Gunners win but Albrighton stars
Aston Villa winger Marc Albrighton scored the 20,000th goal in the Premier League but a late header from Arsenal substitute Yossi Benayoun earned the visitors a 2-1 victory at Villa Park.
Albrighton's milestone effort came nine minutes into the second half after a mistake by Gunners defender Thomas Vermaelen.
Arsenal striker Robin van Persie equalled Thierry Henry's club record - 34 - for the most Premier League goals in a calendar year before Benayoun's 87th-minute decider before Villa defender Alan Hutton was sent off in stoppage time for two bookable offences.
Villa have donated the 20,000 cheque from Barclays for the 20,000th goal to their official charity partner, the Acorns children's hospice.
The home side were the first to threaten and it needed a fine save from Wojciech Szczesny to prevent Gabriel Agbonlahor giving them a sixth-minute lead.
Indeed, it was against the run of play when Van Persie put Arsenal ahead. Ciaran Clark tugged at the short of Theo Walcott inside the box and referee Jonathan Moss pointed to the penalty spot. Up stepped Van Persie to hammer the spot kick into the roof of the net.
Walcott could have made it 2-0 after running onto Van Persie's pass, but Brad Guzan was alert and raced out of his box to block the shot with his chest.
Villa continued to do most of the pressing at the start of the second period. And, after 54 minutes, a mistake by Vermaelen allowed Albrighton to score the 20,000th goal since the Premier League began nearly 20 years ago.
The Villa winger kept his cool before sliding the ball wide of Szczesny.
Richard Dunne produced a vital interception to block a shot from Tomas Rosicky, but Benayoun broke Villa's hearts as he was left with a free header inside the box from Van Persie's corner.