LONDON: Son Heung-min’s stoppage time goal gave Tottenham a last-gasp 3-2 victory at struggling Aston Villa which was perfect preparation for their Champions League duel with RB Leipzig on Wednesday.
Jose Mourinho’s side thus overtook Sheffield United and are now a point behind fourth-placed Chelsea, who have a game in hand.
Villa, who remain a point above the bottom three in 17th, made the stronger start and took the lead via Toby Alderweireld’s own goal – with the Spurs defender prodding Anwar El Ghazi’s cross past goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.
The Belgian atoned for his error by equalising with a superb angled effort that flew into the top right corner of the Villa goal from 10 yards.
Spurs, who always looked dangerous in attack, went in front when Steven Bergwijn won a penalty after being fouled by home defender Bjorn Engels.
Son’s initial spot-kick was saved by Villa goalkeeper Pepe Reina, but the South Korean forward followed up to score and become the first Asian player to reach 50 Premier League goals.
The hosts responded after the break with Engels heading in from a Jack Grealish corner to level the scores.
However, another Engels mistake allowed Son to race clear late on to place the ball past Reina as Villa’s miserable run against sides in the top half of the table continued.
Mourinho said: “I thought we deserved to win but I think they did not deserve to lose. Villa played to win.”
At last, for Arsenal, a win. Four draws had pushed the Gunners deep into midtable so the Gunners’ 4-0 defeat of Newcastle was an immense relief for rookie manager Mikel Arteta. It was only their second win in nine games under Pep Guardiola’s former Manchester City No2.
Arsenal improved after the interval following a goalless first half. Ceballos and Mesut Ozil combined to set up a chance for Eddie Nketiah who shot high over the bar from close range. Ozil was then at the start of the 54th-minute move which ended in Aubameyang heading his 15th goal of the season from Pepe’s right-wing cross.
Two minutes later and Pepe claimed his fourth league goal from Bukayo Saka’s left-wing assist. At last the Ivory Coast winger as beginning to repay the £72m outlay which Arsenal paid Lille last summer.
Arsenal edged up one place to 10th – albeit still seven points adrift of fourth place – after a late frenzy brought Ozil’s first league goal in 10 months and another for substitute Alexandre Lacazette.