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Johan Djourou joins the action as a substitute, replacing Tomas Rosicky.
Jack Wilshere finds the back of the net with a headed goal from close in. Aston Villa 2-4 Arsenal.Assist by Marouane Chamakh.
Marouane Chamakh takes a shot. Save by Brad Friedel.
Tomas Rosicky takes a inswinging corner to the near post, free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Stephen Warnock by Kieran Gibbs. James Collins takes the direct free kick.
Chris Herd comes on in place of Barry Bannan.
Kieran Gibbs joins the action as a substitute, replacing Samir Nasri. Neves Denilson on for Andrey Arshavin.
Effort from deep inside the area by Jack Wilshere misses to the left of the target.
Corner taken right-footed by Ashley Young from the left by-line, Richard Dunne takes a shot. Save by Lukasz Fabianski.
Ciaran Clark fouled by Marouane Chamakh, the ref awards a free kick. Luke Young restarts play with the free kick.
Unfair challenge on Laurent Koscielny by Ciaran Clark results in a free kick. Lukasz Fabianski takes the free kick.
Richard Dunne takes a shot. Save made by Lukasz Fabianski.
Marouane Chamakh receives a caution for unsporting behaviour. Marouane Chamakh concedes a free kick for a foul on Richard Dunne. Stephen Warnock takes the direct free kick.
Unfair challenge on Samir Nasri by Ashley Young results in a free kick. Free kick taken by Samir Nasri.
Samir Nasri produces a cross.
Bacary Sagna fouled by Stewart Downing, the ref awards a free kick. Bacary Sagna takes the free kick.
Andrey Arshavin produces a right-footed shot from just outside the box that misses to the right of the target.
Ciaran Clark finds the back of the net with a headed goal from inside the six-yard box. Aston Villa 2-3 Arsenal.Ashley Young takes the outswinging corner, Richard Dunne provided the assist for the goal.
The ball is delivered by Stephen Ireland, Laurent Koscielny manages to make a clearance.
The referee blows for offside against Andrey Arshavin. James Collins restarts play with the free kick.
Effort from deep inside the area by Ciaran Clark misses to the right of the target.
The ball is delivered by Stewart Downing, save by Lukasz Fabianski.
Stewart Downing sends in a cross, Tomas Rosicky manages to make a clearance.
John Carew leaves the field to be replaced by Stephen Ireland.
Effort on goal by Andrey Arshavin from just inside the penalty area goes harmlessly over the target.
John Carew concedes a free kick for a foul on Sebastien Squillaci. Bacary Sagna takes the free kick.
The assistant referee flags for offside against Nathan Delfouneso. Gael Clichy takes the free kick.
Stewart Downing fouled by Marouane Chamakh, the ref awards a free kick. James Collins takes the free kick.
Jack Wilshere produces a cross, save by Brad Friedel.
Marouane Chamakh grabs a goal from inside the box to the bottom left corner of the goal. Aston Villa 1-3 Arsenal.Tomas Rosicky provided the assist for the goal.
John Carew challenges Alex Song unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick taken by Jack Wilshere.
Ciaran Clark receives a yellow card for unsporting behaviour. Ciaran Clark gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Bacary Sagna. Bacary Sagna restarts play with the free kick.
Goal scored by Ciaran Clark from just outside the penalty box to the top left corner of the goal. Aston Villa 1-2 Arsenal.
Andrey Arshavin challenges Ashley Young unfairly and gives away a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Ashley Young.
Ciaran Clark concedes a free kick for a foul on Jack Wilshere. Indirect free kick taken by Sebastien Squillaci.
Ashley Young delivers the ball, Bacary Sagna makes a clearance.
Andrey Arshavin is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Free kick taken by Brad Friedel.
Sebastien Squillaci fouled by John Carew, the ref awards a free kick. Lukasz Fabianski takes the free kick.
Nathan Delfouneso joins the action as a substitute, replacing Robert Pires.
Goal scored by Samir Nasri from the edge of the penalty box to the bottom right corner of the goal. Aston Villa 0-2 Arsenal.Corner from the left by-line taken by Andrey Arshavin, assist by Andrey Arshavin.
Bacary Sagna produces a cross, Marouane Chamakh takes a shot. Save made by Brad Friedel.
Close range shot by Samir Nasri goes wide of the left-hand post.
Andrey Arshavin fires in a goal from the edge of the penalty box to the bottom right corner of the goal. Aston Villa 0-1 Arsenal.Assist on the goal came from Lukasz Fabianski.
Stephen Warnock produces a cross, clearance by Sebastien Squillaci.
Corner taken left-footed by Jack Wilshere, clearance made by Richard Dunne.
Corner taken right-footed by Andrey Arshavin from the left by-line to the near post, John Carew makes a clearance.
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Stewart Downing by Gael Clichy. Brad Friedel takes the direct free kick.
Bacary Sagna fouled by Robert Pires, the ref awards a free kick. Sebastien Squillaci restarts play with the free kick.
Corner taken by Andrey Arshavin from the left by-line to the near post, save by Brad Friedel.
Corner taken by Jack Wilshere played to the near post, Ashley Young manages to make a clearance.
The ball is sent over by Samir Nasri, Stephen Warnock manages to make a clearance.
The referee blows for offside. Indirect free kick taken by James Collins.
The offside flag is raised against John Carew. Sebastien Squillaci takes the indirect free kick.
Stewart Downing produces a cross, Shot from close range by Ashley Young clears the bar.
Samir Nasri takes a shot. James Collins gets a block in.
Andrey Arshavin decides to take a short corner.
Inswinging corner taken from the left by-line by Ashley Young, clearance made by Tomas Rosicky.
Samir Nasri produces a left-footed shot from outside the penalty box and misses right.
Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Jack Wilshere, Richard Dunne manages to make a clearance.
Andrey Arshavin takes a shot. James Collins gets a block in.
Gael Clichy concedes a free kick for a foul on Stewart Downing. Direct free kick taken by James Collins.
Tomas Rosicky takes a shot. Save made by Brad Friedel.
John Carew is caught offside. Lukasz Fabianski takes the indirect free kick.
Stephen Warnock gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Sebastien Squillaci. Lukasz Fabianski takes the direct free kick.
Shot from just outside the area by Marouane Chamakh misses to the right of the target.
Gael Clichy crosses the ball, save by Brad Friedel.
Bacary Sagna crosses the ball.
Shot by Tomas Rosicky from deep inside the penalty area misses to the left of the target.
Marouane Chamakh takes a shot. Clearance by James Collins.
The match begins.
The ref blows to end the first period.
The second half kicks off.
The referee blows for the end of the match.
Houllier craves more maturity
Gerard Houllier has revealed his "trust" in the current Aston Villa players but wants them to stop surrendering the initiative in matches ahead of the home clash with Arsenal.
Houllier has been encouraged by the youngsters who have filled the breach when up to a dozen players have been sidelined through illness or suspension.
But the former Liverpool boss is aware Villa have dropped 12 points in matches where they have been ahead during the current campaign.
This was highlighted a fortnight ago when Villa led Manchester United 2-0 after an exhilarating second half performance but ended up drawing 2-2.
Houllier said: "I'm confident, I trust this lot of players.
"But we have dropped 12 points from leading positions. That is a fact whether it was against Stoke, Bolton, Tottenham, Fulham or Manchester United.
"That is where we need to improve, definitely, in terms of maturity because being in a leading position to win, even if you drop half of those 12 points, we would now be on 23 points.
"I still think this is an area we have to address. Maybe this is the right time to stop that."
Houllier has immense respect for Gunners boss and close friend Arsene Wenger but wants to get one over on his fellow Frenchman.
He said: "Whatever happens on the field, we will remain friends. You have to give respect to what he has achieved at Arsenal in nearly 15 years.
"He had the team of the old type with Dixon, Adams, Winterburn and so forth.
"From that team, he gradually moved to a different team but kept the entertaining side.
"At a high level, you've got to win and he is a winner. You need to win in style and entertain. No-one will argue with that.
"He will have left a legacy when he leaves the club in terms of a new stadium, new facilities, a squad for the future, so I have got a lot of respect for that.
"But he has been a friend for nearly 30 years. We took our coaching badges together, went to tournaments together, we laugh together but I'd love to beat him and he knows that."
Striker Gabriel Agbonlahor is battling to be fit for the game.
Agbonlahor has missed training for the past two days through illness and his condition will be assessed during the next 24 hours. Fellow striker John Carew is available after a four-game absence due to a calf problem.
Houllier confirmed defender James Collins will play after he missed the 2-0 defeat at Blackburn, also with a calf injury. Young midfielder Jonathan Hogg is Villa's only new injury doubt after suffering an ankle injury at Ewood Park. Robert Pires will be included in the 18 to face his former club.
Meanwhile, Wenger has revealed his surprise at Houllier's return to frontline management.
Wenger said of Houllier's return: "I wasn't surprised that Aston Villa took him but I was surprised - because he was in a position as director of the French Football Federation - that he chose to leave his job and come again into a hotseat after what he has gone through."
While he may have been taken aback by Houllier's Villa move, Wenger was not surprised to see his friend bring Pires to the midlands club last week.
Pires had been training with former side Arsenal after being released by Villarreal in the summer and despite not re-signing the 37-year-old himself, Wenger was in no doubt he could still do a job in the Premier League.
"I saw what he has been doing in training," he said.
"He is the type of player who can help any team in the Premier League, just at that age it is important you use him well at the right moment, but I am not surprised that Gerard Houllier thought about him."
Asked how he would greet Pires at Villa Park, Wenger joked: "Well, 'Happy to see you and be quiet today!"'
Cesc Fabregas will miss out after being ruled out for an estimated two weeks with a hamstring strain.
Fellow midfielder Emmanuel Eboue is out for up to eight weeks with a knee ligament strain, strikers Robin van Persie and Andrey Arshavin come back into the squad after being rested for Tuesday night's Champions League game at Braga, while defender Gael Clichy could shake off a back problem.
Goalkeeper Manuel Almunia (elbow) may return, but centre-half Thomas Vermaelen (Achilles) and midfielder Abou Diaby (ankle) remain out, while Aaron Ramsey has joined Nottingham Forest on loan.
Gunners go top with win
Arsenal survived a second-half onslaught from Aston Villa to regain - at least temporarily - the leadership of the Barclays Premier League with a 4-2 win.
The Gunners looked to be cruising to victory after dominating the opening 45 minutes and netting through Andrey Arshavin and Samir Nasri.
But Villa were transformed in the second period and Ciaran Clark struck twice either side of Marouane Chamakh's 10th goal of the campaign before Jack Wilshere's injury-time clincher.
It enabled Arsene Wenger's side to end an unhappy week on a high note after the derby defeat by Tottenham and the Champions League setback away to Braga.
Arsenal played some superb flowing football with Arshavin and Nasri a constant threat.
But their soft under belly, which had seen them throw away a two-goal lead against Spurs, was almost exposed again.
Ashley Young posed more of a threat in the second period while Clark showed his potential.
Arsenal were almost gifted the lead in the opening 30 seconds after sloppy play by Stephen Warnock.
He played the ball straight into the path of Arshavin who released Chamakh inside the box.
Villa keeper Brad Friedel partially blocked the shot but it needed James Collins to make a goal-line clearance.
The Gunners were first to settle and Tomas Rosicky squandered a clearcut opening.
Nasri was the creator with a perfectly weighted pass to leave Rosicky with only Friedel to beat but he drilled his shot across the face of goal.
The Villa midfield was being by-passed by the quality passing and movement of Wenger's side.
Arsenal continued to dominate and Friedel saved from Rosicky away to his right although he did not make full contact on his shot.
Villa were being pulled apart almost at will and Arshavin had a shot deflected for a corner after exchanging passes with Chamakh.
Nasri dragged a shot just past the post as the home side hung on desperately.
It was 26 minutes before Villa created a worthwhile chance - and Ashley Young should have given them the lead.
Stewart Downing's dangerous, inswinging centre found it's way to Young unmarked inside the six yard box at the post but he sent his shot over the bar.
Vill tried to get a foothold in the game and Laurent Koscielny had to be alert to cut out a dangerous cross from the overlapping Warnock after good play by Bannan.
But it was no surprise when Arshavin put the Gunners ahead after 39 minutes.
Arshavin picked the ball up on the left and cut inside and past the challenge of Richard Dunne before firing a low shot into the far corner of the net.
Nasri could have made it 2-0 a minute later when he slipped the ball wide of Friedel but drilled his effort into the side netting.
Friedel made a superb save to keep out Chamakh's header from Bacary Sagna's cross.
But a minute before half-time Nasri made it 2-0 with a superb volley direct from Arshavin 's corner.
Houllier opted for a half-time change with Nathan Delfouneso replacing Robert Pires and giving support up front to John Carew.
After 52 minutes Clark reduced the arrears with his first senior goal for the club.
Bannan's cross was only half cleared by Sebastien Squillaci to Clark on the edge of the box and his left-footed drive flew past Lukasz Fabianski into the roof of the net.
Villa were transformed after their ineffective first half performance but in the 56th minute Chamakh restored Arsenal's two goal advantage.
Rosicky played the ball into the path of the striker who managed to flick the ball under Friedel's body.
Houllier brought on Stephen Ireland for Carew after 66 minutes.
Clark had a golden chance to net a second goal but screwed his shot wide from 10 yards out.
But after 71 minutes the youngster did strike again.
Ashley Young's corner was flicked on by Dunne and Clark forced the ball over the line.
Chamakh was yellow carded for a challenge on Dunne. Friedel denied Chamakh on the edge of the box after being freed by Arshavin.
But the Gunners looked nervy when Villa ventured forward in a tense finish.
Wilshere made it 4-2 from Chamakh's cross in injury-time.
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