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Arsenal 0-2 Aston Villa: Gabby Agbonlahor Exposes Brittle Arsenal

William CooperCorrespondent INovember 15, 2008

Gabriel Agbonlahor's late goal secured all three points for Aston Villa at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday, and dealt another blow to Arsenal's slim title hopes.

 

Villa took the lead on 70 minutes when an Ashley Young cross, aimed for Agbonlahor, was headed into his own net by Gael Clichy.

 

10 minutes later, while Arsenal were searching for an equaliser, Villa hit them on the break.

 

Aston Villa skipper, Martin Laursen, launched a long ball forward which Agbonlahor latched onto. The Villa striker eased past a flimsy Gallas challenge to rifle the ball into the bottom corner.

 

The Midlanders were in fine form after a string of disappointing results in the Premier League. Villa came out of the blocks quickly and could, perhaps should, have been one up in the first half.

 

Ashley Young was brought down by Theo Walcott in Arsenal's box, Mike Riley having no other option but to award a penalty to the visitors. Young stepped up for the ensuing penalty, but Almunia was equal to it and made a fine save.

Martin O'Neill's game plan was just about perfect on this occasion. Villa made full use of their pacey front men, Young and Agbonlahor, to hit Arsenal on the counter attack, time and time again.

Martin O'Neill said: "We were magnificent and the players were very strong mentally today. I thought we were brilliant because it was a case of the players staying strong, being positive and having a real belief that we could win.”

The result adds to Arsenal's woes this season, after a fantastic result over Manchester United last week, they have seemingly returned to their inconsistent selves and seem unlikely to mount any concerted title challenge this season.

O'Neill's Villa side continue to look likely to challenge for Champions League qualification come the end of the season, and are now on 23 points—level with Arsenal.

O'Neill re-emphasised Villa's belief that they can compete with the top teams like Arsenal, he said: “Today there was more than a great resilience about the side. We were absolutely majestic. We played wonderful football and deserved to win the game."

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