• Aston Villa 1-2 Arsenal, Premier League

Wenger hails 'vital' win, Lambert pleased with response

ESPN staff
January 13, 2014
Jack Wilshere gave Arsenal the lead at Villa Park © Getty Images

Arsene Wenger described Arsenal's 2-1 victory over Aston Villa as "vital" and was pleased to see his team show various qualities in a hard fought battle at Villa Park.

Quickfire goals from Jack Wilshere and Olivier Giroud saw the Gunners hold a two-nil lead at half time in Birmingham, before the visitors endured a barrage from Villa during the second half.

Christian Benteke gave Paul Lambert's side hope with fifteen minutes remaining - his first goal in four months - but Arsenal defended resolutely to earn all three points and return to the top of the Premier League, much to their manager's pleasure.

"It was vital because the first half was more about playing, and the second half was more about fighting," Wenger told Sky Sports. "They made it very physical, put the ball up high in the air and we had a very good resilient performance in the second half. Overall we have shown again both sides of the game."

Meanwhile, Lambert was happy with the response from his team after seeing them go two goals down. Defender Nathan Baker was stretchered off after feeling the full force of a Serge Gnabry shot, which the Villa boss admitted affected his players.

"Nathan Baker was concussed, he took a blow to the side of his head," Lambert said. "That was dangerous and it rocked us a bit, we had worked all week on the system but thankfully he's a lot better. He throws himself into things, that's what he does.

"Second half we were excellent, we looked great and a real threat. We were lifted by the goal, it's not easy playing Arsenal, they are title contenders but everybody can see we gave them a game. You have to give us credit. We came into it but we might have snuck a draw."

Nathan Baker was stretchered off after being hit in the face by Serge Gnabry's shot © Getty Images
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