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Arsenal return to the top of the Premier League

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Arsenal survived a late Aston Villa fightback to win 2-1, and catapult themselves back to the top of the Premier League table.

Two goals within a minute of each other from Jack Wilshere and Olivier Giroud respectively ensured that the Gunners overcame an Aston Villa side who became inspired by Christian Benteke's second half headed goal. 

Arsenal dominated the opening stages of the match, with German youngster Serge Gnabry particularly prominent in their good play, eclipsing his fellow countryman Mesut Ozil.

Right-back Bacary Sagna was also a threat, using the space he was given to send in some dangerous crosses.

Aston Villa were struggling to cope with Arsenal's passing and movement, and their problems worsened when midfielder Nathan Baker was forced off with concussion after a Serge Gnabry shot hit him in the face.

The opening goal for Arsenal seemed inevitable, and it came in the 34th minute when Ozil sprung into life and playing in left back Nacho Monreal with a beautiful pass, who cut the ball back for Wilshere to finish well.

Villa were in a state of disarray, and were punished again immediately. After losing the ball just after kick off, the impressive Wilshere released Giroud with a clinical pass, before the French striker finished with a powerful shot.

With Arsenal seemingly cruising, the second half looked like a formality for them. Whilst Villa came out of the dressing room with more purpose, they still looked to be second best, with the Gunners looking more composed and experienced.

However, this changed in the 76th minute, with Benteke's scoring his first goal since September. A fantastic cross from right back Matthew Lowton gave the big Belgian a free header from 5 yards, with Benteke making no mistake with the finish.

This set up an enthralling finish, with Aston Villa playing with newfound vigour and energy. Per Mertesacker had to be alert to deny Andreas Weimann with a headed clearance on his own goal line, whilst  Benteke appeared revitalised and was a constant menace following his goal.

Arsenal were still dangerous on the counter attack, with Giroud just failing to pick out Ozil in a promising position during the six minutes of stoppage time allocated. And towards the end they kept the ball near the corner flag to run time down and secure a victory which required grit and flair in equal measure, and ensured they returned to the top of the Premier League

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Topics:
Aston Villa
Premier League
Arsenal
Football

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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