Arsenal 1 - 3 Aston Villa
Image: avfc.co.uk

Cristian Benteke scored twice as Aston Villa came from behind to record a 3-1 victory over Arsenal at the Emirates. The defeat will leave Arsene Wenger with questions to answer following a frustrating transfer window without any major acquisitions. 

French striker Olivier Giroud opened the scoring for Arsenal early in the first half, but Aston Villa soon equalised from the rebound, after Benteke saw his penalty saved by Szczesny. Benteke doubled the lead in the second half, this time making no mistake from the spot, before Antonio Luna raced away and finished clinically with a few minutes remaining.

Aston Villa's fans were fearing the beginning of another hard slog against relegation this year when Giroud opened the scoring with 6 minutes on the clock. The hitman, who has been scoring for fun in pre-season, tapped in after Oxlade-Chamberlain had cut back from the left hand side. Moments later, Villa's day was seemingly heading to despair when Nathan Baker was forced off with an injury, and was replaced by Ciaran Clark.

Last season's Aston Villa may have shrunk at this point, but the Midland's club were resolute and were soon level. 

Agbonlahor picked up the ball from a deep position and opened up his legs, skirting in and out of Arsenal's defense. The English speed merchant went down under a challenge from Szczesny and a penalty was given. The Arsenal keeper must have thought he had made amends with a fantastic save from 12 yards off Benteke's penalty, however, with a slice of fortune, the ball looped nicely for the Belgian forward, who nodded home the equaliser.

After going in to half time drawing 1-1, the Arsenal fans were given precious little else to celebrate. Having already lost Kieran Gibbs to a gash above the eye in the first half, Oxlade-Chamberlain was forced off, being replaced by the mostly ineffective Santi Cazorla. 

After a sustained period of pressure, Aston Villa deservedly took the lead on the hour mark, when Laurent Koscielny was harshly adjudged to have brought down Agbonlahor in the box. Benteke made no mistake this time, sending Szczesny the wrong way. Koscielny was probably wishing he had stayed at home, as a few moments later he recieved his second yellow after making a rash challenge on Weimann.

Arsenal's bad day at the office was compounded with a few minutes remaining, when Villa's new signing from Sevilla, Antonio Luna sped beyond the Arsenal defence and coolly slot the ball home.

Paul Lambert and his team will be delighted with three points to start their campaign, especially away at the Emirates, however Arsenal fans have every right to be frustrated at their team's performance. The need for Wenger to get the cheque book out before the transfer deadline may become more vocal in the coming days.

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