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Page last updated at 21:40 GMT, Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Aston Villa   0 - 0   Arsenal

By David Ornstein

Aston Villa's James Milner and Arsenal's Aaron Ramsey
Villa and Arsenal both had chances to claim victory at Villa Park

Arsenal twice hit the woodwork as they were held to a draw by Aston Villa and missed the chance to return to the top of the Premier League.

In a first half desperately lacking in entertainment, Gabriel Agbonlahor had an early effort well saved and Cesc Fabregas fired against a post.

After the break Stewart Downing headed wide and Tomas Rosicky saw a close-range strike rebound off the crossbar.

Both sides pushed for a winner but lacked a cutting edge in attack.

In the end a point apiece was a fair result, yet neither manager is likely to be happy with their team's failure to emerge victorious.

Villa remain in seventh place and have now not won - or scored - in their last four league matches, while Arsenal stay third, a point behind Manchester United and two behind Chelsea.

With United, Chelsea and Liverpool the Gunners' next three opponents, boss Arsene Wenger was understandably keen to take all three points, but defeat would have been harsh on a resilient and adventurous Villa side.

O'Neill praises 'splendid' Villa

The hosts arrived fresh from securing a place in the Carling Cup final and edging towards another Wembley appearance by reaching the FA Cup fifth round.

And, despite a terribly flat atmosphere at Villa Park, Martin O'Neill's men made a promising start against a side they had beaten only once in their previous 22 meetings.

They lined up in 4-4-2 formation but rather than spending sustained periods in Arsenal territory they instead opted to play on the counter-attack.

Working the ball out to wingers Ashley Young and Downing at every opportunity, Villa continually looked to feed quick ball to strikers Agbonlahor and Emile Heskey.

One such example saw Agbonlahor, whose pace badly troubled Arsenal at home and away last season, sent scurrying into box but his low shot across goal was expertly tipped to safety by Manuel Almunia.

606: DEBATE
jayramfootball

The visitors responded with a first-time effort from Denilson that was well-saved by Brad Friedel but Villa were controlling the tempo and dominating possession.

Ashley Young curled a free-kick narrowly wide and then broke clear on the right after a slip Gael Clichy, only for his cross to be sent high into the stands by an on-rushing Downing.

Wenger had reverted to his strongest available line-up following Sunday's FA Cup defeat at Stoke, yet his team were ponderous in possession and wasteful with their passing.

Arsenal were not helped by the 35th-minute withdrawal of Thomas Vermaelen, whose leg injury gave Sol Campbell his first league outing since 7 May 2006, although they almost went ahead just before half-time.

Fabregas shimmied past Stilian Petrov, stepped outside James Collins and then drilled a low shot across the area, only to see it rebound off Friedel's right-hand post.

Fortunately for all concerned, there was a far more open feel about the second period.

Fabregas almost capitalised on a Friedel's failure to clear a Clichy cross while Downing inexplicably headed wide from Ashley Young's deflected cross when it seemed harder to miss than score.

Wenger frustrated with points dropped

Both sides continued to press for an opener and Ashley Young's header across goal was plucked out of the air by Almunia before a fine run by Andrey Arshavin ended with Rosicky rattling the woodwork.

As the evening wore on, Arsenal began to counter-attack in ominous fashion but lacked precision in front of goal.

Nicklas Bendtner returned from three months out to replace the injured Eduardo on 62 minutes and Samir Nasri was also introduced, but Villa rebuffed all that was thrown at them.

Equally, the home side looked capable of winning it on any one of their forays forward late on - Campbell was not penalised when he appeared to block Richard Dunne's passage to goal - but Arsenal held out.


Aston Villa manager Martin O'Neill:
"I thought we played splendidly. We haven't had have points on board we probably deserve from our last four games.

"We should have won tonight. We played strongly, kept going and should have won. Arsenal are very fine side but we were terrific.

"We haven't won or scored in four matches but we've had umpteen chances and I'm not concerned. Not just our effort but our play was terrific.

"We've had a tough run of games and have another tough run of games ahead of us now. We're sticking at it and out players have down football club proud in last couple of weeks. We're going to hang in there in the league."

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger:
"We wanted three points, we got one. Maybe we dropped two. But it was a difficult game, Villa made it difficult.

"They stopped us from playing when we had the ball, they played a long-ball game and closed us down. Our passing was not as fluent as usual but we had very good chances. We don't usually miss the chances we missed tonight.

"We know when we come here what we get and we were not disappointed. They play a very efficient English game with long balls and it is very physical. They are a good side at counter attacking.

"The result keeps our unbeaten run going and we have a good opportunity to beat Manchester United on Sunday. We still have the momentum, so let's go into the United game with a desire to win it."

Aston Villa manager Martin O'Neill on Wenger's comments:
"He has made a few ridiculous statements in his time here (in England) and that is as good as any. That is an appalling insult.

"I thought we played splendidly in the game. Their 'keeper made a great save from Gabby (Agbonlahor) early on and Ashley Young produced some incredible balls into the box that just needed a touch on them.

"Arsenal caused us problems and we had a bit of luck when they hit the post and crossbar but we did not deserve to lose in this game.

"I thought we played splendidly and should have won. We haven't won or scored in four matches but we've had umpteen chances and I'm not concerned."

Live text and stats

 

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Barclays Premier League

Home Team Score Away Team Time
Aston Villa 0-0 Arsenal FT
(HT 0-0)

      Aston Villa

      Substitutes

      Arsenal

      Substitutes

      Ref: ProbertAtt: 39,601
      ASTON VILLA
      ARSENAL

      Possession

      • Aston Villa 50%
      • Arsenal 50%

      Attempts on target

      • Aston Villa 2
      • Arsenal 8

      Attempts off target

      • Aston Villa 6
      • Arsenal 4

      Corners

      • Aston Villa 7
      • Arsenal 7

      Fouls

      • Aston Villa 16
      • Arsenal 15
      • Final Result
      • Full Time
      • 90:00+3:39 The game is over, as the referee blows his whistle.
      • 90:00+3:16 Neves Denilson concedes a free kick for a foul on Stewart Downing. Stewart Downing takes the free kick.
      • 90:00+2:49 Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Francesc Fabregas, Gabriel Agbonlahor manages to make a clearance.
      • 90:00+2:30 Francesc Fabregas takes the free kick.
      • 90:00+2:30 Booking The referee cautions Richard Dunne for unsporting behaviour.
      • 90:00+2:04 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Francesc Fabregas by Richard Dunne.
      • 90:00+0:40 Andrey Arshavin takes a shot. Save made by Brad Friedel.
      • 89:12 Free kick awarded for a foul by James Milner on Neves Denilson. Manuel Almunia takes the direct free kick.
      • 85:32 Fabian Delph concedes a free kick for a foul on Andrey Arshavin. Direct strike on goal from the free kick comes in from Francesc Fabregas, Ashley Young gets a block in.
      • 83:53 Headed effort from deep inside the area by Richard Dunne misses to the left of the goal.
      • 83:17 Free kick taken by James Collins.
      • 83:17 Booking Gael Clichy is cautioned.
      • 83:11 Foul by Gael Clichy on Stewart Downing, free kick awarded.
      • 82:17 Samir Nasri takes a shot. Stiliyan Petrov gets a block in.
      • 81:50 Centre by Stewart Downing, Sol Campbell makes a clearance.
      • 81:16 Neves Denilson gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on James Milner. Ashley Young crosses the ball in from the free kick, William Gallas manages to make a clearance.
      • 80:06 Free kick awarded for a foul by Andrey Arshavin on Stiliyan Petrov. Direct free kick taken by Brad Friedel.
      • 78:41 Manuel Almunia takes the indirect free kick.
      • 78:41 Substitution Samir Nasri joins the action as a substitute, replacing Tomas Rosicky.
      • 78:41 Ashley Young is ruled offside.
      • 77:33 Substitution Emile Heskey goes off and Fabian Delph comes on.
      • 76:19 Stiliyan Petrov fouled by Andrey Arshavin, the ref awards a free kick. Stewart Downing takes the direct free kick.
      • 75:15 Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Ashley Young, save by Manuel Almunia.
      • 74:17 Foul by Gael Clichy on Ashley Young, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Stewart Downing.
      • 73:20 Gael Clichy fouled by Ashley Young, the ref awards a free kick. Manuel Almunia restarts play with the free kick.
      • 69:24 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Tomas Rosicky by Stiliyan Petrov. Direct free kick taken by Francesc Fabregas.
      • 67:56 The referee blows for offside against Andrey Arshavin. Indirect free kick taken by Brad Friedel.
      • 66:12 The referee blows for offside against Gabriel Agbonlahor. Manuel Almunia takes the free kick.
      • 63:02 Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Francesc Fabregas, Emile Heskey makes a clearance.
      • 62:46 Francesc Fabregas takes a shot. Blocked by James Collins.
      • 61:11 Substitution Nicklas Bendtner replaces Da Silva Eduardo.
      • 60:48 Tomas Rosicky takes a shot.
      • 59:51 Gael Clichy challenges Emile Heskey unfairly and gives away a free kick. James Milner takes the direct free kick.
      • 58:18 Corner taken by Ashley Young played to the near post, clearance by Francesc Fabregas.
      • 58:12 The ball is sent over by Ashley Young, blocked by Bacary Sagna.
      • 57:01 Stewart Downing takes a inswinging corner.
      • 55:56 Neves Denilson challenges Emile Heskey unfairly and gives away a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Stiliyan Petrov.
      • 54:39 Direct free kick taken by Sol Campbell.
      • 54:39 Booking The referee books Emile Heskey for unsporting behaviour.
      • 54:35 Emile Heskey challenges Francesc Fabregas unfairly and gives away a free kick.
      • 53:15 Emile Heskey gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Bacary Sagna. Manuel Almunia takes the free kick.
      • 49:10 The ball is sent over by Ashley Young, Stewart Downing produces a header from close range which goes wide of the left-hand upright.
      • 48:30 Gabriel Agbonlahor concedes a free kick for a foul on Gael Clichy. Manuel Almunia takes the direct free kick.
      • 47:55 Foul by Francesc Fabregas on James Milner, free kick awarded. Brad Friedel takes the direct free kick.
      • 47:25 Francesc Fabregas takes a shot. Brad Friedel makes a save.
      • 46:17 Gabriel Agbonlahor is ruled offside. Indirect free kick taken by Manuel Almunia.
      • 45:01 The second half begins.
      • Half Time
      • 45:00+2:08 The first half comes to an end.
      • 45:00+1:24 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on James Milner by Aaron Ramsey. Free kick taken by James Collins.
      • 45:00+0:34 Tomas Rosicky takes a shot from just inside the penalty box which clears the bar.
      • 45:00+0:22 Shot by Francesc Fabregas from inside the penalty area hits the post.
      • 44:08 Inswinging corner taken by James Milner.
      • 44:04 The ball is delivered by James Milner, clearance made by Bacary Sagna.
      • 40:30 Unfair challenge on Aaron Ramsey by James Collins results in a free kick. Shot comes in from Francesc Fabregas from the free kick, Gabriel Agbonlahor gets a block in.
      • 38:42 The assistant referee signals for offside against Gabriel Agbonlahor. William Gallas takes the indirect free kick.
      • 36:50 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Neves Denilson by Ashley Young. Manuel Almunia restarts play with the free kick.
      • 34:46 Unfair challenge on Stewart Downing by Aaron Ramsey results in a free kick. Richard Dunne takes the free kick.
      • 33:44 Free kick taken by William Gallas.
      • 33:44 Substitution Sol Campbell replaces Thomas Vermaelen.
      • 33:44 Gabriel Agbonlahor gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Bacary Sagna.
      • 32:22 Effort on goal by Stewart Downing from inside the area goes harmlessly over the bar.
      • 30:51 Ashley Young is caught offside. Free kick taken by Manuel Almunia.
      • 30:18 Ashley Young sends in a cross, clearance made by William Gallas.
      • 28:25 Effort on goal by Emile Heskey from long range goes harmlessly over the target.
      • 28:08 Unfair challenge on Luke Young by Francesc Fabregas results in a free kick. Richard Dunne takes the direct free kick.
      • 26:38 James Milner concedes a free kick for a foul on Francesc Fabregas. Manuel Almunia takes the direct free kick.
      • 26:30 Ashley Young crosses the ball, William Gallas makes a clearance.
      • 25:59 Free kick awarded for a foul by Da Silva Eduardo on Stiliyan Petrov. Free kick taken by Brad Friedel.
      • 23:52 Outswinging corner taken by Francesc Fabregas from the right by-line, clearance made by Richard Dunne.
      • Correction - 23:38 Francesc Fabregas takes a shot. Emile Heskey gets a block in.
      • 23:38 Francesc Fabregas takes a shot. Blocked by James Collins.
      • 23:22 Da Silva Eduardo decides to take a short corner.
      • 20:58 Foul by Bacary Sagna on Ashley Young, free kick awarded. Richard Dunne restarts play with the free kick.
      • 20:11 Emile Heskey challenges Neves Denilson unfairly and gives away a free kick. Neves Denilson restarts play with the free kick.
      • 19:21 Stewart Downing produces a cross, Neves Denilson makes a clearance.
      • 16:05 Inswinging corner taken by Stewart Downing from the right by-line played to the near post, save by Manuel Almunia.
      • 15:29 Richard Dunne concedes a free kick for a foul on Da Silva Eduardo. Da Silva Eduardo restarts play with the free kick.
      • 14:04 Outswinging corner taken right-footed by Ashley Young from the right by-line, James Collins takes a shot. Neves Denilson gets a block in.
      • 12:06 Direct effort from the free kick comes in from Ashley Young.
      • 12:06 Booking Thomas Vermaelen is given a yellow card.
      • 12:00 Thomas Vermaelen gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Emile Heskey.
      • 10:34 Emile Heskey concedes a free kick for a foul on Thomas Vermaelen. William Gallas restarts play with the free kick.
      • 9:48 Free kick awarded for a foul by Ashley Young on Neves Denilson. Manuel Almunia restarts play with the free kick.
      • 9:16 Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Francesc Fabregas from the left by-line, Richard Dunne makes a clearance.
      • 8:58 Neves Denilson takes a shot. Save made by Brad Friedel.
      • 8:43 Outswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Francesc Fabregas.
      • 8:28 Effort from the edge of the area by Da Silva Eduardo goes wide of the right-hand post.
      • 6:44 The ball is sent over by Gabriel Agbonlahor, Manuel Almunia makes a save.
      • 3:33 Stewart Downing takes a inswinging corner from the right by-line to the near post, save by Manuel Almunia.
      • 3:22 Gabriel Agbonlahor takes a shot. Save made by Manuel Almunia.
      • 2:08 Corner from the left by-line taken by Francesc Fabregas, James Collins makes a clearance.
      • 1:04 Stiliyan Petrov has an effort at goal from outside the area which goes wide left of the target.
      • 0:00 The game begins.

      Live text and data provided by The Press Association.



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      Premier League results

      27 Jan 2010 23:59 UK


      Premier League table snapshot

      As it stood on 27 Jan 2010 23:59 UK

      Position Team P GD PTS
      1 Chelsea 22 37 51
      2 Man Utd 23 34 50
      3 Arsenal 23 34 49
      4 Tottenham 23 20 41
      5 Liverpool 23 14 38
      6 Man City 21 12 38
      7 Aston Villa 22 11 37
      8 Birmingham 22 -1 33
      9 Everton 22 -2 29
      10 Fulham 22 0 27
      11 Blackburn 23 -15 27
      12 Stoke 21 -7 25
      13 Sunderland 22 -10 23
      14 Wigan 21 -22 22
      15 Bolton 21 -13 21
      16 West Ham 22 -9 20
      17 Wolves 22 -21 20
      18 Burnley 22 -22 20
      19 Hull 22 -26 19
      20 Portsmouth 21 -14 15

      see also
      Arsenal receive Vermaelen boost
      28 Jan 10 |  Arsenal
      Wednesday football as it happened
      27 Jan 10 |  Football
      Wednesday's football photos
      27 Jan 10 |  Football



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