Benayoun header seals win for Gunners

Aston Villa 1 Arsenal 2

Aston Villa winger Marc Albrighton scored the 20,000th goal in the Premier League but a late header from Arsenal substitute Yossi Benayoun earned his side victory at Villa Park.

Albrighton's milestone effort came nine minutes into the second half after a mistake by Gunners defender Thomas Vermaelen.

Arsenal striker Robin van Persie had equalled Thierry Henry's club record of 34 for the most Premier League goals in a calendar year before Benayoun's 87th minute decider.

Villa defender Alan Hutton was sent off in injury-time for two bookable offences.

Villa have donated the 20,000 cheque from Barclays for the 20,000th goal to their official charity partner, the Acorns children's hospice.

The result was harsh for Alex McLeish's side, who produced their best home performance of the campaign, with Charles N'Zogbia having one of his more influential games.

But their inability to defend set pieces proved costly as Benayoun headed in a corner from Van Persie as Arsenal moved level on points with fifth placed Chelsea.

The home side were the first to threaten and it needed a fine save from Wojciech Szczesny to prevent Gabriel Agbonlahor giving them a sixth-minute lead.

N'Zogbia floated the ball in the Gunners box after a one-two with Marc Albrighton and Agbonlahor's header from close range was parried by Szczesny.

Villa looked more aggressive and committed than against Liverpool at the weekend

N'Zogbia was looking lively and got the better of Francis Coquelin before delivering a cross to the near post.

Agbonlahor was first to react but Aaron Ramsey got in an important block.

It was against the run of play when Van Persie put Arsenal ahead.

Clark tugged at the short of Theo Walcott inside the box and referee Jonathan Moss pointed to the penalty spot.

Up stepped Van Persie to hammer the spot kick into the roof of the net.

Walcott could have made it 2-0 after running onto Van Persie's pass.

But Brad Guzan was alert and raced out of his box to block the shot with his chest.

N'Zogbia was having one of his best games for Villa and he nutmegged Coquelin before sending him a teasing cross which eluded everyone.

Coquelin became the first player to be yellow carded after 28 minutes for a mis-timed challenge on N'Zogbia.

Ramsay should have done better in an Arsenal counter-attack when he shot well wide after a Van Persie flick on.

Clark was booked after 38 minutes for a foul on Mikel Arteta and then Per Mertesacker was yellow carded for checking the run of N'Zogbia.

Villa continued to do most of the pressing at the start of the second period.

Szczesny was forced into a hurried clearance under pressure from Albrighton.

When Arsenal counter-attacked Per Mertesacker failed to make proper contact on his shot from a Walcott cross.

But after 54 minutes a mistake by Vermaelen allowed Albrighton to score the 20,000th goal since the Premier League began nearly 20 years ago.

The Villa winger kept his cool before sliding the ball wide of Szczesny.

Arsenal retaliated instantly and Guzan produced a superb save to deny Mertesacker in a counter-attack.

They forced a string of corners in quick succession but Villa held firm.

Van Persie was booked after 78 minutes for diving in the Villa box.

Dunne produced another vital interception to block a shot from Rosicky and substitute Andrey Arshavin had a shot deflected over the bar.

But then Benayoun broke Villa's hearts as he was left with a free header inside the box from Van Persie's corner.

Hutton was booked for a foul on Van Persie and then sent off in injury-time for a second yellow card offence on Vermaelen.

Arts and Entertainment
Lou Reed distorted the truth about his upbringing, and since his death in 2013, biographers and memoirists have added to the myths
musicThe truth about Lou Reed's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths
News
people
News
Ed Miliband received a warm welcome in Chester
election 2015
Life and Style
Apple CEO Tim Cook announces the Apple Watch during an Apple special even
fashionIs the Apple Watch for you? Well, it depends if you want it for the fitness tech, or for the style
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

This human tragedy has been brewing for years

EU states can't say they were not warned
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

Women's sportswear

From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

Clinton's clothes

Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace