute stoppage of play.

“Thankfully he’s conscious,” Potter said. “He’s in hospital. He spoke to his wife, I believe. So we’re just obviously monitoring and very concerned for him… . It was not a nice thing to see.”


On a low-scoring afternoon, three of the other six mid-afternoon kickoffs also finished 1-0.

Fulham beat Brighton away, Everton earned a crucial victory over fellow relegation struggler Leeds, and Bournemouth won at Wolves. A last-gasp equalizer earned Brentford a 1-1 draw at home against Crystal Palace.

Substitute Manor Solomon scored the 88th-minute winner for Fulham to put the London club three points above Brighton in sixth place as the newcomer surprisingly challenges for a European spot.

It was an important day at the bottom of the standings as the three teams who started the day in the relegation zone all won.

Everton climbed out of the relegation zone thanks to Seamus Coleman’s second-half goal, moving two points above 19th-place Leeds.

Bournemouth also moved above West Ham into 17th place after Marcus Tavernier marked his return from injury with the winner against Wolverhampton — although the south-coast club could be back in the relegation zone if West Ham earns at least a draw against Tottenham on Sunday.

Southampton remained in last place, three points from safety.

Newcastle hosted Liverpool in the late game.