Report: Aston Villa 1-2 Arsenal
Yossi Benayoun followed up Red London’s supporting article about him on Sunday with a late winner in a dramatic affair with Aston Villa on Wednesday.
Arsenal looked to survive what is always a stern test at Villa Park and the Gunners somehow stole the lead on 17 minutes after Theo Walcott earned a blatant penalty-kick for the visitors.
Robin van Persie blasted home his 34th league goal of 2011 from the spot – equaling Thierry Henry’s club record in 2004 – before Wenger’s men went into the break having endured quite a fiery response from Alex McLeish’s men.
Villa continued to unsettle the Gunners when the match resumed and within 54 minutes, the pressure paid off as a long goal-kick from their goalkeeper tested an off-balance Thomas Vermaelen who sent a headed pass to Per Mertesacker for help.
Unfortunately, the German was slow to react and so Albrighton robbed possession and was free towards goal before beating a racing Szczesny.
Level again. Courtesy of defensive woes again.
The visitors battled to regain their lead while the home side were desperate to complete what would have been a dramatic comeback. With the growing desperation, Wenger sacrificed Frimpong – who had started in place of the suspended Song – for a more audacious Tomas Rosicky.
That change happened at the hour-mark but it would take more time for an impact. With ten minutes left, Arshavin and Benayoun were introduced at the expense of Gervinho and Ramsey.
The Russian had failed to grab his super-sub role emphatically on Sunday, but that is exactly what his Israeli teammate did as Benayoun popped up with a header onto a Van Persie corner-kick to score a vital winning goal for the Gunners with only three minutes of normal time left.