Arsenal survive late scare at Aston Villa to go top

Reuters, Tuesday 14 Jan 2014

Olivier Giroud
Olivier Giroud doubled Arsenal’s lead (Photo: AP)

Arsenal survived a late scare to regain top spot in the Premier League with a 2-1 victory at Aston Villa on Monday, both their goals arriving in the space of a minute in the first half.

Jack Wilshere and Olivier Giroud put Arsenal in cruise control just past the half hour mark but Christian Benteke's header 14 minutes from time made it a nervy finish for Arsene Wenger's side.

England midfielder Wilshere opened the scoring after 34 minutes with an accurate left-foot finish and Villa self-destructed, conceding possession from the kickoff before French striker Giroud doubled the visitors' lead.

Benteke's stooping header raised hopes of an unlikely Villa comeback and the Belgian striker came close to an equaliser as Arsenal hung on.

Arsenal began the evening in third place after wins for title rivals Chelsea and Manchester City at the weekend but responded in style to move a point clear at the top.

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