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.

News
A model of a Neanderthal man on display at the National Museum of Prehistory in Dordogne, France
science
News
Richard Dawkins dedicated his book 'The Greatest Show on Earth' to Josh Timonen
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
Extras
indybest
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
Dinosaurs Unleashed at the Eden Project
travel
Arts and Entertainment
music
Sport
football
Life and Style
This month marks the 20th anniversary of the first online sale
techDespite a host of other online auction sites and fierce competition from Amazon, eBay is still the most popular e-commerce site in the UK
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
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

Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

eBay's enduring appeal

The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
7 best quadcopters and drones

Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home