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McGinn: We’ve beaten best two teams in league

By Tom Collomosse AT VILLA PARK

JOHN McGINN hailed a ‘monumental week’ for Aston Villa in which they defeated Manchester City and Arsenal in four days to announce themselves as title contenders.

Villa secured a record 15th straight home win in the Premier League and despite Unai Emery’s insistence that they are not in the race for the Premier League crown, they are now only two points behind leaders Liverpool after 16 games.

Villa were not as impressive as in their 1-0 win over City last Wednesday but they showed superb resilience to win by the same scoreline thanks to McGinn’s seventh-minute strike.

‘What a monumental week it has been for us,’ said McGinn. ‘There’s a long way to go. The teams around us have been in these positions for years and are so experienced.

‘We are the newbies. Can we keep it up? I don’t know. We’ll see. Hopefully. The targets have certainly been revised.’

He added: ‘We’ve kept a clean sheet against the two best teams in the league in my opinion and it’s another huge win.’

Emery’s men also saw two debatable calls go their way. Douglas Luiz was not punished for making contact with Gabriel Jesus inside the box early in the second half, while Kai Havertz’s late strike was ruled out for handball — with the decision upheld after a lengthy VAR check. Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta — who was in the stands serving a touchline ban — hinted at frustration with those decisions, saying he had a ‘big opinion’ on them. Yet when asked to elaborate, Arteta added only: ‘Clear and obvious. That’s all I can say.

‘We were the better team and deserved more. We can’t demand much more from the team but we lacked accuracy in the box. I’m really pleased with the performance but disappointed we didn’t get the result we wanted.’

Emery is likely to rest key players in Thursday’s trip to face Bosnian club Zrinjski Mostar in the Europa Conference League, before next Sunday’s clash with Brentford.

Midfielder Luiz and defender Lucas Digne will miss that one after both picked up their fifth bookings of the season here.

Emery said: ‘If we are still in the same position after 30 or 32 games, maybe I can speak about the title.’

Asked why he had not shaken hands with the Arsenal coaches after the game, Emery said: ‘Arteta was not on the bench. I shook hands with some people inside the tunnel as they were at the club when I was, but it’s nothing personal. I don’t have anything negative against Arsenal.’

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