Feb 23, 2013 at 3pm UK at ​Emirates Stadium
Aston Villa
Cazorla (6', 85')
Diaby (37')
FT(HT: 1-0)
Weimann (68')
Lowton (36'), Delph (66')

Live Commentary: Arsenal 2-1 Aston Villa - as it happened

Live Commentary: Arsenal 2-1 Villa - as it happened
© PA Photos
Sports Mole brings you live coverage of the Premier League encounter between Arsenal and Aston Villa at the Emirates Stadium.

Arsenal hosted Aston Villa at the Emirates Stadium this afternoon in a game that was a must-win encounter for both sides.

The two sides drew 0-0 in the reverse fixture in the Midlands earlier this season, but a Santi Cazorla brace gave the Gunners a late win at the Emirates today.

Read how it all unfolded in our minute-by minute live commentary below.

2.11pmHello and welcome to Sports Mole's live coverage of Arsenal against Aston Villa in the Premier League from the Emirates Stadium.

2.11pmIt's fair to say that neither side has had too much to shout about this year. Arsenal look likely to end another season without any silverware, while Villa are battling to maintain their place in England's top flight.

2.12pmHowever, both sides could change their fortunes with a win today.

2.13pmRight, who is ready for some fresh team news? Okay here we go then.

2.13pmWe start with the hosts...

2.14pmARSENAL XI: Szczesny, Jenkinson, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Monreal, Arteta, Diaby, Wilshere, Walcott, Giroud, Cazorla.

2.15pmSo Nacho Monreal is back in, having been ineligible for the Champions League during the week. Vermaelen moves into the centre of defence to partner Mertesacker while Carl Jenkinson comes in for the injured Bacary Sagna.

2.16pmIt also looks as if Giroud will start up front, with Walcott and Cazorla on the flanks. That leaves a midfield trio of Wilshere, Arteta and Diaby.

2.16pmIt's a strong hand from Monsieur Wenger. Now here are the substitutes for the Gunners.

2.17pmARSENAL BENCH: Mannone, Koscielny, Rosicky, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ramsey, Gervinho, Podolski.

2.18pmWow, that's quite a subs' bench as well for the hosts. Ramsey, Koscielny and Podolski drop out of the side that lost to Bayern during the week while Rosicky, Chamberlain and Gervinho make up the outfield segment of the Arsenal bench.

2.19pmThank you for your patience Villa fans, we now move on to your starting lineup.

2.20pmASTON VILLA XI: Guzan, Lowton, Clark, Baker, Bennett, Westwood, Delph, Agbonlahor, Weimann, N'Zogbia, Benteke.

2.24pmSo Bennett and Agbonlahor come into the starting lineup, having missed out during the win over West Ham. Vlaar and Bowery drop out of Paul Lambert's team.

2.26pmAnd here is the bench for the Villans.

2.27pmASTON VILLA BENCH: Marshall, El Ahmadi, Holman, Sylla, Bowery, Dawkins, Lichaj.

2.27pmAgain, it's another very young Villa side, but credit to the club for sticking with Lambert and helping develop the players during a troubled time.

2.29pmEarlier this season, these two sides endured an incredibly boring 0-0 draw at Villa Park. You can read the match report for that game HERE.

2.31pmI pray to God that we do not have a game like that today.

2.32pmAnyway, here is what happened the last time Villa made the trip to the red side of North London.

2.33pmEasy for Arsenal last time then, here is a classic moment between the two sides. I'm sure many Gooners will remember this.

2.40pmArsene Wenger: "We're ready to give everything for those three points today. Let's put ourselves back on a positive run, and remind ourselves that we have won - and kept clean sheets - in our last two Premier League games."

2.42pmREFEREE WATCH: Today's man in black is Martin Atkinson.

2.43pmKEY STAT: Should we go into the break goalless, don't get too down about it as 13 of the last 16 goals Arsenal have scored have been in the second half of matches.

2.46pmRight, time for some head-to-head stats. These two have played each other 167 times in league clashes. Arsenal have come out on top in 68 of those matches, while Villa have claimed victory in 60 games. They have drawn just 39 of those meetings.

2.48pmVilla aren't too bad at the Emirates by the way. They have claimed two victories since Arsenal moved to their new home in their seven meetings.

2.49pmThey were also the first team to face Arsenal in a competitive game at the ground in 2006, when they drew 1-1. A late Gilberto Silva equaliser cancelled out an Olof Mellberg opener.

2.49pmThat was also the game where Theo Walcott made his Arsenal debut. What a memory eh!

2.50pmRESULT: Today's first full-time result from the Premier League has come at Craven Cottage, where Fulham have beaten Stoke City 1-0 thanks to an absolutely stunning volley from Dimitar Berbatov.

2.51pmWe have just 10 minutes until kickoff!

2.58pmThe two sides are out at the Emirates.

3pmSo Arsenal will kick off and have their red and white shirts, with white shorts and white socks. They will start this match kicking from left to right.

3pmVilla are wearing their lime green away shirts with black shorts and socks. They are playing from right to left in this first half.

3pmAnd we're off...

1 minThe home fans are in fine voice at the start of this match, and Villa haven't really touched the ball yet.

3 minCHANCE! Arsenal have the first chance of the afternoon, as Jack Wilshere is played in down the left-hand side. He is being tracked well by the defender but has Walcott unmarked in the box to his right. However, Wilshere runs out of time for the pass and is forced to shot, but his effort is well stopped by the onrushing Guzan, and is then cleared away.

3 minCHANCE! Arsenal have the first chance of the afternoon, as Jack Wilshere is played in down the left-hand side. He is being tracked well by the defender but has Walcott unmarked in the box to his right. However, Wilshere runs out of time for the pass and is forced to shot, but his effort is well stopped by the onrushing Guzan, and is then cleared away.

5 minGOAL! Arsenal 1-0 Aston Villa (Cazorla)

6 minWell that didn't take long. The Gunners once again went on the attack and the ball landed at the feet of Cazorla on the left on the box. His first shot was blocked before the ball fell back to him, and he hammered it through two sets of Villa legs and past Guzan to give Arsenal the lead. Arsene Wenger is justifiably delighted with the goal.

8 minIt is still all Arsenal here, Villa had a rare spell of possession in the Gunners' half, yet it came to nothing.

10 minCHANCE! As I say that, Agbonlahor picks up the ball on the edge of the box an gets a shot away which forces Szczesny into action. He punches the ball away.

11 minThat goal, by the way, was Cazorla's 10th of the season.

12 minDespite the goal, Arsenal still seem nervy in this match. Villa will have chances today I feel. I don't expect this game to end 1-0 either.

14 minNearly a chance for Arsenal as Cazorla pings a beautiful pass into the path of Walcott from the halfway line. Walcott keeps it in play at the byeline, but his cross fails to find Giroud.

16 minArsenal are now starting to take control of this match but Villa are looking dangerous on the break with the pace of Agbonlahor and N'Zogbia.

18 minAgbonlahor is receiving treatment at the moment after going down. No real chances for either side since the goal. Not too much to report.

19 minThe Villa fans do their usual applause for Petrov.

23 minYou can sense that the atmosphere is tense at the Emirates. Arsenal are not helping themselves by giving the ball away, but they still lead.

24 minUPDATE Only one other goal in the Premier League so far today and it has come at Loftus Road as Rafael da Silva has given Manchester United the lead against Queens Park Rangers.

25 minCHANCE! Villa again hit Arsenal on the break and come so close to grabbing an equaliser. Weimann races down the right before playing the ball back to N'Zogbia who slams an effort towards the corner but is denied by a fine Szczesny save. A goalmouth scramble is then frantically cleared by the Gunners backline.

26 minVilla are good value for a leveller at the moment. They have so much pace on the break and are really troubling Arsenal.

27 minArsenal can't get out of their half at the moment, Villa are playing really well.

28 minThat there was a typical example of how this half has panned out. Arsenal floating around the Villa box for what seems an age, before losing the ball and being hit on the break. Vermaelen was on hand to make a great challenge though.

30 minCHANCE! Theo Walcott comes fractions away from doubling the Gunners' lead. Abou Diaby bursts forward for Arsenal and plays a one-two with Mikel Arteta before laying off Walcott on the right of the box. He cuts onto his left foot and curls his effort just past the far top corner of the net.

32 minCarl Jenkinson makes a superb challenge on Agbonlahor before racing away downfield to create an Arsenal attack. It comes to nothing, but Jenkinson deserved some credit there.

33 minMonreal ends up with the ball on the left side of the area after a nice passing attack from Arsenal, but he is forced to play the shot on his right foot and the tame effort rolls into the path of Guzan. Easy.

36 minYELLOW CARD: It's a silly booking for Abou Diaby who, after losing the ball, slices Charles N'Zogbia in half to pick up the game's first caution. Silly move from the Frenchman.

37 minUPDATE: There has been a goal at The Hawthorns where a Romelu Lukaku penalty has given West Bromwich Albion the lead over Sunderland.

38 minThis match has taken a turn for the worst in the last few minutes, it is getting really scrappy out there now.

40 minCHANCE! Arsenal are nearly in with Giroud, but his effort from the left is well stopped by Guzan.

43 minEnd-to-end stuff here at the moment. Villa break with Weimann after an Arsenal attack, but Jenkinson is on hand to make a brilliant challenge before Wilshere races away for another Gunners attack. Arteta and Giroud both have shots blocked before the danger is cleared. Good defending from both teams.

44 minIt's a fast and frantic finish to this first half.

45 minTwo minutes of added time has been shown here.

45+1 minVilla win a free kick after a late Wilshere foul on Bennett. Chance for the visitors to get the ball into the box.

45+2 minWestwood floats the ball into the box, but Arsenal manage to clear, not once, but twice. That should be it for this half.

45+2 minHALF TIME: Arsenal 1-0 Aston Villa

3.48pmSo plenty of chances for both sides in that first half, but so far only Cazorla's fifth-minute strike has found the back of the net as Arsenal go into the break in front.

3.49pmThere simply has to be more goals in this match, I'm amazed that with this tempo there has only been one goal.

4pmHere are some half-time statistics for you.
Arsenal 12-3 Villa
On Target:
Arsenal 3-2 Villa
Arsenal 6-6 Villa
Duels Won:
Arsenal 55%-45% Villa
Pass Accuracy:
Arsenal 89%-86% Villa
Arsenal 58%-42% Villa

4.02pmThe teams are back out at the Emirates. Villa to start this second half.

46 minNo changes from either side at the break. Arsenal are playing to the left this half, Villa shooting to the right.

47 minArsenal announce that 60,079 tickets were sold for this match. There does not seem as many as that in the stands today.

48 minCHANCE! Villa twice come close from successive corner. Szczesny is forced into a save from the first one before Ciaran Clark heads a great chance over from the second.

49 minCHANCE! Now it's Arsenal's turn to have a double chance and both fall to Giroud. The Frenchman is inches away from connecting with Walcott's cross from the right. Monreal then makes a brilliant challenge to win back possession by the corner flag and swings a ball into Giroud, who cannot quite guide it towards goal.

50 minCHANCE! Giroud again misses another chance for Arsenal. A lovely flowing move sees him played through on the left side of the box, but he swings a leg at the ball and slices it well wide and over the net. He should have squared that to Wilshere in the middle then, a real waste. Arsenal need to double their lead sooner rather than later if they are to rid themselves of these nerves.

51 minThey may be producing some brilliant link-up play, but Arsenal need to take one of these chances.

56 minCHANCE! After a few half-chances for Arsenal that were let down because of a poor final ball, Cazorla tests Guzan for the first time in a while. He works the ball down the left, stepovers and all, but his effort is weak and towards the near corner of the goal.

57 minAs things stand by the way, Villa will be slipping into the relegation zone tonight.

59 minI've lost count of how many corners Arsenal have had in this second half. None of them have led to a goal though. Still 1-0.

60 minIt looks as if Aaron Ramsey is coming on shortly for Arsenal.

61 minARSENAL SUBSTITUTION: Abou Diaby heads straight down the tunnel and is replaced by Ramsey. Arsene Wenger will be praying that the Frenchman isn't too seriously injured once again.

62 minFollowing that change, none of Arsenal's outfield players are currently wearing gloves. Just in case you wanted to know.

63 minAaron Ramsey wins a free kick about 30 yards out from goal. It's a similar position to where Arteta hit his free kick from in this fixture last year, but it's Cazorla who takes this one and fires it into the wall.

65 minVilla can finally take a breather after Arsenal seemingly camp in their box. The Gunners create several chances with Giroud and Walcott both having a go, but the away side manage to deal with them all. Patient stuff from the Gunners.

66 minYELLOW CARD: Fabian Delph is shown a yellow after a late challenge on Jack Wilshere.

67 minThe free kick is cleared away by Villa. I can't remember the last time the ball was in the Arsenal half, Szczesny must be a very lonely figure.

68 minGOAL! Arsenal 1-1 Aston Villa (Andreas Weimann)

69 minIt's a sucker punch from Villa, who break downfield following an Arsenal corner. The away side have the numbers advantage, but Weimann opts to go alone and smashes an effort through Szczesny and into the back of the net. The keeper should have done better there, but it is now level at the Emirates.

70 minApologies to any Gunners fans who believe that I jinxed them.

70 minWenger is furious on the touchline, his side have not taken their chances today and it has come back to bite them. They have had plenty of warnings with Villa on the counter-attack as well.

71 minOne thing is for sure, we have a very interesting last 20 minutes upon us at the Emirates.

72 minASTON VILLA SUBSTITUTION: Ashley Westwood is making way for Karim El Ahmadi. Straight swap in midfield from Paul Lambert, no change in formation.

73 minCHANCE! Per Mertesacker makes a very important block from a Weimann cross with Benteke lurking at the far post. The German nods it behind for a corner, which in the end comes to nothing.

74 minLukas Podolski looks as if he is going to come on shortly.

76 minARSENAL SUBSTITUTION: Carl Jenkinson is the man to make way as Lukas Podolski come on for the final 15 minutes. Arsenal maybe going for three at the back now? Who knows.

77 minCHANCE! It's easy for Brad Guzan, as Giroud's low strike is hit straight at the American.

80 minArsenal have another corner as Walcott's cross is headed behind by Bennett.

80 minIt comes to nothing, but guess what... Arsenal have ANOTHER corner.

81 minOFF THE BAR! What a chance for Arsenal. Walcott delivers the corner from the left and Giroud connects with the head, but Guzan manages to tip it onto the crossbar and out for another corner. Although the second corner comes to nothing.

82 minASTON VILLA SUBSTITUTIONS: Charles N'Zogbia is replaced by Simon Dawkins, who is on loan from Spurs.

83 minCHANCE! Huge sigh of relief from Villa fans. Cazorla drills in a wonderful low cross, and Dawkins somehow managers to avoid scoring an own goal and put it out for a corner.

84 minGOAL! Arsenal 2-1 Aston Villa (Santi Cazorla)

85 minWow, a sigh of relief cascades around the Emirates and it had been coming. Lovely build-up from Arsenal led to Wilshere chipping in Monreal down the left of the box. He pulled the ball back for fellow Spaniard Cazorla to side-foot in his and Arsenal's second of the match.

86 minThat goal came just minutes after Podolski was inches away from getting a touch from a Walcott cross that would have hit the back of the net.

88 minTwo minutes of normal time to go. Can Arsenal hold on for a second time?

89 minKoscielny looks likely to come on for Arsenal.

89 minVilla need to find another leveller, otherwise they will be in the bottom three this evening. Don't rule it out either.

90 minCHANCE! Walcott wriggles down the right and blasts a low effort at Guzan, but Villa can scramble away the rebound.

90 minThere will be four added minutes at the end of the match.

90+1 minARSENAL SUBSTITUTION: Final change from Wenger, as Theo Walcott is sacrificed for Laurent Koscielny. Arsenal have four defenders once again.

90+2 minThe atmosphere is one of anxiety at the Emirates.

90+3 minArsenal are so close now.

90+5 minFULL-TIME: Arsenal 2-1 Aston Villa

4.53pmIt's all over at the Emirates, and Arsenal left it late, but Santi Cazorla has earned them a 2-1 win over Aston Villa.

4.54 pmFive minutes into the game, and five minutes from the end of it, Santi Cazorla found the back of the net and gets Arsenal back on track after a difficult week. Villa will be gutted and they played so well, but in the end Arsenal got the winner that they deserved.

4.56pmYou can read the match report of this game here.

4.57pmThat's all from me then. Stay alert for my analysis piece on the match that will appear on the site shortly. But for now, enjoy your evening and goodbye.

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