Football: Villa downs Arsenal 2-0

Arsenal's William Gallas, left, is challenged for the ball by Aston Villa's Curtis Davies during their English Premier League soccer match at Arsenal's Emirates Stadium in London. Photo by AP.
Arsenal's William Gallas, left, is challenged for the ball by Aston Villa's Curtis Davies during their English Premier League soccer match at Arsenal's Emirates Stadium in London. Photo by AP.
Aston Villa striker Gabriel Agbonlahor scored a late goal to seal a 2-0 victory over Arsenal on Saturday, ending a decade-long drought for Villa against the Gunners and putting the teams level on points in the Premier League.

Arsenal left back Gael Clichy headed into his own net in the 70th minute to give Villa the lead. Villa striker Ashley Young bent the ball into the area for Agbonlahor, but Clichy was under pressure and futilely tried to head the ball out.

Agbonlahor then made a strong run in the 80th minute and fired a right-footed shot past Arsenal goalkeeper Manuel Almunia.

Young could have given Villa the lead in the first half, but missed a penalty in the 20th.

Aston Villa's last league win against Arsenal came at Villa Park on Dec. 13, 1998 in a match that ended 3-2. Villa and Arsenal both have 23 points, with the Gunners ahead in fourth place on goal difference. It was a huge letdown for Arsenal, who beat Manchester United 2-1 last week and looked to keep the momentum to keep pace with league leaders Chelsea and Liverpool.

But now United jumped above Arsenal into third place with a game in hand after a 5-0 victory over Stoke. Arsenal's title hopes appear to be fading quickly - the Gunners are now nine points behind Liverpool, which have 32 points after a 2-0 victory over Bolton.

In the 20th minute, Almunia went the right way and saved Young's penalty after Theo Walcott brought down the winger in the penalty area. Arsenal defender William Gallas hacked the ball clear after Young scrambled to get to the rebound.

Gareth Barry, who is Villa's normal penalty-taker, was injured in the play that led up to the penalty, so Young went up to the spot.

It was a busy first half for Almunia, who started in goal after recovering from a head injury sustained last week in the United match. He had little time to settle after Young fired a shot straight at the Spaniard after just 17 seconds.

Almunia was also kept busy just after the half-hour mark, as Agbonlahor burst down the left and weaved into the area to the byline before crossing a ball into empty space in front of goal to Barry, who fired straight at the goalkeeper. A few minutes earlier, Young had made a strong run and fired a shot from about 35 yards that went just left of the goal.