FT: Arsenal 1 Aston Villa 3


Lukas Podolski comes on for the closing stages of the match in place of Sagna.

Villa hoof the ball up field for Bacuna chase, but the ball has too much pace on it.

Play resumes but still no breakthrough for Arsenal, who are in action again in the week as they take part in Champions League qualification.

With three minutes of added time signaled, play comes to a halt for a dazed Sagna to receive medical attention.

A understandably pent-up lull has descended upon an fast-emptying Emirates Stadium with a few supporters still looking to make their point to Wenger.

Wiemann comes off for Leandro Bacuna to make his first appearance for the new top-flight term.

Clock is winding down the Gunners in terms of clawing their way back into the match.

Some unsavoury chants from the home fans directed at longstanding manager Wenger in the wake of their imminent poor start to the new campaign.

GOAL! With Arsenal exposed at the back, Luna drills in unopposed after a neat through-ball from Wiemann.

Villa satisfied to sit back and absorb Arsenal's thrusts, although Benteke and Agbonlahor still look full of running up front for the Midlanders.

Ramsey tries his luck from out in front, but he never really got a hold on the shot and Guzan easily gets down to his right to gather.

No luck for the Gunners today as Wilshere's penalty appeal after Vlaar impedes his run into the box is overlooked by the on-field official.

Benteke flashes his shot at the post across the face of goal after a great pass from Wiemann.

Benteke and Wiemann almost combine for Villa's third goal as the visitors look to capitalise on the space at the back from an attacking Arsenal.

Cazorla picks up a caution for a loose challenge.

Guzan does incredibly well to keep out Cazorla's shot at the near post with a great reflex save.

Even with Ramsey filling in at centre-back, a ten-man Gunners outfit are not giving up front.

Arsenal working the ball around the box but can't crack a determined Villa defensive line.

The Gunners look to launch an attack from the back with Mertesacker hoping to inspire his team with a lumbering run.

What more do the hosts need to do to pull themselves back on level terms as they continue to press up field.

Lovely football from the Gunners as they move the ball into the box for Rosicky to finish, but the final scoring touch alludes him once more as Guzan gets low.

Arsenal camped inside Villa's half of the pitch as they throw everything at the Paul Lambert's troops.

Jenkinson pushing up field and looking to find Giroud in the box from the right, but Guzan scoops up his low cross.

Walcott's attempt on goal from a free-kick drift to the right of Guzan.

Down to ten men for the remainder of the match, Wenger's men have it all to do against a Villa outfit now happy to sit back and attack on the counter.

Problems for Arsenal as Koscielny is given his marching orders, with his harsh yellow card for the second Villa penalty the clincher.

Getting a little scrappy now as Benteke's break is blown up by the referee for an earlier challenge from Koscielny.

Ashley Westwood sees yellow for a rash tackle on Ramsey.

Rosicky and Giroud look to combine in the final third, but in the end it is comfortable clearance for Villa.

A fired-up Gunners front-line surge forward, but their latest foray is quelled.

Against the run of play and Villa are ahead on the scoreboard, with the hosts now needing to do the chasing.

GOAL! Benteke makes no mistake as he fires the Villans in front, must to Arsene Wenger's frustrations.

Oh dear, as the referee once more points to the spot after Koscielny's marginal tackle from behind on Agbonlahor.

Benteke goes into the referee's book for a late tackle on Koscielny.

The Gunners dominating possession thus far in the second 45 minutes, but it is what they do with it that is going to count at the end of the day.

Benteke dropping deeper and deeper into the midfield to fetch the ball.

Cazorla and Giroud both fail with their half-chances on goal.

Arsenal working the ball through the phases as they press further up the park.

Matthew Lowton should feel a bit fortunate to get away with his late barge on Wilshere.

A lively start to second stanza with both teams showing enterprise going forward.

Delph with his head in his hands as he is forced to watch his good strike on goal bounce off the post.

Rosicky does brilliantly to get himself into the box, but his attempt on goal is poor by his standards.

Lovely ball from Walcott to pick out Giroud inside the area, but he can't get his shot off to the pass justice.

Decent ball forward for Giroud but he can't direct his header towards Walcott and Guzan gathers with ease.

Villa doing well to keep the pressure on Arsenal when not in possession, with Wilshere again losing his cool after a rough challenge.

Benteke does well to turn on the ball and lose his marker, but his searching pass for Wiemann is intercepted.

Cazorla looking to get involved early as he exchanges passes with Wilshere going forward.

Santi Cazorla joins the fray in place of Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Arsenal get the second half under way!


Oxlade-Chamberlain and Luna are back on their feet but the latter receives a caution for his troubles.

Oxlade-Chamberlain and Luna both come off rather worse-for-wear as they collided with one another in a slide for the ball.

Clark does well to head the ball back to Guzan after Chamberlain's searching ball into the box for Walcott.

The Gunners pushing forward in earnest as they look to end the first half as strong as they started it.

Four minutes of added time is signaled by the touch official.

Giroud sets up Oxlade-Chamberlain inside the box, but the attacking midfielder skies his weak attempt on goal from the left.

Giroud applauds his team-mates effort to release him up front with a searching ball into the final third.

Agbonlahor working tirelessly for Villa up front as he chaes a hopeful forward.

Walcott sets up Giroud at the near post from the right, but the latter's header on goal is blocked.

Aaron Ramsey goes down for a free-kick for the Gunners after Agbonlahor's trip from behind.

Wilshere's free-kick from deep is meant for Per Mertesacker in the 18-yard area, but the ball is cleared by the Villa defence.

Sagna hobbles back on the field of play after some treatment on the sidelines.

More concern for Arsenal as Bacary Sagna stays down after a tough challenge.

Szczesny's acrobatic save at his near post caps off a moment of madness after he rushed way out the box to challenge Benteke on the ball.

Arsenal now in possession and trying to find their early-half effervescence.

Walcott almost makes something out of nothing after he almost gets around Luna and Guzan, with the latter scrambling low to gather a loose ball.

After a good start to the encounter, the Gunners look to have dropped off the pace slightly.

Jenkinson hacks a ball forward for Benteke clear and back up field.

Brad Guzan does well to punch the set-piece delivery clear.

Vlaar picks up a yellow card as the Gunners get a good attacking free-kick on the left.

Jack Wilshere takes exception to Ron Vlaar's mistimed tackle on him.

It is official as Jenkinson takes to the park in place of Gibbs, who makes his way down the tunnel with a bloody forehead.

Gibbs is up on his feet but does not look to good with Carl Jenkinson stripping down on the sidelines.

Wiemann looks to have shrugged off his knock, but not so for Gibbs, with the home fans looking worried already as the stretcher makes its way on to the field.

Yet another stop in play as Gibbs stays down after a clash of heads with Andy Wiemann.

A frustrated Giroud is called aside by the referee after he felt he didn't foul Luna in a challenge for the ball on the edge of the box.

It is all square in North London and we now have a game on!

GOAL! Benteke makes up for a poor penalty that Szczesny saves to his right, with the ball bouncing up for the Belgian ace to head home.

The referee points to the spot after Agbonlahor's terrific run into the box is brought to an end by Wojciech Szczesny.

Walcott tries to hang the ball up for Giroud at the far post, but his delivery is just too deep for the Frenchman.

Oxlade-Chamberlain takes up a good position to shoot from out in front from Walcott's ball, but his effort is blocked by Clark.

Walcott tries to get in behind Antonio Luna out on the right, but the Villa is up to the task and clears the danger.

Baker's contribution is over for the day as Ciaran Clark takes his place in the line-up on the pitch.

Villa forcing play back into Arsenal's half as Baker once more needs medical treatment for a blow to the head.

The Gunners back in possession as Rosicky tries find Giroud out wide, but the goalscorer loses the ball in the air.

Fabian Delph looks to create some momentum on attack, only to hit a brick-wall in Arsenal's back-line.

The visitors seeing a bit more of the ball now, but the door is quickly shut for them as they look to force an opening.

The Villans try to push up strongly, but the Gunners' defensive lines hold strong.

Gabriel Agbonlahor does well to get down the left for Villa, but his ball into the box is cleared with Benteke too late with his run.

The referee has a word with Rosicky after another late challenge from the midfielder.

Play resumes with both players back in action.

Stoppage in a play for Baker to receive treatment, with Theo Walcott limping around on the touchlines.

Villa shocked early on and will now have to chase the game, but the home side look to have a spring their step.

GOAL! Olivier Giroud with a superb finish after a great delivery from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain off his good break down the left.

Another foul from Arsenal with Laurent Koscielny taking out Christian Benteke.

An overzealous Tomas Rosicky gives away the first free-kick with a foul on Nathan Baker.

Villa manage to clear their lines from the first corner-kick of the match from the Gunners.

Good start from the hosts as Kieran Gibbs pushes forward down the left.

The match is under way!

Looking forward to the start of the season need a good start today v villa think we will score within 20 min and win easy 3 nil but need to add 3 or 4 to our squad Brian Louth Ireland

I think it will be 2-1 Arsenal we have a good squad of players that still needs some strengthening but we are good enough to win this one! Arsenal fan from Essex, Danny Boy

As an Arsenal fan, I normally have to wait until November before the frustration sets in - so it looks like that's the only thing Arsenal have sorted out for me early this season!! I'm gonna stay positive though - 3-0 to the gooners - Walcott (2) & Giroud. Thanks, Liam Ryan, Waterford, Ireland

Feel free to e-mail your thoughts or predictions to devin.hermanus@teamtalkmedia.com and we'll publish as many of them before - and during - the game as possible.

For Villa, summer signing Antonio Luna starts in defence, with fellow newcomers Jores Okore and Aleksandar Tonev on the bench. Benteke, the Villans' topscorer last term, will lead the attack along side Gabriel Agbonlahor and Andreas Weimann.

Theo Walcott has shrugged off a knee injury suffered while on international duty with England on Wednesday to start for the Gunners, but Santi Cazorla, who played a 90 minutes for Spain in midweek, will play off the bench. However, Mikel Arteta has failed a late fitness test and is ruled out, with per Mertesacker taking over as captain. Also, Nacho Monreal is not yet at full fitness and Thomas Vermaelen and Abou Diaby remain long-term absentees.

Arsenal are rated at 2/5 to beat Aston Villa today according to our friends at Sky Bet, with Villa at 7/1 to emerge victorious, while it is 15/4 for the match to end in a draw. Theo Walcott is 4/1 to score first and 5/1 to secure a brace, with Christian Benteke at 100/1 to net a hat-trick. Also, the Gunners are 10/1 to win the Premier League title outright this season and 8/13 to finish in the top four once again.

Villa, meanwhile, know they will need a much improved performance this time round, having only narrowly avoided relegation last season after finishing five points above 18th. Paul Lambert's side have, however, gone from strength-to-strength in the past month, having started their pre-season tour with four successive draws followed by defeat, only to then go on a run of four straight victories, notching up 15 goals along the way and conceding just three.

The Gunners enter the campaign on the back of yet another trophyless finish, having last lifted a piece of silverware in 2005 - the FA Cup - but do have Champions League football to show for their work last term after pipping Tottenham to fourth. A promising pre-season campaign ended on a high for Arsene Wenger's men when they saw off Manchester City 3-1 in a friendly in Helsinki, and they will now be looking to turn that momentum into points and begin the new campaign with a win.

Good afternoon, I'm Devin Hermanus and I'll be taking you through all the action as Arsenal host Aston Villa at the Emirates Stadium. Kick-off is scheduled for 1500 BST.

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