Opinion

A Look Back at Arsene vs Aston Villa: Five Key Games

Earlier today it was announced that Arsene Wenger would be ending his tenure as Arsenal manager. As a look back on his tenure, I’ve dived into the archives to find five key games the Frenchman has managed against Villa.

13th December 1998 – Aston Villa 3-2 Arsenal

How different things were twenty years ago. Villa turned around a 2-0 first-half deficit to win 3-2 over Arsene Wenger’s side, propelling them to top spot in the Premier League, or the Premiership as it was known back then. Dennis Bergkamp’s double had given Arsenal the lead, before a skydiving accident which would eventually lead to Nigel Rogoff having his leg amputated extended the half-time break by 15 minutes. Julian Joachim got one back for John Gregory’s team with a cool outside of the foot finish. Three minutes later Dion Dublin levelled proceedings before grabbing the winner with seven minutes to spare, controlling a corner before hammering the ball into the roof of the net. Villa were top, but it wouldn’t last.

19th August 2006 – Arsenal 1-1 Aston Villa

It was all change for Villa in the summer of 2006, with a new owner in Randy Lerner and a new manager in Martin O’Neil. The same could be said for Arsenal, who were hosting Villa in their first top division match at the Emirates Stadium. And Arsene Wenger looked to be giving Villa a welcome gift when Olof Mellberg rose above Jens Lehmann to head in. That lead would last until the 84th minute mark, when Gilberto powered in to prevent Arsenal blushes. Nevertheless, O’Neil was still pleased with the result, describing it as a big boost of confidence.

15th November 2008 – Arsenal 0-2 Aston Villa

It was all falling in to place for Gabriel Agbonlahor on the 15th November 2008. The striker was enjoying a prolific season in front of goal and was called up to the England squad to face Germany on that day, and I haven’t even started on the game yet! Ashley Young’s penalty was saved in the first-half, but made amends when Gael Clichy headed the winger’s cross into his own net. Then it was that man Agbonlahor who put the icing on the cake. The striker took advantage of Martin Laursen’s long ball, before making light work of William Gallas and slotting the ball under Manuel Almunia.

17th August 2013 – Arsenal 1-3 Aston Villa

Expectations going into the 2013-14 season for Arsenal and Villa were contrasting to say the least. Arsenal fans were berating their clubs transfer policy after signing Yaya Sanogo and no one else (although they would sign Mesut Ozil in the following month), while some, dare I say most Villa fans were excited at the prospect of a season with Paul Lambert and a young exciting side. Olivier Giroud opened the scoring for the home side, but Villa kicked in to gear; winning two penalties which Christian Benteke would profit from. To top it off, new boy Antonio Luna found the bottom corner late on, giving Wojciech Szczesny the eyes in the process, thus sending Villa into dreamland!

15th May 2016 – Arsenal 4-0 Aston Villa

A season of drab football and little attacking action from Villa was sparked into life by Tim Sherwood who arrived in February 2015, and Villa would overcome Liverpool in the semi-final of the 2015 FA Cup thanks to a Jack Grealish masterclass two months later. However, our second FA Cup final in fifteen years wouldn’t give Villa fans the jubilation they had felt in the semi. Theo Walcott thundered in the Gunners first, before Alexis Sanchez scored an even better goal five minutes into the second half. Per Mertesacker and Giroud sealed the deal later to compound Villa misery. To make things worse for me personally it was my 18th birthday, believe me I’ve had better birthdays since then!

Words by Harry Trend (@HazaTrand) // Follow us on Twitter (@claretandview)

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