Game #5095

Season | 2009-10 |

Matchday | #24 |
League Game | #19 |
Premier League Match-week | #19 |  
Manager Game | #162 |
Sunday, 27 December 2009
Premier League | Away | Arsenal | Emirates Stadium | 60,056 | 

Game Summary

Manager | Martin O’Neill |

KO | 13.30 |
Referee | Phil Dowd | 
HT Score | 0-0 |

FT Score | 0-3 |
FT Result | Lost |

Last 5 Games | WWWWL | 

League Position | 6th | -2 |

Line Up |

GK Brad Friedel |
LB Stephen Warnock |
CB Carlos Cuéllar |
BOOKED | 76' |
CB Richard Dunne |
RB Luke Young |
M Stiliyan Petrov |
W Ashley Young |
BOOKED | 55' | SUB OFF | 76' |
W James Milner |
W Stewart Downing |
F Gabby Agbonlahor |
CF Emile Heskey |
SUB OFF | 63' |

Substitutes |

CF John Carew for CF Emile Heskey | 63’ | 

M Fabian Delph BOOKED | 90' | for W Ashley Young | 76’ |

Unused Substitutes |

RB Habib Beye
M Steve Sidwell
GK Brad Guzan
M Nigel Reo-Coker
CB James Collins

Cards |

 Yellow | Ashley Young | 55’ |

 Yellow | Carlos Cuéllar | 76’ |

 Yellow | Fabian Delph | 90’ |

Team Stats |

Starting XI Average Age | 28.68 | 

Oldest Player | GK Brad Friedel | 38.64 |

Youngest Player | F Gabby Agbonlahor | 23.22 |

Unavailable |

Injury |

CB Curtis Davies | 

Match Stats |

Possession F | 38
Possession A | 62
Shots F | 7
Shots A | 19
Shots on Target F | 3
Shots on Target A | 12
Corners F | 4
Corners A | 10
Fouls F | 18
Fouls A | 14

Match Report

BBC Sport

Sunday, 27 December 2009

*Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas came off the bench to inspire his side to a victory over Aston Villa.*

Fabregas picked himself up after being fouled by Richard Dunne and curled in a 25-yard free-kick with aplomb.

The goal came after Villa keeper Brad Friedel had denied William Gallas from point-blank range and kept out an Andrey Arshavin shot.

A first-time finish from Fabregas after a Theo Walcott pass and an Abou Diaby strike wrapped up the win for Arsenal.

Fabregas had started as a substitute because of a hamstring problem and was brought on after 57 minutes to give his side extra impetus in beating a stubborn Villa side.

The move paid off for manager Arsene Wenger but he will be concerned that his skipper aggravated his injury in sprinting on to Walcott’s ideally weighted pass and had to be replaced on 84 minutes.

However, the victory moved the Gunners to within four points of Premier League leaders Chelsea with a game in hand over their London rivals.

Villa had already beaten Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United so far this season to show encouraging signs that they are mentally tougher and have a stronger squad to avoid the same collapse as last season in the chase for a top four place.

Their credentials for another top four assault were under the microscope at the Emirates and they were found wanting ahead of another stern test of their resolve and depth when they play Liverpool on Tuesday.

Prior to the introduction of Fabregas, the game had proved an intriguing and tight contest after Arsenal missed the chance to take an early lead with Villa caught cold.

Diaby forced his way past Stephen Warnock and laid the ball to Eduardo, who turned Dunne for a clear sight of goal only to strike a tame effort straight at keeper Friedel.

Denilson powered a 25-yard shot over the Villa goal but the visitors had heeded the warning signs and quickly raised their game.

Villa adopted the same strategy which helped them impressively beat the Gunners at the Emirates last season as they soaked up pressure and played on the counter-attack.

The pace of Ashley Young and Gabriel Agbonlahor, the midfield energy of James Milner and aerial strength of Emile Heskey was key to Villa’s tactics.

But a wary Arsenal were wise to the Villa ploy and a Young strike looping over the bar after a deflection off Alexandre Song was a rare threat on their goal.

Villa’s defence was aiming for a fifth clean sheet and looked sturdy enough before they had some scares as Arsenal upped their intensity and urgency as they started to dominate.

Gallas came close for the home side when he tried to turn in an Eduardo knock-down but Friedel blocked and Carlos Cuellar cleared and Friedel again foiled Arsenal by saving an Arshavin shot.

Villa finally buckled when Dunne fouled Fabregas, who rewarded Arsenal’s pressure when he sent a free-kick over the Villa wall and into the top corner.

Armand Tarore’s sweeping pass found Walcott on the right flank and he set up Fabregas for the second as Villa found Arsenal too hot to handle.

And Diaby added the gloss to the win when he ran at a retreating Villa defence and found the bottom corner with a precise strike past the despairing dive of Friedel.

*Aston Villa boss Martin O’Neill:*

“You can draw all sorts of conclusions from just one game and we have to look at the bigger picture.

“If there is anything to learn from the game we will try to do it and have just to keep going ourselves.

“We are up there in the league because we deserve to be. Now it is down to us to see if we can maintain the form which put us there in the first place.”