Aston Villa 2 v Arsenal 4

another away fixture and another away win, Arsene Wenger could be excused for wishing to play all of Arsenal’s fixtures away from the Emirates, but given their poor home form of late that impossible scenario may not be sounding too bad an idea to him.


Going into the clash at Villa Park the Gunners had the best away record the Premiership and after the lunchtime kick-off in the west Midlands, that statistic had not changed. Goals from Andrey Arshavin, Samir Nasri, Marouane Chamakh and a Jack Wilshere injury time header ensured Arsenal put their recent miserable streak to rest, but this being Arsenal, there was the customary nervous spell.


With the Gunners two goals to the good going into half time, we wondered if the events from last weekend’s north London derby were still on the Arsenal players’ minds. Seven minutes after the re-start, Ciaran Clark’s volley halved the deficit after Sebastien Squillaci’s week header failed to avert the Villa danger. However John Carew was not penalised for being clearly offside.


Arshavin had earlier capitalised on poor Villa defending for the opener on 39 minutes with Nasri’s ninth goal of the season – a superb volley from Arshavin’s corner on the stroke of half time – ensuring the Gunners’ early superior possession was rewarded. Then came that wobble. Robert Pires was making his first start for Villa but he was an ineffectual bystander as a toothless home side rarely mounted an attack. Gerrard Houllier replaced the former Arsenal favourite with Nathan Delfouneso and the injection of pace transformed a hitherto lack lustre Villa.


But four minutes Clarke celebrated his first strike, Chamakh raced onto a through pass from Tomas Rocicky and as Brad Friedel surged off his line, the Morocco forward stretched to connect for his eleventh goal of the season. And that seemed to be that. However with the menace of the lively Ashley Young of the right, Villa came again. Once again, it was the inabilty to clear their defensive lines that led the home side to begin to believe. David Dunne was allowed to head Young’s corner towards Clark who netted in off the bar with for a 3-2 scoreline with 20 minutes still remaining . Both Laurent Koscielny and Squillaci will need to improve if the Gunners are not to continue to concede this type of goal.


Wenger sent on Kieran Gibbs and Denilson for Nasri and Arshavin, as Villa tried to get the leveller. With three minutes of the four given for time added on however, another slick passing move gave Jack Wilshere his first Premiership goal with a diving header from Chamakh’s cross and another happy away day.