Aston Villa 2-2 Arsenal: Gunners Drop Two More Points at Villa Park

Martin BentleyCorrespondent IDecember 26, 2008

Despite goals from Denilson and Abou Diaby, Arsenal failed to hold on to their lead, and a penalty from Gareth Barry and a last minute equaliser from Zat Knight saw Aston Villa rescue a point at Villa Park.

Villa hit the woodwork three times in the first half and dominated the first 45 minutes, but it was Arsenal who went into the break ahead, after Denilson slotted home on 40 minutes.

Diaby added to Arsenal's lead on 49 minutes with a great link-up with Emmanuel Eboue, but the main talking point came on 66 minutes, as William Gallas was adjudged to have brought down Gabriel Agbonlahor in the penalty area, despite the linesman giving it when he was blinded from the ball. Regardless of whether it was a penalty, Barry put the spot kick away confidently.

Villa took control of the game from then on, and in stoppage time, Villa outnumbered Arsenal in the visitors' penalty area, and the ball fell to Knight to give Villa a point that keeps them above their opponents in fourth place and the final Champions League place.

On the evidence of today's game, if Arsenal are to claim that spot, they will have to work very hard to get it off Villa. The title is certainly gone, with Liverpool now 10 points clear.