Arsenal needed just 6 minutes to get their campaign up and running at the Emirate Stadium, but a loss of concentration saw them concede two penalties, ending the match with just ten men after Laurent Koscielny had been sent off.
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Olivier Giroud ran to the near post to meet an excellent cross from the left from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and swept into the net to place Arsene Wenger’s men in the ascendancy.
Wojciech Szczesny brought down Gabriel Agbonlahor in the 21st minute to hand the visitors their first penalty.
Christian Benteke stepped up and scuffed a side-footed shot, kept out by Szczesny, but the Belgian forced home a header from the loose ball from close range to level up scores.
“We felt good going in, confident and started well. But we dropped our level. We tried to pick it up again but they got the penalty,” Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere said after the game.
Tomas Rosciky almost got the hosts in the lead 10 minutes into the second-half after a one-two with Wilshere, but the Czech leaned back and fired over the top.
Seven minutes after Villa’s midfielder, Fabian Delph, hit the woodwork, Koscielny did a sliding tackle on Agbonlanhor, who was running at a predatory speed in the Arsenal defence, and ended up conceding a debatable penalty. Benteke took a low spot-kick into the corner and placed Aston Villa ahead.
“It is understandable, they pay their money to watch us and we need to put in better performance and win games. My message to them is to stick with us- it’s a long season,” Wilshere said, on seeing many Arsenal fans leave very early and then the boos at the final whistle.
Moments after giving away the debatable penalty, Frenchman Koscielny saw his second yellow and his matching orders for a rash challenge on Andreas Weimann.
The Gunners pushed for an equaliser but left huge gaps at the back for the trio of Benteke, Weimann and Agbonlahor to launch a counter attack with.
Rosicky was then denied by goalkeeper Brad Guzan before Antonio Luna slotted a low strike from 20 yard into the bottom corner, after a clever pass from Weimann to place the game beyond Wenger’s side.