As Taylor blew the whistle to start Villa’s 2013-14 campaign, it was a sloppy start from the visitors, with Arsenal enjoying the lion’s share of possession.
In the sixth minute, the Gunners sliced open the Villa defence and Giroud opened the scoring, after Oxlade-Chamberlain crossed from the left allowing the French man to steal in between Vlaar and Baker.
In the 17th minute, Lambert was forced to replace Baker with Clark after Baker’s clash with Walcott.
Five minutes later, the visiting Villa drew level after a fantastic run by Agbonlahor, which saw him spurt past three Arsenal players only to be brought down by Szczesny when clean through.
The keeper was lucky to receive only a yellow card and went on to save Benteke’s penalty – only for the Belgian to head in the rebound.
It was the Villans’ first real effort of the half but they had flustered the Londoners and soon settled into the game.
Despite rattling Arsenal’s cage, Villa were still guilty of defensive lapses and substitute Clark had to hack at Walcott’s cross after a mix up between Guzan and Luna.
Szczesny then had his own mad moment as he raced out of his goal to clear Westwood’s shot, scrambling to make the save.
All square at the break, the suited Lambert was no doubt relieved.
Cazorla replaced Oxlade-Chamberlain for the start of the second half, the young Englishman having been injured in a challenge with Luna just before the break.
Arsenal came out all guns blazing for the restart and Rosicky soon fired the ball over the bar from the edge of the area.
A mere minute later, Delph was incredibly unlucky not to score as he rattled the inside of the post as the game continued its frenzied pace.
In the 61st minute, a penalty some have called controversial saw the Villans take the lead. An advancing Agbonlahor was felled by Koscielny and Big Ben stepped up to secure his second goal of the day from the spot.
Having been carded for the penalty, Koscielny was then given his marching orders six minutes later after a late challenge on Weimann.
Stunned, Arsenal found some form as they tried to fight back and Guzan was forced to save at Rosicky’s feet.
Holding the attacking Gunners, Guzan was the hero in the 78th minute when he turned acrobat to save Cazorla’s fierce volley.
With four minutes of normal time left to play, Luna broke clear through onto a fine Weimann pass and patted past Szczesny.
Today’s victory was Villa’s first opening day win since 2010, when the Villans beat West Ham 3-0.