Aston Villa have hauled their way out of the relegation zone with a hard-fought 0-0 draw against Arsenal. While it wasn't a particularly thrilling encounter -- both teams' tendencies towards the heavy press ensured that most of the game was played in the middle third and there were few real chances on either side.
It was actually Villa who had the better of the scoring opportunities. Andreas Weimann scrambled the ball home in the first half after a neat set play routine, but the young Austrian's celebrations were rather curtailed by the linesman waving his flag for a very obvious offside call. At the other end of the pitch, Laurent Koscielny found himself free on goal thanks to a rare lapse from the hosts' back line, but the centre back isn't exactly Arsenal's first-choice poacher, and his ballooned shot explained why.
In fact, that was just about the closest Brad Guzan came to trouble all match. Aaron Ramsey had a similarly woeful effort after a corner kick, and Lukas Podolski threatened with the occasional driving run, but all in all the defence managed to hold firm in front of the American keeper. At the other end of the pitch, Wojciech Szczesny was only slightly more busy, but he did pull off a remarkable save to deny substite Brett Holman with 14 minutes to go.
All in all, a very nice, scrappy draw for Paul Lambert and crew. It wasn't a great game, but they're up to 17th place and frustrated a side in very fine form, so all is well as far as Villa are concerned. As for Arsenal, the fact that Santi Cazorla and Mikel Arteta were more or less rendered irrevalent by the combination of Barry Bannan and Karim El Ahmadi will (or should) be rather alarming.