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Arsenal 1 – Aston Villa 3: Benteke penalties sink Gunners (Video)

Aug 17, 2013, 12:05 PM EDT

Arsenal v Aston Villa - Premier League Getty Images

Arsenal scored early but defensive mistakes in the box cost them as Christian Benteke buried two penalties and gave Aston Villa a shock 3-1 win on the road at the Emirates.

Olivier Giroud began the scoring in just the 6th minute when Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain sprinted down the touchline before cutting back behind the defense and hitting Giroud who was free in the middle.  The French striker used just one touch to direction the ball perfectly to the far post past Brad Guzan.

Guzan barely escaped a chance for Arsenal to go 2 up when the American spilled the ball outside of the net, and it fell to Theo Walcott with an empty net but his cross to the front of goal found a Villa defender.

Christian Benteke then pulled Villa level when Wojciech Szczesny was forced to bring down Gabriel Agbonlahor in the box.  Agbonlahor shot a ball ahead through the defense, and trailing his touch all by himself, Szczseny had no choice.  Szczesny saved Benteke’s original penalty, but the ball came back to the Belgian and he headed in the rebound.  It was a superb performance by Agbonlahor on the day, who ran the thin Arsenal defense ragged.

Szczesny did exactly the same as Guzan before in the 36th minute, deciding to play as an outfield player outside of the box and almost allowed Villa to pull ahead, but the defenders held in time for the Polish keeper to make his way back and make a pretty-looking diving save.

Arsenal continued to build from Jack Wilshire in the midfield in the second half as the game got chippy.  Yellow cards began to fly, and Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny brought down Agbonlahor to give away a second penalty. Benteke buried this one for the lead. Arsenal will believe they’ve been harshly judged, as Koscielny went in hard but did get a foot on the ball before bringing Agbonlahor down.

Koscielny then had insult added to injury when he barely made contact with Andreas Weimann but the winger went down anyways and drew Koscielny’s second yellow.  Arsenal still managed to keep attacking. Santi Cazorla banged a 79th minute shot into the ground and it came up and ricocheted off the crossbar.  Bacary Sagna went down hard in added time, making Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger‘s headaches even worse for after the match.

When Arsenal threw everything forward, they continued to come close, but it bit them in the end as a counter fell to Antonio Luna who buried the one-on-one breakaway past Szczesny to secure the result on his club debut.

The Arsenal fans came down hard on Wenger at the end of the match, berating him for having made no moves so far in the transfer window.

Lineups

Arsenal: Wojciech Szczesny; Bacary Sagna (Lukas Podolski, 90′), Per Mertesacker, Laurent Koscielny, Kieran Gibbs (Carl Jenkinson, 28′); Tomas Rosicky, Jack Wilshire; Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Santi Cazorla, 45′), Aaron Ramsey; Olivier Giroud.

Aston Villa: Brad Guzan; Nathan Baker (Ciaran Clark, 17′), Ron Vlaar, Antonio Luna, Matthew Lowton; Karim El Ahmadi, Ashley Westwood, Fabian Delph; Andreas Weimann (Leandro Bacuna, 88′), Gabriel Agbonlahor, Christian Benteke.

Reaction

Arsene Wenger: “I didn’t like the spirit with which he [Anthony Taylor] refereed this game,” Wenger fumed. “That for me is the most worrying thing, more than the decisions he made. I was quite amazed how stubborn his behaviour was through the whole game. I was really amazed. I can’t fault the spirit of the team. Everything went against us. Injuries, decisions and we had a bit of bad luck.”

Wenger: “I want our fans to be happy and proud of their team and when we lost at home, I just have to be sorry.”

Villa captain Ron Vlaar: “I thought maybe I could have got a second yellow but I was standing there and I couldn’t just disappear out of nothing. It’s a little bit silly to get two yellows for obstruction and the second yellow for Laurent Koscielny, I don’t know if that was one. But it’s his [Taylor's] decision and that’s not the reason we won the game.”

  1. haniraheeb - Aug 17, 2013 at 12:26 PM

    How frustrating! The ref was garbage but our lack of depth is the real culprit.
    We know have no real CB with Kosc suspended and no DMF without Arteta. The real issue is that we missed out on all the good transfer targets and any buys at this point will be panic reactions by Wenger. His stubbornness is unbelievable.

  2. buzzerj - Aug 17, 2013 at 12:37 PM

    What is this hack writer talking about? Arsenal, Arsenal, Arsenal. Hey guy, Villa won the match. You didn’t even talk about Antonio Luna’s goal! He cemented the win in the 85th minute! He scored on a breakaway from an Arsenal corner and he is a left back! It was amazing and all you can talk about is Arsenal. It was a tough match on both sides. The Gunners controlled the ball most of the time and had their chances but Villa won. I grant you the second yellow on Koscielny didn’t appear to be deserved but that didn’t end up making the difference. Great win for Paul Lambert and Aston Villa! Tony Moon’s shot was priceless! Now Villa has a tough match on Wednesday at Chelsea. But this was an outright win! Poor Arsenal.

    • kirielson - Aug 17, 2013 at 1:45 PM

      It’s nothing to take away from Villa but this should have been a good win on the other way.

      With that being said, great job Villa for keeping Benteke, definately worth it.

      As for Arsenal, they’ll get Yohan and call it a day.

    • austin77007 - Aug 17, 2013 at 6:23 PM

      That game was controlled by the whistle not the players. Two penalties in the first game of the season that’s absurd!!! Even if you are an Aston Villa fan you have to admit the ref made it easy for them by giving two penalties and a undeserved red card. Go back and watch the youtube recording of the game and you will see before the first penalty was given the ref waited for the Aston Villa player to shoot the ball and miss before he whistled for a penalty kick to be given. You should now see where the first mistake by the ref was made. The ref played the advantage and gave the penalty that is poor judgement on his part. Second mistake was to even call a foul on the Koscielny tackle in the box was a clean tackle even the linesman did not waive for a penalty and he had a good view since he called for a corner. lol… The third goal however was a great goal for Luna’s debut in the Premier League! Any goal against Arsenal is a good goal! In conclusion, Aston Villa was handed the game on a silver platter by the referee and Arsene for not being able to sign quality players as he promised.

      • haniraheeb - Aug 18, 2013 at 1:29 AM

        I agree Austin, both PKs are highly questionable. The ref can either give a “play on” or call the foul, you can’t wait for the miss then give the PK. The second goal was a perfect tackle by Kosc, that’s why the linesman didn’t call it. To make matters worse the second yellow for Kosc was also a joke because he didn’t make any contact with the player who flew as if he was shot.

  3. navyeoddavee9 - Aug 17, 2013 at 1:46 PM

    How do you “bury” two penalties, when the first one is saved, and you score on the rebound, just asking?

  4. druzod007 - Aug 17, 2013 at 2:10 PM

    These writers with NBC Sports Talk are garbage! Errors all the time in various stories, also on the TV end! Took them 1:20 in second half to realize score was 1-1 not 0-0! Othen then that some bad calls but think AV deserved that win regardless.

  5. dagetawayman421 - Aug 17, 2013 at 2:16 PM

    Call me a bitter Arsenal fan, but I’m not taking anything away from Aston Villa. They took advantage of their opportunities and won the game. First goal was a great save by Szczesny and the rebound just bounced back to Benteke. Great opportunity for AV, lucky rebound given up by Szczesny. The second goal was… well, if you were watching, you saw Koscielny got spikes on the ball. And the stupid ref gave him a PK. Reason for the third goal was Arsenal was down to 10 men and sent too many guys into the box. AV had a great counter-attack and scored, but were the ref not royally screwing over Arsenal, that opportunity would not have presented itself. Like I said, AV took advantage of their opportunities and won the game. Rosicky would’ve had a great game, were he able to finish. He played like a man possessed, but couldn’t finish. On the other hand, Arsenal had so many opportunities to score before Benteke’s first goal. The other frustrating part is that the ref consistently refused to play advantage for Arsenal and many times shut down their attack, especially on the counter-attack.

    Long story short:
    AV did their job with the opportunities given, Arsenal did not, and the ref completely screwed over the gunners.

  6. Brian - Aug 17, 2013 at 3:31 PM

    It’s just not a Saturday without Gunners fans complaining about the refs.

    • kaleighwarren1989 - Aug 17, 2013 at 8:58 PM

      Did you even watch the game?

  7. NtrlDipMOtl - Aug 17, 2013 at 5:12 PM

    Wenger going to the media with complaints of officiating again….gtfo.admired him for a long time but sell rvp to a title rival,make no moves in the market, and act like a victim? Villa went hard and earned it today.

  8. NtrlDipMOtl - Aug 17, 2013 at 7:21 PM

    ^butthurt

  9. kaleighwarren1989 - Aug 17, 2013 at 9:13 PM

    Hey NBC! How about having an unbiased article? I mean the season just started and it is already apparent that Arsenal won’t be getting fair coverage from you guys. Your little preview to the season should have been the first sign to all Arsenal fans that NBC is not the place to watch an Arsenal game. If you’re going to have a show that is supposed to give a first time viewer an idea of what team they want cheer for then how about giving them some actual history? I hardly think it’s fair that the only thing someone watching your segment on Arsenal came away with is what Arsene wears to the games?

    I’m not going to say that Arsenal would’ve won today if not for the ref because we were poor and there is much to be fixed before we can compete with Man U or Chelsea but that doesn’t mean it’s okay for us to get completely screwed over by the refs. Anyone who actually watched the game would’ve been outraged if it was their team getting calls like that against them. Lets not bring up how Gibbs head was bashed open by a Villa player and the Villa player got nothing. No talking to, no yellow card, NOTHING! Then we get a second penalty for defending the ball. When is that ever a penalty? EVER? Koscielny got the ball! Let’s get real!!! Then he gets sent off.. SENT OFF.. for defending the ball. Weird right!!!! Oh and don’t forget Jack Wilshere getting held in the box by TWO Villa players which would be a penalty in any game. But not for us! I would love to see any fan in the EPL have their team screwed over like we were today and NOT complain about it. If you don’t complain about something like that then I have a hard time believing you’re truly a fan.

    Arsenal have to get better! We have to buy someone! We have to work harder. BUT the EPL needs to make sure that the people they put in charge of these matches are completely competent and today that was hardly the case.

    • haniraheeb - Aug 18, 2013 at 1:33 AM

      What do you expect, we are not ManU. We will not get these calls.

  10. Kyle Bonn - Aug 17, 2013 at 10:10 PM

    I love when fans of both sides complain about the article being biased towards the opponent. Makes me smile :)

  11. 1killa - Aug 18, 2013 at 10:35 AM

    Aston Villa took care of business plain and simple.Arsenal does what they do best do nothing and play the blame game.

  12. godsholytrousers - Aug 18, 2013 at 12:15 PM

    LOL at the Arsenal. Lose the home opener against Aston Villa and there is a “conspiracy” against the Gunners. You can’t make this stuff up. Maybe you should have kept RVP, or if you couldn’t afford to keep him, at least make sure he left the island. You’re manager complained that the official didn’t have the proper “spirit” to officiate the match? LOL After all of his complaining that the refs don’t protect the players enough. Keep the laughs coming Gunners, it is going to be a looooooooooooooooong season.

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