Last Updated: 23/02/13 4:53pm
Arsenal 2 Aston Villa 1. Two goals from Cazorla see the Gunners over the line. They were made to work hard by Villa, but kept knocking on the door and were able to make their second half pressure tell.
All about keeping possession now for Arsenal, but Koscielny gives the ball away. One last push from Villa, but Lowton can't find Dawkins. Long ball forward from the back by Villa, but the ball bounces through to Szczesny.
Party tricks from Ramsey. Arsenal moving the ball from one side to the other. Podolski then drifts into space. He cuts the ball back, but Wilshere ends up sending a cross out of play for a goal kick. The clock ticks down.
Final change for Arsenal as they look to shut up shop. Walcott makes his way off, slowly, to be replaced by Koscielny. Gunners taking no chances.
Clark well forward for Villa, but a Dawkins cross can't find him. El Ahmadi then sends the ball wide to Weimann, who has drifted offside despite looking right along the line.
Cazorla working hard to close down in the final third. His efforts are rewarded as the ball runs loose to Walcott. He drills goalwards, but straight at Guzan.
Guzan hammers the ball long. Benteke wins the ball well in the air and finds Agbonlahor. He has Lowton moving outside him, but his low cross is gathered by Szczesny.
Arsenal now prepared to take their foot off the gas a little and start running down the clock. They aren't throwing everyone forward, despite calls from the crowd to keep pressing.
Szczesny able to gather as Lowton presses. Arsenal able to spring clear and release Walcott down their right. He has no options in the middle so shoots from a tight angle. Not his best, as the ball sails well wide.
Surely there is no way back now for Villa. They set out their stall to play for a point and have left themselves with virtually no time in which to find a leveller.
GOAL ARSENAL - CAZORLA. At last the pressure tells and Arsenal reclaim the lead. Wilshere feeds Monreal down the left and he centres for Cazorla to sweep home.
Villa struggling to clear, before Bennett lumps clear from in front of Arteta. Benteke can't make the ball stick and Arsenal come again. One-way traffic at the moment.
Cazorla drills across the face of goal, forcing Lowton to put the ball behind again. So many corners for Arsenal, but they are yet to make one count. This one doesn't either.
Dawkins, on loan from Tottenham is sent on by Villa. The forward-thinking N'Zogbia is sacrificed by Lambert. With play back underway, Giroud volleys behind when under no pressure. Wasteful.
Walcott delivers right onto the head of Giroud. He is unmarked six yards out, but nods right down the middle. Guzan able to touch the ball onto the crossbar and over. The second corner is put behind by Mertesacker.
Guzan has to move out of his box to clear, with the ball having slipped away from him. Arsenal come again. Wilshere hangs a cross towards Walcott from the left flank. Bennett glances behind. Corner to Arsenal, which results in another.
Ramsey bends a cross into the Villa box. Lowton at the back post to nod behind for a corner. Walcott trots over to take. His delivery is palmed to safety by Guzan.
In-play update from Skybet. Can the Gunners avoid another poor result? They are now 11/8 to beat Aston Villa, who are 10/1 to snatch all three points.
Giroud fires a tame shot straight at Guzan. Arsenal trying everything, but Villa are standing firm. There is, however, still a long time for them to hold out and they need to try and offer some sort of attacking threat.
Walcott in space on the right, but is forced inside. He finds Cazorla, but he has a collection of green shirts in front of him and sees one of them block his shot from just inside the box.
Change from Arsenal before the corner is taken, with Podolski sent on in place of Jenkinson. The set-piece comes to nothing.
Ramsey sweeps the ball across the pitch for Giroud. He sends over a volleyed cross, before getting the ball back and winning a corner.
Wenger now off the bench and he doesn't look too happy. He is the one coming in for criticism, but it is his defence that keeps letting him down. Can the Gunners make their pressure count?
N'Zogbia's delivery is easily dealt with by Arsenal. Jenkinson then slices a clearance across the edge of his own box. N'Zogbia collects again, but sends the ball behind Benteke.
First change by Villa sees Lambert make a like-for-like switch in midfield. El Ahmadi is thrown on in place of Westwood. As play continues, Benteke nods a hanging cross off Mertesacker for a corner.
Arsenal allowed to run the ball out from the back. Wilshere skips beyond Lowton, but gets too much on his cross. Jenkinson rescues the situation, but Baker gets a toe to his delivery. Villa defending manfully.
Bennett clears a Walcott cross and Villa look to counter again. They are now prepared to sit very deep and spring clear when the opportunity arises.
Arsenal straight back onto the front foot. Villa with so many bodies on the edge of their own box there is no way through. Ramsey looks to find Monreal out wide, but plays the ball straight out for a goal kick.
Arsenal keeper really should have done much better with that. Weimann's effort was well struck, but it wasn't right in the corner by any means. All square at the Emirates and all to play for!
GOAL VILLA - WEIMANN. Cazorla's corner is glanced on by Vermaelen, but away from those in the middle. Villa surge forward on the counter. Weimann carries the ball over halfway before drilling through Szczesny from 20 yards out.
Arteta over the free-kick for Arsenal. He swings the ball into the box, but Benteke is there again for Villa. Wilshere then pulls the ball back to Cazorla, who sees his shot blocked by a sprawling Lowton. Corner to Arsenal.
Giroud juggles the ball into the box, but his blocked off by three defenders. Ramsey tries his luck from distance, but sends the ball high, wide and not all that handsome. Opportunity for Villa to take a breather.
So close for Arsenal. Jenkinson gets to the dead-ball line and fires a dangerous delivery across the face of goal. Giroud stretches out a leg, but can't get a touch with the goal gaping. Arsenal camped on the edge of the Villa box.
Cazorla sees his strike blocked by Benteke in the Villa wall. Not the best of efforts as he didn't manage to get the ball beyond the wall. The Spaniard then loses the ball again when looking to move down the Arsenal left.
N'Zogbia nudges Ramsey in the back and Arsenal win a free-kick in a promising position - 30 yards from goal almost dead centre. Plenty of willing takers.
Diaby has headed straight down the tunnel clutching his thigh. For a man who has struggled badly with injuries throughout his time at Arsenal, that does not bode well. On the field, Walcott wastes a crossing opportunity as he fires low into Bennett.
Arsenal make their first change of the afternoon, with Diaby making way for Ramsey. No change in the Gunners' approach.
Mertesacker at walking pace for Arsenal, waiting for movement ahead of him. The hosts are prepared to be patient in their build-up. Benteke then fouls Vermaelen as he tries to get the ball back.
Villa able to spring clear on the counter. Weimann hangs a decent cross to the back post. Agbonlahor meets the delivery, but saw the ball late and sends his header well wide of the post.
Wilshere breaking through the middle and finding Walcott. He returns the ball to Wilshere, who sees an effort deflect behind for a corner. Stacking up now for the Gunners. Wilshere takes himself. He finds Giroud, who loops a header into the hands of Guzan.
Wilshere over this one. Benteke gets enough of a touch at the near post to glance clear. Cazorla collects and runs at the Villa defence. A drilled effort from the edge of the area forces Guzan into a low save.
Lowton tries too much and is picked off well up field. Arsenal look to counter at pace. The move loses momentum and Villa pull men back. Baker then slices a Jenkinson cross behind for yet another corner.
Baker slides across the path of Giroud to concede another corner. Walcott over another set-piece for the Gunners. His delivery slips between Mertesacker and Arteta. Villa able to clear their lines.
N'Zogbia breaks down the Villa right. He fails to feed the ball into the feet of Benteke and Cazorla can run it clear. The Spaniard has shown a few nice touches in the last few minutes and appears to be enjoying himself.
Giroud pulls wide. He fires a cross into Lowton, who has the wind taken out of him for a moment. Corner to Arsenal. Cazorla delivers, onto the head of Benteke. Cazorla tries again, but puts the ball fractionally too high for Mertesacker.
Wilshere makes inroads down the Arsenal left. He dinks a ball into the box, but only into the grateful arms of Guzan. Arsenal asking questions at the start of the second half.
Jenkinson does well to slip his man and feed a pass down the channel towards Giroud. The ball has just too much on it and runs through to Guzan. Nice idea.
Giroud plays a clever one-two with Cazorla and is clear on goal. The angle is closing on him, but he slashes wildly at the ball and fires well off target. Poor finish from the Frenchman, who had Walcott square of him.
Diaby drops the shoulder and glides into the box. He sends the ball wide to Walcott, who crosses first time. He can't find Giroud, but Monreal collects on the left. He sends the ball back into the box, but once again Giroud is unable to connect.
N'Zogbia delivers. Weimann and Benteke unable to get a telling touch. Villa win a second corner as the ball glances of Cazorla. Westwood over this one. Clark rises highest in the middle, but plants a free header high over the crossbar. Decent chance.
Worth noting there were no changes by either side at the interval so we are as you were. Expect both managers to mix things up once we reach the hour mark. On the pitch, Agbonlahor forces a corner off Jenkinson.
Arteta forced to poke the ball back to Szczesny, who has to volley clear as Benteke closes him down. Arsenal then stride forward, but Jenkinson sees a cross blocked by Bennett.
Players back out for the second half and we are ready for the off once more. Still feel there are more goals to come.
Jack Card says: 'I think so far it's going very well for Arsenal but I think they need a goal or two more just to get the game in the bag, all though Arsenal are mostly in Villa's half they need to work on they're shots to get a secure win.'
Rafee Ahmed says: 'Arsenal have played well this match, they need to produce this kind of solid performances in Europe and more in the BPL than other teams will fear them more still think AV will come back to draw this match..1-1.'
Eoin Martin says: 'Arsenal have done well so far with the early goal but I believe Villa could get a draw or even a win. UTV!!!'
Ryan Gutteridge says: 'Second half going good with early goal think we the Gunners will knock in a few more.'
Kieran Jameson says: 'I really enjoy reading your commentary and I think it will be mostly Arsenal and will finish 2-1 to Arsenal!'
Remember you can also bet in-play at Skybet.com. Arsenal are now 1/12 to take the spoils, with Villa 33/1 and the draw 7/1. You can get 4/1 on Arsenal to win 3-0.
How do you see the second half going? Get your thoughts in to Chris.Burton@bskyb.com or @SkySportsChrisB.
Arsenal 1 Aston Villa 0. Cazorla's early strike is the difference at the interval. Plenty of attacking intent from both sides and this could still go either way.
Westwood whips the ball into the box, where Diaby rises to clear. The ball drops to Clark, but his cross-shot finds Arteta. N'Zogbia tries again, but Cazorla blocks his path and releases Monreal.
Westwood allowed to carry the ball a long way. Arsenal get numbers back. Wilshere rushes into a challenge on Bennett. Free-kick to Villa 40 yards from goal.
Guzan takes an age with a free-kick. Play eventually back underway, with Mertesacker playing Arsenal out from the back. Jenkinson with a misplaced pass down their right which runs out of play.
Arteta with time and space 25 yards out. His shot is blocked, but the ball runs to Giroud. He looks to pull the trigger from just inside the box, but fires into Lowton. Brave defending from the visitors.
Wilshere delivers from wide on the Arsenal left. His free-kick is met by Baker and Villa can spring forward. Weimann leads the charge, but Jenkinson does really well to force him wide before nicking the ball off his toe.
Cazorla with a great pass into Monreal. His cross makes its way to Wilshere. He twists and turns before firing into the head of Baker. Villa can't clear their lines and Agbonlahor ends up tripping Wilshere.
Wilshere into the feet of Giroud. He plays a neat one-two with Cazorla and gets a sight of goal. Guzan does well to block, before Giroud puts the rebound into the side-netting from a tight angle.
Teasing cross from Monreal. The ball just evades Giroud, before being met by Bennett. Villa can't keep the ball inside Arsenal's half.
Agbonlahor glances the ball down the left wing for Villa, but has no-one running off him. Arsenal back into their passing stride in the middle of the park.
Benteke glances on to Weimann, who returns the favour. Arteta is able to volley clear for the hosts. Arsenal have nothing up top and the ball ends up with Guzan.
Diaby slips, but does well to remain in possession. He ends up being outnumbered and sees yellow for hacking down N'Zogbia. Nowhere near the ball and he offers no complaint.
Agbonlahor felled as Villa look to catch Arsenal on the counter. Free-kick is sent long, and knocked out of play by Monreal. Lowton surges forward, but knocks the ball too far. He catches Vermaelen as he tries to catch up with the ball. Villa full-back is booked.
Wilshere leads Arsenal forward once more. He invites Monreal forward. The full-back cuts inside onto his right foot and scuffs a tame effort along the turf and into the arms of Guzan.
Wilshere turns 25 yards from goal and looks for Giroud. Solid from Lowton as he cuts out the pass and allows Villa to hammer clear. Arteta then plays a second pass of the afternoon straight out of play. Unlike him.
Walcott unable to chase down a long ball aimed in his direction on this occasion. Wenger remains rooted to the bench at the moment, while Lambert is out bouncing around his technical area. Quite a contrast between the two bosses.
Flag up against Giroud. He looked to be in for a moment. Villa got their offside trap spot on. N'Zogbia off and running again. He needs to get his head up more as he once again runs into a tackle.
Walcott into the box and able to work a yard of space. He sends a left-footed effort curling goalwards, but it won't bend back enough and drifts wide of the upright.
Monreal well forward down the Arsenal left, but sends the ball back to Diaby rather than cross. The Gunners lose possession and Villa can counter. N'Zogbia cut off by a perfectly-timed tackle from Vermaelen.
Giroud sends Agbonlahor tumbling. No need for him to come back and get involved, Westwood floats the free-kick into the box, where Vermaelen can nod clear.
Villa looking more confident as the game goes on. Since falling behind they have been fairly solid. N'Zogbia trying to get them back into the tie, but he slips on the edge of the Arsenal box.
Diaby fells Delph on halfway. Villa opt against sending the free-kick long. When they do look forward, Bennett sends the ball straight into the hands of Szczesny.
Weimann was sent clear in behind Monreal again. He cut the ball back to N'Zogbia, who drilled low towards the bottom corner. Decent save from Szczesny. Arsenal take their turn to attack, but Wilshere suffers a rush of blood as he sends a half-volley high into the stands.
Another display of Walcott's pace as he chases down a seemingly lost cause. He is happy to hook the ball back from the dead-ball line, but to no-one. Villa break and N'Zogbia forces Szczesny into a smart stop. Arsenal bundle the loose ball to safety.
Villa prepared to knock the ball along their back four. Delph then takes a bit of risk as he tries to round Giroud 25 yards from his own goal. He just about gets away with it.
Misplaced pass from Delph offers Weimann no chance as the ball sails over his head and into the crowd. Diaby collects very deep for Arsenal, with Villa looking to play a higher line.
Game slowed down again. It is being played in bursts, with either side taking it in turns to attack and then sit. Expect more goals in this.
Wilshere breaks past Westwood and finds Cazorla. He drifts inside from the left, but is unable to lay the ball back into the path of Wilshere. One end to the other as Lowton sends a cross towards Benteke, who is offside.
N'Zogbia back on his feet and will be okay to continue. Arsenal back on the ball in midfield. Wilshere looking to get involved as often as possible. No surprises there.
Walcott delivers, but everyone in a red shirt goes to the near post and the ball is sent long to the back stick. Breakdown in communication, or a poor delivery. Villa surge forward and N'Zogbia stays down after being caught by Mertesacker. Looks like the Arsenal defender stood on the Villa winger's toe.
Villa forced backwards, but they keep the ball. A long ball over the top makes it over the head of Mertesacker, but skids through to Szczesny. Arsenal look to counter through Walcott. Cazorla's cross from the left is deflected behind for a corner.
Agbonlahor shows good strength, bringing Delph into play. Arsenal now sitting very deep and inviting Villa onto them. They should be the ones forcing the issue on home soil.
N'Zogbia allowed to turn and move forward in the middle of the park. He runs straight into Jenkinson. Villa starting to see more of the ball.
Benteke unable to hold the ball up and bring others into play. Cazorla sends a long ball down the Arsenal right for Walcott to chase. His pace gets him to the ball, but his cross can't pick out the head of Giroud. Up the other end and Agbonlahor throws himself at a low cross to no avail.
Arsenal at walking pace again. Villa prepared to sit deep and let the home side have the ball. Arteta then puts a pass intended for Jenkinson out of play. Not what you expect to see from the Gunners.
Wilshere slides a pass towards Walcott, but Bennett reads his intention well and intercepts. Both sides looking to get in behind in wide areas.
Arsenal trying to force the issue at times. Diaby this time with a wayward pass, which he is fortunate to see bounce back to him. You can see the home side are a little nervy, even with the one-goal lead.
Arsenal leaving gaping holes down the flanks, with Monreal pushing too far forward. Villa put another dangerous ball into the box, which flashes past the head of Benteke. The Villa striker can collect wide on the left, but can't find a way around Jenkinson.
Space for Wilshere again 25 yards from goal. He finds Walcott this time, and his cross is only half-cleared. Villa rocking as Arsenal press. Wilshere then gives the ball away and N'Zogbia races clear on the counter. He finds Agobonlahor, who stings the fingers of Szczesny from the edge of the box.
Lowton goes over Monreal's leg, as he left it hanging inside the box. No contact and Martin Atkinson waves play on. Walcott then caught by a late challenge from Bennett. Arsenal slow things down in midfield.
N'Zogbia combines well with Weimann down the Villa left. N'Zogbia looks to shoot from a tight angle, but fires at Jenkinson. He had options in the centre but chose to ignore them. Villa forced to go all the way back to Baker as Arsenal regroup.
Wenger off his feet to applaud the flying start from his side. Just what the game needed to open it up. Villa now have to come out of their shell, while Arsenal will want more.
GOAL ARSENAL - CAZORLA. Wilshere sends the ball wide to Cazorla. His first effort is blocked, but the ball returns to him. He makes no mistake second time around as he drills under Guzan with his right foot from 12 yards out. Perfect start for the hosts.
Villa able to walk the ball up to halfway. First spell of possession they have enjoyed. They look to get as many players involved as possible, working the ball from left to right. Lowton looks to make a move forward, but can't get out of his own half.
No way down the Villa right for N'Zogbia. Wilshere is sprung into space in behind. The angle is tight as he makes his way into the box and his shot is easily blocked by Guzan. Villa marking all over the place there.
Villa getting 10 men behind the ball, with only Benteke left up top. Arsenal looking to move bodies around. Diaby finds a yard of space on the right, but slices an attempted cross from deep behind for a goal kick.
Baker across to block a run to the dead-ball line from Jenkinson. Villa able to clear their lines, but the ball runs out of play on halfway. Wilshere darts down the middle, but Cazorla can't keep the move going.
Arsenal looking to knock the ball around early on. Likely that they will see plenty of it, even with Villa naming an attacking side. Jenkinson well forward down the Arsenal right, while Wilshere is already buzzing around midfield.
Players out at a chilly Emirates. Pre-match formalities underway. Plenty of expectation around the ground today, but also plenty of pressure and nervous tension. Stan Kroenke in attendance today and will be expecting an improved performance from the hosts.
Teams are in the tunnel so we will have to leave the feedback there for now. There will be further opportunities to have your say at half-time and at the final whistle.
Players head back to the dressing rooms. Last chance for Wenger and Lambert to get their point across. Both could so with a positive result this afternoon.
Meanwhile, Ryan Gutteridge says: 'Aston Villa 1-0 half time, Arsenal 2-1 full time. Aston Villa to get the backfire.'
Alex Bullions thinks this will be a close contest, saying: 'Arsenal need a win but they will struggle and it will end 1-1.'
Jon Adams sees things slightly differently, saying: 'Arsenal need this else it's curtains for the season. I'll go for a Gunners win 2-0. I hope...'
Rafee Ahmed thinks the home side's struggles will continue, saying: 'This is the best chance for Aston Villa to get something at Arsenal who are really struggling and with Benteke & N'Zogbia in form I think AV will win at Arsenal or maybe get a draw today... just can't see Arsenal winning today.'
Half an hour until kick-off at the Emirates. Keep your pre-match thoughts coming in to Chris.Burton@bskyb.com or @SkySportsChrisB.
No Darren Bent or Stephen Ireland in the Villa squad today. Plenty of experience between them, but Paul Lambert has once again decided to overlook them. Could that prove costly against an Arsenal side which should be well up for this?
Sebastian Quarterman sees the Gunners getting back on track today. He says: 'Arsenal back to winning ways today, 3-1, Giroud getting 2 and Walcott the other. Proper left back will make a big difference.'
Aston Villa team: Guzan, Lowton, Clark, Baker, Bennett, Westwood, Delph, Agbonlahor, Weimann, N'Zogbia, Benteke. Subs: Marshall, El Ahmadi, Holman, Sylla, Bowery, Dawkins, Lichaj.
Arsenal team: Szczesny, Jenkinson, Mertesacker, Vermaelen, Monreal, Arteta, Diaby, Wilshere, Walcott, Giroud, Cazorla. Subs: Mannone, Koscielny, Rosicky, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ramsey, Gervinho, Podolski.
Karim Martin is quickest out of the blocks, saying: 'Arsenal's confidence is shaken and it looks like Villa will take advantage of this with a 2-0 win. Benteke to get a brace!'
You can also bet in-play throughout the afternoon at Skybet.com. Arsenal are a short price to bounce back from an abysmal week, with Sky Bet going 1/3 on for a home win. However, the Gunners have conceded the second highest number of home goals outside the bottom five, while Villa possess the worst defensive record on the road this season, so backing goals could be the way to go, with over 3.5 available at evens and over 4.5 priced at 9/4.
Can Arsenal get back to winning ways or will Villa pile yet more pressure on Arsene Wenger's shoulders? Who can we expect to catch the eye this afternoon? Let me know your thoughts.
Feel free to offer your opinion on how today's game might go by contacting me direct at Chris.Burton@bskyb.com or @SkySportsChrisB.
Four points from their last two fixtures have lifted Villa out of the drop zone, by a point, but they know there is still a lot of work to be done if they are to preserve their top-flight status.
Aston Villa, meanwhile, are still concerning themselves with events at the opposite end of the table.
The Gunners have, however, won three of their last four in the league and could close to within a point of fourth-placed Tottenham with victory this afternoon.
It has been another tough week for Arsenal, with disappointing setbacks suffered in the FA Cup and UEFA Champions League.