Benayoun spares Vermaelen’s blushes

Arsenal defender Thomas Vermaelen was a relieved man after Yossi Benayoun popped up to save his blushes. The Gunners looked to be heading to a 1-0 win over Aston Villa, but with almost an hour player Vermaelen under hit a pass to his defensive partner Per Mertesacker and Villa man Marc Albrighton nipped in to level the scores.

Arsenal toiled for the rest of the game and at times Villa threatened to steal all three points. But with three minutes left to play Robin van Persie, who had opened the scoring with a first-half penalty, floated in a cross and substitute Benayoun headed home a winner.

Writing on Twitter after the match, Vermaelen was unable to hide his relief.

Great win today! I wasn’t easy. Thanks to @YossiBenayoun15!! U saved me today mate,” he said.

The win leaves Arsenal in fifth with 32 pointed, behind Chelsea on goal difference, although the Blues have a game in hand.

Speaking after the match, manager Arsene Wenger admitted the win had been crucial as the side looks to keep up the pressure on the side occupying the top four.

“We have to give credit to Villa who had an outstanding commitment and quality. They’re a good side when they play with that kind of attitude.” Anyone following the online Premier League odds will have been surprised.

“Our formidable spirit got us through and Yossi Benayoun got us three more points from the corner – which is unusual for us. And we’re very happy,” he told Sky Sports News.