Dived the right way for van Persie’s penalty but would have needed Shay Given and Andy Marshall alongside him for it to have been kept out. Came out quickly soon after to chest away a Walcott lob and saved well from Mertesacker. Again was not at fault for Benayoun's winner.
A fascinating duel against Gervinho with the winger attempting to run at the Scot but the right-back stayed strong and the Arsenal player ended up switching wings. Has looked more assured as a defender in the past few games but ruined his good work with two yellow cards in the space of a minute at the end having argued with Arsenal players before a horrible late foul on Vermaelen.
Put in some crunching early tackles to set the tone and managed to smother van Persie for the most part in a duel which the Irishman clearly relished. One sliding tackle on Walcott was particularly impressive. An improved performance from Sunday where he struggled against Suarez.
Back to his usual standards after a poor game at the weekend as he kept Walcott and Gervinho fairly quiet on his side.
Was turned beautifully by Walcott before tugging at his shirt and giving away the spot kick. Rightly booked for what appeared to be a stamp on Arteta, albeit one which lacked ferocity.
Given a chance ahead of James Collins, it was a tough game for Cuellar who found himself too far away from his defensive partner on too many occasions and left gaps for Arsenal’s forwards to exploit. Improved after the break to stifle the Gunners' attacks.
Making his first star since October, it was a decent performance from Ireland until going off near the end of the first half for what must have been an injury. Kept the ball better than Delph has done in the past few games.
Scorer of the 20,000th Premier League goal and a reward for his persistance. He looked lively throughout the match but his determination to win the ball saw him ghost past a static Mertesacker and finish calmly.
Looked more assured with Clark behind him and was able to keep things tight in the midfield area as Arsenal failed to play their intricate passing game.
Looks to have rediscovered some of his mojo. Began the match with a good cross put in for Agbonlahor which almost saw him score and then gave young Coquelin a difficult evening including a brilliant nutmeg. Not quite as effective in the second half.
Unlucky to be denied by an excellent save from Szczesny and then a great block from Ramsey. The focal point in attack, he caused Koscielny and Mertesacker problems with his pace. However, he failed to pick up Benayoun which saw the Israeli score the winner.
Began the game in style with a fine save from Agbonlahor and was sharp to pouch any cross that came his way. A dominant performance at the back ruined by his side's slack defending.
Looked uncomfortable with players running at him and was booked for tripping a charging N’Zogbia before failing to mount any challenge as Albrighton nipped in to equalise. Almost redeemed himself soon after but was denied by Guzan.
Once again in his unfavoured position of left-back he didn’t look as comfortable fronting up to Albrighton as he normally does to most attackers and his short pass to Mertesacker set Albrighton away, not that the German made a great effort to help him out.
Appeared more assured then his German partner as Arsenal kept Villa at arm’s length for most of the match.
Stuck in an unfamiliar position at right-back he had an uncomfortable evening. Firstly he lost Agbonlahor who almost scored with a header and then twice he was beaten by N’Zogbia before gaining retribution with a hefty lounge which saw him rightly booked.
A replacement for the suspended Song, it wasn’t the sort of all-action performance we have come to expect from Frimpong who failed to assert himself how he normally does. Replaced by Rosicky as Villa's midfield pushed forward seeking a second goal.
A sumptuous through ball after the goal set Walcott in but for the most part he was content with keeping the ball and spreading the play around which he did with aplomb.
Not the Welshman’s finest evening, first overhitting a routine through-ball to Gervinho which would have sent him clear and then slicing wide from the edge of the area with just Guzan to beat. However, an early block on Agbonlahor probably saved a goal much to his credit.
Showed his undoubted class to do a Cruyff-turn on Clark and win the penalty but should have doubled the lead minutes later after his attempted lob was saved by Guzan.
R. van Persie
Kept quiet in the first-half he stood up when it counted to smash home his 34th goal of the year with as good a penalty as you are likely to see. Nice through-ball to Ramsey as well which should have seen him score. Booked late on for going over in the area but it appeared to be a harsh decision. Responded by delivering the corner which saw Benayound pounce.
Always a threat with his tricky feet but the final ball was too often lacking. Was not the same threat in the second-half and after one challenge he struggled to get up but it looked like it was his pride that was hurting the most after losing out in the battle against Hutton.
- 33 A. Marshall
- 37 D. Williams
- 6 J. Collins
- F. Delph
Brought on for Ireland, his first touch was a free-kick which narrowly went over. Looked lively in midfield with his passing and was not afraid to go into some tackles, the sort of spark needed to get things going.
- 26 A. Weimann
Came on just before the end for a hobbling Albrighton with Arsenal having just taken the lead.
- 1 Almunia
- 18 S. Squillaci
Brought on with Villa rampant, Rosicky's introduction seemed to calm things down with Arteta able to stay further back.
- 15 A. Oxlade-Chamberlain
Was brought on near the end with Gervinho having struggled but saw his only shooting opportunity blocked by Albrighton for the corner which Benayoun scored from.
A late replacement for Ramsey in the centre of midfield but still had time to make an impact as he headed home the winning goal.
- 29 M. Chamakh