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More to come from Villa, says boss Smith after big win at Arsenal

LONDON (Reuters) - Aston Villa boss Dean Smith said there was more to come from his vibrant side after a 3-0 win at Arsenal lifted them back into sixth spot in the Premier League on Sunday.

Soccer Football - Premier League - Arsenal v Aston Villa - Emirates Stadium, London, Britain - November 8, 2020 Aston Villa manager Dean Smith Pool via REUTERS/Andy Rain

Villa only won two away games last season but have already claimed three away wins this time, with massive improvements at both ends of the pitch.

Young striker Ollie Watkins, signed from Brentford, scored twice after the break at the Emirates after an own goal by Bukayo Saka had given them a halftime lead.

Jack Grealish was instrumental in Villa’s attacking threat and Ross Barkley has given Villa power and pace.

At the back Villa looked rock-solid, snuffing out Arsenal’s attack and they have yet to concede an away goal this season.

“It’s a really pleasing performance,” Smith said. “Lots of facets to it. It was a good defensive shift from the whole team. We caused them problems with some of our counter attacking.”

Grealish, John McGinn and Barkley were just too hot for Arsenal to handle and Watkins has already scored six goals in his first Premier League campaign.

“We’re a threat with them in the team,” Smith said. “Really pleasing. They’re all blossoming really well but there’s more to come from them.”

While Villa are on the up, Arsenal were abject in defeat and barely mustered a chance.

They have scored only nine goals in eight Premier League games this season, their fewest at this stage of a league campaign since 1998-99, while on Sunday Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang failed to have a goal attempt.

“I don’t feel like we were the team we were supposed to be. We performed below our standards and ability. This is totally my fault because it’s why I’m here,” manager Mikel Arteta said.

“We lost all the races, all the duels, we were sloppy on the ball. When we created the chances to score we didn’t even hit the target. It’s a really bad combination.”

Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Toby Davis