Benteke double sinks Arsenal, Mignolet lifts Liverpool

Reuters, Saturday 17 Aug 2013

Arsenal lose to Aston Villa 3-1 in the English Premier League opener on Saturday

Aston Villa's Ron Vlaar, left, vies for the ball with Arsenal's Santi Cazorla during the English Premier League soccer match between Arsenal and Aston Villa at the Emirates Stadium in London, Saturday, Aug. 17, 2013 (Photo: AP)

Christian Benteke struck twice to inspire Aston Villa to a shock 3-1 win at Arsenal on a dramatic opening day of the Premier League season on Saturday.

Striker Daniel Sturridge scored and new goalkeeper Simon Mignolet saved a late penalty to earn Liverpool a deserved 1-0 win over Stoke City and Norwich City drew 2-2 with Everton.

West Ham United beat promoted Cardiff City 2-0, Fulham won 1-0 at Sunderland and Southampton striker Rickie Lambert converted a late penalty to secure a 1-0 victory at West Bromwich Albion.

Arsenal took an early lead at the Emirates through forward Olivier Giroud but Benteke equalised from the rebound after having a penalty saved and the powerful striker fired home another spot-kick after 62 minutes.

Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny was sent off before full back Antonio Luna grabbed a late third for Villa.

Sturridge put Liverpool ahead against Stoke with a firm 20-metre shot after 37 minutes and Mignolet plunged to his right to keep out Jonathan Walters's penalty a minute from time.

Champions Manchester United begin the defence of their title at Swansea City in the late kickoff.

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