Arsenal 2-1 Aston Villa: Cazorla leaves it late to ease pressure on Wenger

Arsenal eased the pressure on Arsene Wenger as a Santi Cazorla double gave them their fourth win in five Premier League games against Aston Villa on Saturday.

The Spaniard had given the Gunners an early lead after five minutes, before Andreas Weimann equalised for the visitors mid-way through the second-half.

But Cazorla was at the ready to slot home with just minutes to go as the Gunners closed the gap on fourth-placed Tottenham to one point, extending Villa’s miserable run to just one win in 10 games.

Wenger made four changes from his side’s 3-1 humbling at the hands of Bayern Munich on Tuesday, with Nacho Monreal returning at left-back and Carl Jenkinson replacing the injured Bacary Sagna. Giroud was also re-installed to lead the line, while Abou Diaby came in for Aaron Ramsey.

The visitors, meanwhile, were still without skipper Ron Vlaar but welcomed Gabriel Agbonlahor back into the line-up as a left winger.

From the off, it was all Arsenal. The hosts controlled possession with palpable ease and created the first chance of the game after just two minutes, with Jack Wilshere forcing an early save from Brad Guzan.

And the Gunners did not have to wait long to open the scoring as Cazorla found possession minutes later, tucking away an easy finish at the second time of asking. Nathan Baker had blocked the Spaniard’s initial attempt at a cross but Cazorla showed no hesitation in reacting first to convert.

But Villa responded instantly, mustering their first chance of the game after nine minutes as Charles N’Zogbia fed Agbonlahor on the edge of the box, only for the 26-year-old to fire his shot straight at Wojciech Szczesny.

After the Gunners’ emphatic start, a cricket score had looked a possibility but Villa were the side looking more and more likely to score. Close to the half-hour mark, the visitors enjoyed their best chance yet as N’Zogbia was first denied by Szczesny before Andreas Weimann then had his shot cleared by Per Mertesacker.

Theo Walcott curled a left-footed shot over the bar minutes later, before Giroud was then denied by Guzan once again as half-time approached.

But while the Gunners were playing like a side chasing Champions League qualification, the visitors were counterattacking with the hunger typical of a side fighting for vital points to keep them in the Premier League.

And on 68 minutes, Villa made their sharpness on the break tell as Weimann ended a fantastic move with a strike from range – all of which started from an Arsenal corner. Szczesny could have done better between the sticks but it was the speed at which the visitors broke that really caught the home side off-guard.

With the equaliser came tension at the Emirates. The home crowd were anxious and Wenger knew they would settle for nothing less than a win.

The Frenchman responded by replacing Jenkinson with Lukas Podolski in an extremely attacking move. Yet it was Cazorla who again made the difference late on as the Spaniard found himself unmarked on the penalty spot after a Monreal cross to fire home the winner for his side.

One thought on “Arsenal 2-1 Aston Villa: Cazorla leaves it late to ease pressure on Wenger

  1. Okay FG your defensive 11 is very ntveaige when I think we can actually win. I don’t think we are good enough defensively to prevent good strikers from scoring so our best defence may actually be attacking. We have beaten Spurs and Chelsea in the past by scoring a lot more than they did. If we dominate possession and create chances, we will score. We tend to be not so good with teams that park the bus. The Spuds will not park the bus they will leave space for Walcott, Giroud and Poldi to exploit.They will be very wary of our attack and so probably resist the temptation to go all out attack the way the did against West Ham.What I do know is that I want a team that will fight to win the ball back. This season, Jack, Santi, Giroud and Coq (when he’s played) have been best at chasing the ball and closing the opponents down.Our best defensive performances have come when Poldi and Walcott have tracked back. We just need Jack or Arteta to do the same in the middle and we need Vermaelen to stay in his half and not leave Mert on his own against the speed of Bale. 3 0

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