The home side made the better start at the subdued Emirates, with Wilshere making the most of a poor back pass and racing towards the goal, only to shoot straight at Guzan.
Cazorla gave the moaning home fans reason to cheer in the sixth minute when his curling effort found its way past Guzan after Baker had blocked the Spaniard’s first shot.
Lambert was animated on the touchline and Villa responded: N’Zogbia tore down the right and pulled the ball back for Agbonlahor but Szczesny was there to make the save. Not to be deterred, the Frenchman galloped down the wing moments later but Agbonlahor was unable to keep pace with his team-mate and arrived too late to meet N’Zogbia’s cross.
Villa kept going forward and it took a last-gasp tackle from Vermaelen to deny Lowton after he nut-megged Diaby.
Arsenal’s passing was slack but Villa didn’t capitalise, seemingly in awe of the London side at times.
Arsenal had a chance to double their lead just before the break through Giroud but, thankfully, Guzan made the all-important save.
After the break, the Gunners were the dominant side, throwing men forward. This, however, left them vulnerable at the back and Weimann broke down the right, crossing for Agbonlahor, who headed wide.
Ramsey replaced the injured Diaby and added more sting to the home side – until Jenkinson’s failed clearance allowed Weimann to make a blazing 45 yard run and to beat Szczesny with a fairly feeble shot, levelling the game.
Benteke soon had a chance to grab another goal when he found himself in plenty of space but Mertesacker threw himself between the Belgian and the back post to deny Villa’s number 20.
An under-pressure Wenger brought Podolski on for Jenkinson and the team piled the pressure on Villa’s defence, getting lots of balls into the box. Guzan made a solid, close range save to deny Giroud but the home side continued to pile forward. As so often happens when Arsenal and Villa meet, the fans were treated to a late goal, which this afternoon was to decide the game. With mere minutes remaining, Cazorla converted an inswinging ball from Monreal to secure all three points for his team.