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EPL Gameweek 23: Arsenal vs Aston Villa - As it happened...


ARSENAL (Giroud 8', Ozil 56', Walcott 64', Cazorla (P)75', Bellerin 90+2') 5 - 0 ASTON VILLA



90+3' - One chance for Aston Villa in the final moment. Ashley Westwood forced Ospina to produce a save. And that's all. Final whistle.

90+2' - It's high five for Arsenal. Flurry of attacks produced the fifth goal, with Hector Bellerin scoring his first goal in Arsenal colours with a perfect placement on the far side. Cazorla set-up the goal.

90' - Three ADDED minutes. Brilliant run from Arsenal players. Ozil feeded young Akpom with a delicate through ball, but the finishing was feeble.

88' - Ozil wasted a golden chance to make it fifth. He should be blamed for waiting. Finally, Cazorla tried off a loose ball, which went off play.

87' - Mertesacker now joined the attack, driving down as far as Villa box. Got himself with the ball to cross, but his looping delivery meant a slow attempt on receipt by Monreal. Headed straight to Guzan.

86' - Attacks coming for Arsenal. Akpom involved himself in the creative part too, and waited for the final delivery hoping to score. But his positioning was too tight.

83' - Arsenal are content to play the waiting game here, after scoring four without a response. Ozil and Rosicky at the front are taking all the time in the world to mount another attack.

81' - Tomas Rosicky penalised and free-kick to Villa, Carles Gil's attempt from the set-piece however failed to hit the target.

79' - Despite leaking goals, Villans are going for glory, pressing hard in the Arsenal half. 

77' - Both the teams have exhausted their subs. Carlos Sanchez replaced by Ashley Westwood for Aston Villa, while Aaron Ramsey made way for Mathieu Flamini for Arsenal.

74' - Penalty, converted by Cazorla. Fresh legs, new options. The young Akpom outran Villans and forced Guzan to lunge. Referee Taylor had no hesitation to point at the spot.

72' - Cazorla could have a go at the goal. But the Spaniard waited too long and his minus was off target too. Then Scot Sinclair launched a counter through the left flank, and won a corner with Bellerin committing to the ball just outside the box.

70' - Double change for Arsenal too. Theo Walcott made way for Tomas Rosicky, and young Chuba Akpom got another opportunity. He replaced Giroud.

69' - Carles Gil got a yellow card for a heavy challenge.

66' - Double change for Villa. Tom Cleverly, who has been ineffective the whole evening, was substituted by Gabriel Agbonlahor. Scott Sinclair on for Andreas Weimann. Lambert needs some inspiration.

64' - Sumptuous finish from Theo Walcott. Arsenal, despite seemingly playing the second fiddle in the second half, hit their visitors on the counter. This time, Cazorla provided the pass.

63' - And from such a play, Delph tried a long ranger which got the fainted of touches for a corner. 

61' - After the second blow, Villans are trying to regroup themselves. And what better way than controlling the midfield.

58' - Ciaran Clark  booked. In between, with the goal, Arsenal (41) have become the third highest scoring team after Chelsea (52) and Manchester City (46).

56' - Cool finish from Mesut Ozil to double the lead at home. Arsenal have waited and waited and score on the counter. It was return of favour from Giroud. Both have a goal and assist now.

54' - This first five minutes of the second half certainly belong to Villa. They have toyed with Arsenal plot. Then suddenly, Arsenal got their first meaningful counter attack on with Ozil and Ramsey leading the run.

49' - Carlos Sanchez was called by the referee after his hand reached out to Giroud's face while vying for a high ball. No cards, for better.

48' - Villa continued with their high-pressing game and it certainly is giving jitters to Arsenal defence.

46' - Positive start from the visitors after after the break. Benteke's attempt missed the target after good move.


45+1' - Coquelin, once again, penalised for a foul. Free kick to Villa, then another corner. And no goal from Villans. That's all for the half.

44' - Aston Villa got a corner for themselves. But Arsenal did enough to defend. One minute ADDED.

42' - Possibly the best chance for the visitors at the Emirates. Weimann got himself within the striking distance, but Ospina was quick to deny the equaliser. On the break, Walcott wasted another opportunity thanks to bad ball control.

41' - Injury scare for Arsenal, Again! Luckily for Gunners, Giroud is back on his feet after a bad fall, which coupled with a clip from a rival defender Okore, made the scene worrisome for a while.

39' - The tempo of the game has somehow slowed down. In between, Weimann was caught handling the ball inside the Arsenal box. Moments earlier, Walcott was caught off-side on the other end of the pitch.

37' - After few changes in possession, Arsenal won their fifth corner. And Cazorla's delivery was far from desirable.

34' - Delph had a solo run in the Arsenal half, only to see the possession loss. From that opportunity, Arsenal got their hit on target with Guzan fending off the ball with both hands. Good attempt from Ramsey.

33' - Gil and Benteke combined beautiful to test the Arsenal defence and force Mertesacker to clear out the ball from a dangerous position. Arsenal escaped.

32' - After a brief Villa move, Arsenal found themselves attacking again. It's all too routine for the home side with Villa unable to keep up the standard.

30' - Koscielny found Monreal probing on the left front and the Spaniard laid out for Ozil, who set up Cazorla for a strike. But the goal was ruled offside by the linesman.

27' - The inspirational Cazorla missed another chance, this time hitting the far post after a brilliant solo run in the attacking third.

25' - Carles Gil, in company of Alan Hutton are helping Villans hold their head high in London with some splendid work.

23' - For the first time in the match, Villa are enjoying their spell of possession and controlling the play is Delphi. Then again, the final push failed.

21' - Desperate defending from Villans against a concerted Arsenal attack. Ramsey has been pivotal in Gunners attack. And Lambert's men are doing very little to mark the midfielder.

20' - Good combination between Mertesacker and Coquelin to thwart a Villa attack inside the box. 

18' - Cazorla had two back-to-back corners to himself, but Arsenal failed to capitalise on them, including a free header by Monreal.

17' - Moreal won a hard-fought corner. Earlier, Alan Hutton tried to breach the Arsenal back-line with a beautiful pass. Great effort.

13' - Francis Coquelin penalised for a foul and Villa have their first free-kick of the match. But Arsenal defenders did enough to divert the ball, for a corner. From the corner, Villa once again wasted the chance.

11' - Mertesacker had a testing moment with two Villa players running onto him. The lanky defender got the ball back to his keeper... to safety.

9' - A period of regrouping for Villa but soon, Arsenal, thanks to their superior front-men, have seized the moment. Have seen a couple of goal-scoring opportunities missed after the goal, though.

8' - Olivier Giroud scored. Perfect control by the big Frenchman and a beautiful pass from Ozil.

6' - Brave move from Kieran Richardson, who found alone to test Arsenal goalie.

5'- A very positive looking Arsenal are trying to penetrate Villa defence from the left. And almost resulted in goal, but only to see Ramsey fail to hit the target from a Nacho Monreal pass. Just missed.

4' - Moments ago, Fabian Delph did try to test Ospina with a long ranger, but to no avail.

3' - Wasted chance for Gunners after an intelligent play from Mesut Ozil and Aaron Ramsey from the left flank. Goal kick to Villa.

2' - Santi Cazorla's corner failed to impress much and Villans got their move in sync, for the first time.

1' - First move from the home team and Guzan got his first touch of the game from a long, misdirected Arsenal ball. Then, within seconds, Wlacott got himself in a goal scoring position but some good defending forced the ball to corner. To Arsenal.

Anthony Taylor will officiate the match today. And the Emirates is packed to the brim.

Under 10 minutes to the kick-off

Arsenal XI: Ospina, Bellerin, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal, Coquelin, Ramsey, Walcott, Cazorla, Ozil, Giroud

Subs: Szczesny, Gibbs, Gabriel, Chambers, Flamini, Rosicky, Akpom

Aston Villa XI: Guzan, Hutton, Okore, Clark, Richardson, Sanchez, Delph, Cleverley, Weimann, Gil, Benteke

Subs: Given, Baker, Bacuna, Sinclair, Agbonlahor, Westwood, Cissokho​

Welcome to out coverage of English Premier League. After dramatic Saturday actions, we have two matches today - Arsenal hosting Aston Villa and Swansea City traveling to Southampton.

Teams playing hosts are fighting for top-four finish in an ever increasingly crowded top-half of the table. Any slip-up today will probably doom their chances.

For the travelling sides, today's match-ups are more of survival, specially for the Villans, who are desperate to avoid a drop in the relegation zone.

The first match at the Emirates Stadium will kick-off at 7:00 PM IST. Arsene Wenger's outfit is riding on a good spell of outings. They have, for the first time in the season, won three league games in a row. And the Frenchman will do anything to keep that momentum alive as the fight becomes ever more trickier in the second half.

If it's the momentum that Gunners are trying to maintain than for Paul Lambert's side are looking to end their barren run. They have lost three and drew twice in their previous five league matches. And making things worse is, they are the lowest scoring team in England's top-flight league.

In the second match, season's surprise package Saints will hosts Swans at St Mary's Stadium. Having accumulated 42 points from the first 22 matches, Ronald Koeman's outfit is eager and confident of sealing an European place. They have won four of their last five league matches against Crystal Palace, Arsenal, Manchester United and Newcastle United. And they drew with leaders Chelsea.

Visiting St Mary's during such an spell is certainly not the best thing embattling Swans. After a promising start to the season, the team from Wales has lost their touch and embroiled in a mid-table fight. They are now in 10th position after collection only five points from a possible 15 in their last five outings.

The second match starts 9:30 PM IST.

From Zee News

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