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Wenger - We were fortunate
Villa winger Marc Albrighton scored the 20,000th Premier League goal and Arsenal striker Robin van Persie equalled Thierry Henry's club record for the most Premier League goals - 34 - in a calendar year but it was Benayoun's late header from a Van Persie corner which enabled the Gunners to bounce back from the weekend reversal against Manchester City.
Wenger said: "I can only congratulate Villa. They played well and gave everything. We got very late three points that are vital for us. We were a bit unlucky on Sunday against City and today maybe we were a bit lucky."
He added: "But overall it was important to restart with a win tonight. We had two difficult away games where we had a to give everything physically. In the first half we controlled the game quite well. In the second half when Villa came back to 1-1, we had a little bit of a difficult period.
"Then we stabilised the game again and in the last 15 minutes you could feel we were on top of the game again. But if Villa continue to play like that, they will quickly come up in the table because they had an outstanding game."
Wenger praised the commitment of his side in recovering from a poor start to the season.
He added: "Our spirit is exceptional and that's why we came back from a bad start to the season to have such a a strong run.
"You could see that some legs were jaded from Sunday and some minds as well in the speed of the decision-making. But we kept going and there is an exceptional attitude and spirit in the side."
Albrighton conceded losing the game took some of the shine off scoring the 20,000th Premier League goal.
He said: "It was great to score the goal. It is one of those things you remember for the rest of your life. People will remind me of it for years to come. It is a milestone but it has been soured slightly by the fact we lost the game."
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