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Played
August 17, 2013 7:30 PM IST
Emirates Stadium — London
Referee:‬ A. Taylor‎
Attendance:‬ 60003‎
 
C. Benteke 22′
 
C. Benteke 61′ (PG)
 
Luna 85′
   
 
 

Player Ratings: Arsenal 1-3 Aston Villa

Paul Lambert's team, led by Gabriel Agbonlahor and two goals from Christian Benteke, counterattacked brilliantly to put the Gunners to the sword on opening day in north London

By Oliver Platt

  • Wojciech Szczesny
    16
    51
    2.00

    Wojciech Szczesny Flop of the Match

    Lucky to stay on the pitch when he brought down Agbonlahor in the box. He saved Benteke's subsequent penalty but could not stop the rebound and his decision-making was questionable throughout.

  • Bacary Sagna
    36
    16
    2.50

    Bacary Sagna

    Switched to left-back to cover Gibbs' injury and played more conservatively as a result. Stretched by Agbonlahor's pace on occasion.

  • Per Mertesacker
    16
    31
    2.50

    Per Mertesacker

    Generally a stable presence at the back but was exposed by Agbonlahor's pace in the build-up to Villa's first goal.

  • Laurent Koscielny
    41
    29
    2.50

    Laurent Koscielny

    Appeared to make contact with the ball when he was adjudged to have brought down Agbonlahor in the box, picking up a yellow card and conceding a penalty which Benteke converted. The significance of that decision was amplified when he received his second booking for tripping Agbonlahor.

  • Kieran Gibbs
    33
    18
    3.00

    Kieran Gibbs

    Badly cut his forehead in a clash with Weimann and was replaced by Jenkinson in the first half, though he was able to walk off the pitch.

  • Tomas Rosicky
    75
    11
    2.50

    Tomas Rosicky

    Released Oxlade-Chamberlain to set up the first goal and linked up well with Giroud but passed up two golden opportunities to score when the French striker put him through on goal.

  • Jack Wilshere
    48
    21
    3.00

    Jack Wilshere

    Played a part in Arsenal's opening goal but, like a couple of his team-mates, struggled to cope as Villa ramped up the physicality in midfield and was booked for taking out his frustration on the referee.

  • Aaron Ramsey
    29
    30
    2.50

    Aaron Ramsey

    Tidy enough in possession but Arsenal would surely have benefited so much more from a dedicated defensive midfield player in his position. The back four was left badly unprotected.

  • Olivier Giroud
    54
    16
    3.50

    Olivier Giroud

    Diverted home Oxlade-Chamberlain's cross to open the scoring and continued to provide a good reference point in attack, setting up Rosicky for two excellent chances after the break. He became more frustrated with Villa's physical play at the back as the game wore on, however.

  • Theo Walcott
    12
    53
    2.50

    Theo Walcott

    Involved in spells down the right-hand side but he never really had a good sight of goal himself and couldn't find a delivery of enough quality to set up the likes of Giroud.

  • Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
    52
    14
    3.50

    Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

    Extremely bright early on and set up Arsenal's opening goal with a deft ball slid in to Giroud with the outside of his boot. Villa gradually tightened up on him, though, and he was brought off at half-time having come off worse in a challenge with Luna.

Substitutions

  • Carl Jenkinson
    10
    29
    2.50

    Carl Jenkinson

    Came in at right-back after Gibbs injury but did not make a meaningful impact down the flank with not a great deal to do defensively.

  • Santi Cazorla
    24
    30
    2.50

    Santi Cazorla

    Came close to making it 2-2 with a volley that he hit into the ground but Guzan pushed it onto the crossbar. Otherwise, it was clear why he hadn't started - he looked jaded after a midweek visit to Ecuador.

  • Lukas Podolski
    19
    18

    Lukas Podolski

    Brought on in added time.

  • Bradley Guzan
    25
    7
    3.50

    Bradley Guzan

    Had no chance with the opening goal and superbly denied Rosicky and Cazorla to preserve Villa's lead in the second half.

  • Ron Vlaar
    9
    7
    3.00

    Ron Vlaar

    Set the tone physically for Villa and occasionally strayed over the line, committing himself far too high up the field to allow Oxlade-Chamberlain to set up the first goal and seeing yellow for a foul on Wilshere. He grew stronger as the game wore on, though, giving Giroud an increasingly difficult time.

  • Luna
    18
    6
    3.50

    Luna

    A bit haphazard at times but kept Walcott at bay throughout and even found some time to attack, bursting forward out of nowhere to slot home Villa's third. A promising debut.

  • Nathan Baker
    8
    7
    3.00

    Nathan Baker

    Played only 17 minutes before being substituted due to injury. Could not be blamed for Arsenal's early goal.

  • Matthew Lowton
    6
    8
    3.00

    Matthew Lowton

    Most of Arsenal's best play came down the left wing and he was outnumbered at times, especially when Vlaar stepped up, but the pressure eased as the game went on.

  • Karim El Ahmadi
    14
    5
    3.50

    Karim El Ahmadi

    Excellent defensively, making a number of tackles in central midfield, though the accuracy of his passing wasn't always up to scratch.

  • Ashley Westwood
    8
    6
    3.00

    Ashley Westwood

    Held firm in a holding midfield role and almost caught Szczesny out with a long range effort in the first half. It was mostly a case of sitting deep and protecting the back four.

  • Fabian Delph
    14
    4
    3.50

    Fabian Delph

    Showed the most attacking intent of the midfield three and combined with Luna on a couple of occasions before hitting the base of the post with a well-struck shot in the second half.

  • Gabriel Agbonlahor
    39
    8
    4.00

    Gabriel Agbonlahor Top of the Match

    Will not always give you a perfect final product but his running was tireless and caused Arsenal no end of problems. A brilliant dart through the middle drew the first Villa penalty and another run into the box the second, though Koscielny was unlucky to be penalised.

  • C. Benteke
    31
    6
    3.50

    C. Benteke

    Missed one penalty but converted the rebound and made no mistake with the second to get himself off the mark for the season. Agbonlahor was the biggest threat but he created space for the players behind him with his work up front.

  • Andreas Weimann
    17
    7
    3.50

    Andreas Weimann

    Combined well with Agbonlahor and Benteke up front and picked out Luna as the left-back raced clear to seal the points.

Substitutions

  • Ciaran Clark
    14
    5
    3.50

    Ciaran Clark

    Replaced Baker in the first half and did an admirable job as Villa turned the game on its head.

Results
 
Player Ratings
Tournament
Position
Ranking
Top Scorers
Player   Goals Penalties
Luis Suárez Luis Suárez
Striker
Liverpool
29 0
Daniel Sturridge Daniel Sturridge
Striker
Liverpool
20 0
Yaya Touré Yaya Touré
Midfielder
Manchester City
18 6
Wayne Rooney Wayne Rooney
Striker
Man. United
15 2
Sergio Agüero Sergio Agüero
Striker
Manchester City
15 0