Aston Villa 1-2 Arsenal: Huge win sets up potentially bountiful Christmas
Thursday, 22nd Dec 2011 19:46
We rarely lose at Villa Park but we have also endured two dour draws there in our most recent visits so a packed Arsenal section revelled in Yossi Benayoun’s 87th minute winner last night. It was a barely deserved victory but we should have had greater reward for our commendable efforts at Manchester City on Sunday.
The impact of our commitment to the game in Manchester was clear to see as a lacklustre display saw us stuck in second gear until Rosicky, Arshavin and Benayoun all came on to help maintain possession in the opposition half and build pressure on an Aston Villa defence bereft of confidence.
Before their arrival we were stretched by Villa but still managed to take the lead early in the game against the run of play when Theo Walcott brilliantly burst into the Villa area with a sharp Cruyff turn before being pulled back. It was a clear penalty and Robin van Persie emphatically blasted the ball home with an unstoppable shot into the top corner. He has an incredible ability to hit the ball slightly harder than is strictly necessary and his goal takes him level with Thierry Henry on a club record 34 goals in the calendar year.
The goal did not hinder Aston Villa though as they bucked their recent form by dominating proceedings. They grabbed an equaliser early in the second half after a mix up between Vermaelen and Mertesacker allowed Albrighton to steal in and finish past the otherwise impenetrable Szczesny.
We needed a response but Ramsey, Gervinho and Walcott all looked tired and Frimpong was out of his depth at times. Many Arsenal fans were calling for the Ox but instead Wenger turned to three more experienced heads and the popular Benayoun snuck in to poke home a header from van Persie’s superb corner with only 3 minutes left. It was the only time in the game where we had gained any momentum and the successful use of his substitutes will give Wenger hope that we have enough strength in depth to pick up 12 points in under a fortnight over the festive period.
Photo: Action Images
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