There was better news for the Gunners on Sunday after their infuriating draw against Norwich.
Two former Arsenal players exerted equal and opposing influences on Spurs performance against Villa. Ciaran Clark's shot deflected off William Gallas's head to balloon past Brad Friedel as Villa went ahead. Alex McLeish took out his match notes to check off that play exactly the way he planned.
A Spurs loss to Villa could mean Arsenal could potentially escape with a draw against West Brom in their last match and book their entry (depending on goal difference) to next season's Champions League as the third place team even if their rivals won their last match against Fulham. Emmanuel Adebayor's penalty spot conversion leave Arsenal without that luxury if Spurs win at White Hart.
Spurs played a man down after Danny Rose received a red card for a two footed tackle on former Spurs player Alan Hutton.
The scramble for third is understandable given the fact Chelsea if they win at Allianz Arena (and this as good a time to say never say never) will get one of the CL spots as the champions. Which leaves the Premiership in a state of flux with neither the title decided and a four way fight for third spot with Arsenal, Spurs, Newcastle, and even sixth placed Chelsea in with a good chance.
Locking third is essential for Arsenal otherwise they could run the risk of being blindsided on 19th May. The Gunners swoon comes at a terrible time.