After being swept aside by West Ham United just a matter of days ago, Aston Villa needed to respond.
They have been superb this term but fortunately, that result against the Hammers was a mere blip in their progress.
It may have come about in fortunate circumstances but they bounced back well against Arsenal on Saturday. They were titanic in their defending, aggressive in midfield and clinical in the final third.
Ollie Watkins profited from some lacklustre Gunners defending to score the only goal as the Villans’ backline taught Mikel Arteta’s team a lesson in how to defend.
This had the potential to be a tricky fixture for Villa. Arsenal have been playing some wonderful free-flowing football of late after their upturn in results since the start of the calendar year, but they managed to stifle their vibrant attack.
A large part of that was down to Tyrone Mings. Watkins may have scored the goal but it was the centre-back who stole the show, stopping some moments that could have been game-changing for the visitors.
In either half, he made some timely blocks and interceptions, two of which immediately spring to mind. Alexandre Lacazette was surging towards the penalty area with Bukayo Saka in acres of space to his left but Mings stepped forward and made a pivotal interception to cut out the pass.
Then in the second half, he made an even more important block. Emile Smith Rowe danced through a few Villa players before unleashing a shot towards goal from just inside the area. However, Mings got across quickly to throw his body in the way.
Those were two moments that epitomised a dominant display from the centre-half. When Arsenal came forward, he was often the man in the way.
Such was the defender’s impeccable display that Lacazette endured a day to forget. The Frenchman has racked up four goals and three assists in his last six outings on the road but he failed to have any positive influence on the Arsenal attack.
The striker didn’t have a single shot on Saturday and also failed to have a touch in the penalty area. Aston Villa had Mings to thank for that as he put in a monstrous performance that should have had England boss Gareth Southgate standing up and taking note.
He did everything to near perfection for Dean Smith’s side on Saturday.