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Benayoun gives Arsenal 2-1 win at Aston Villa

Updated: December 21, 2011, 17:05

Arsenal's Robin Van Persie, left, celebrates with team mate Mikel Arteta after scoring a goal against Aston Villa from the penalty spot during their English Premier League soccer match at Villa Park in Birmingham, Wednesday, Dec.  21, 2011. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

BIRMINGHAM, England(AP) Yossi Benayoun scored his first Premier League goal for Arsenal on Wednesday, striking with three minutes left to earn the Gunners a 2-1 win at Aston Villa.

Villa seemed to have earned a point when Marcus Albrighton equalized Robin van Persie's 17th-minute penalty with the 20,000th goal since the Premier League began in August 1992.

But on-loan Chelsea midfielder Benayoun headed in Van Persie's corner to secure Arsenal's eighth win from 10 matches.

Van Persie's 16th goal of the season, scored after Ciaran Clark pulled Theo Walcott back in the area, meant that the Netherlands striker matched Thierry Henry's club record total of 34 Premier League goals in a calendar year.

A mistake by Arsenal defender Thomas Vermaelen left Albrighton through on goal and the winger slipped the ball wide of goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny for a 54th-minute equalizer.

Villa looked as though it had secured a valuable point to ease the pressure on under-fire manager Alex McLeish until Israel international Benayoun was first to Van Persie's corner and nodded it past goalkeeper Brad Guzan.

Villa defender Alan Hutton was cautioned for a foul on Van Persie and then sent off in injury time for a second yellow card when he fouled Vermaelen.

Arsenal moved level on 32 points with fourth-place Chelsea, which is at third-place Tottenham in Thursday's only match.

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