Premier League - Wenger booed as Koscielny sees red in 10-man Arsenal defeat to Villa

Premier League, Emirates Stadium - Arsenal 1 (Giroud 6) Aston Villa 3 (Benteke 22, 61 pen, Luna 85)

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Premier League - Wenger booed as Koscielny sees red in 10-man Arsenal defeat to Villa
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Arsenal players against Aston Villa (Reuters)

Arsene Wenger was booed by sections of the Arsenal support as his 10-man side crashed to a wretched 3-1 home defeat to Aston Villa at the Emirates Stadium.

Two goals from Christian Benteke (22, 61) - the second a penalty kick - and a late strike from Antonio Luna (85) condemned Wenger's side to a miserable opening day in London that had started so brightly when Olivier Giroud had found the opening goal after only six minutes.

With no major signings brought in so far during this transfer window despite promises to spend big by the club's board - and alleged moves for Gonzalo Higuain, Luis Suarez and Wayne Rooney - it clearly all got too much for some fans who turned their attention to the manager with their verbal as others headed for the exit doors.

Laurent Koscielny's lack of discipline was indicative of a bad day at the office for the home side. He was deemed guilty of sending Gabriel Agbonlahor to the ground for the concession of a penalty by referee Anthony Taylor that enabled Benteke to give Villa a 2-1 lead.

If that was perhaps a harsh call against the defender, he could have few complaints when he was sent off for an ill-advised late lunge on Andreas Weimann moments later that could have damaged the visiting forward if he had connected properly.

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KEY MOMENTS

PRE-MATCH: Arteta out, Walcott in - Mikel Arteta was out with a thigh injury for six weeks. England forward Theo Walcott started while Wales midfielder Aaron Ramsey was in despite missing the midweek international against the Republic of Ireland because of an ankle injury.

6' GOAL: Arsenal 1-0 Aston Villa - Giroud arrives to knock the ball into the net from the Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain cross! Villa caught wide open at the back. Arsenal lead 1-0.

22' GOAL: Arsenal 1-1 Aston Villa - After Szczesny brings down Gabriel Agbonlahor for a penalty, the Pole parries Benteke's spot-kick but the striker follows up to head the rebound in.

58' GOAL: Arsenal 1-2 Aston Villa - Laurent Koscielny appears to take the ball but the referee points to the spot, and this time Benteke converts at the first time of asking.

63' RED CARD - Laurent Koscielny, having already been booked, makes a wretched attempt at a tackle on Weimann. And he is off the park. Arsenal down to 10 men here.

85' GOAL: Arsenal 1-3 Aston Villa - Luna races from his own half before cracking the ball into the net via a post. Arsenal all at sea and completely absent in defence. Game over.

TALKING POINT: Where does this defeat leave Arsene Wenger? Not the best day at the office for the Arsenal manager with the club not signing any new players during the summer transfer window. With boos ringing in his ears, the pressure will intensify on the club to bring in some new faces. He has 17 days to enhance his squad, or questions are likely to be asked.

MATCHCAST: FULL COMMENTARY

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KEY STATS

Aston Villa win their first Premier League opening fixture away from home since 1999 – when they won 1-0 at Newcastle on Aug 7th 1999. Julian Joachim scored the only goal that day.

Arsenal suffer their first home defeat on the opening weekend of a Premier League season for 20 years – Micky Quinn scored a hat-trick for Coventry in their 3-0 win, Aug 14th 1993.

Christian Benteke scores his 16th Premier League of 2013. Arsenal concede two penalties in a Premier League match for the first time since their 4-4 draw at Newcastle, Feb 5th 2011 – they had led 4-0 in that match.

MAN OF THE MATCH

Christian Benteke - Benteke gets the nod for his two goals in a powerful performance as he continued his scoring form from last season. In many respects, he was just what Arsenal needed.

PLAYER RATINGS

Arsenal: Szczesny 5, Sagna 5, Koscielny 4, Mertesacker 6, Gibbs 5, Ramsey 6, Wilshere 6, Rosicky 5, Oxlade-Chamberlain 5, Walcott 6, Giroud 6.subs: Jenkinson 6, Cazorla 6

Aston Villa: Guzan 7, Lowton 7, Vlaar 7, Baker 7, Luna 7, El Ahmadi 7, Westwood 7, Delph 7, Agbonlahor 7, Benteke 7, Weimann 7...subs: Clark 7, Bacuna 6

THE MATCH IN A TWEET

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