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.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Powdered colors are displayed for sale at a market ahead of the Holi festival in Bhopal, India
techHere's what you need to know about the riotous occasion
Arts and Entertainment
Larry David and Rosie Perez in ‘Fish in the Dark’
theatreReview: Had Fish in the Dark been penned by a civilian it would have barely got a reading, let alone £10m advance sales
News
Details of the self-cleaning coating were published last night in the journal Science
science
News
Approved Food sell products past their sell-by dates at discounted prices
i100
News
Life-changing: Simone de Beauvoir in 1947, two years before she wrote 'The Second Sex', credited as the starting point of second wave feminism
peopleHer seminal feminist polemic, The Second Sex, has been published in short-form to mark International Women's Day
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

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable