International Soccer - England

Quick strikes see Arsenal edge Aston Villa

Birmingham, England ( - Arsenal climbed back to the summit of the Premier League table on Monday after using a pair of quick first- half strikes to down Aston Villa, 2-1, at Villa Park.

Arsenal have been in fine form in league play since a humbling 6-3 loss to Manchester City on Dec. 14, riding a four-match unbeaten streak entering Monday's match.

Aston Villa had the better of the play early on, but a momentary lapse of defensive concentration cost the Villans as Jack Wilshere and Olivier Giroud scored in the space of 59 seconds to spot the Gunners a 2-0 lead.

Wilshere turned home a low cross from Nacho Monreal in the 34th minute and just moments later Wilshere assisted on his club's second goal when his cross was flicked past Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan by Giroud.

The hosts made it interesting in the second half when Christian Benteke put an end to a lengthy goalless drought when he nodded home Matthew Lowton's cross with a diving header in the 76th minute.

Villa pushed numbers forward hoping to salvage a point from the match and were given some hope when the fourth official's board showed six minutes of stoppage time, but the hosts were unable to find a late equalizer saw their winless run in league play at home extended to five matches.

Arsenal rises one point ahead of second-place Manchester City on 48 points with the result, while Villa remains in 11th place on 23 points.

01/13 17:11:24 ET

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