Arsenal survive a real test at Emirates Stadium, with two goals from Santi Cazorla earning the Gunners all three points.
Arsenal put their recent woes behind them as Santi Cazorla completed a brace with an 85th-minute goal that condemned relegation-threatened Aston Villa to a 2-1 defeat at the Emirates Stadium.
Knocked out of the FA Cup by second-tier Blackburn Rovers and soundly beaten by Bayern Munich in the Champions League, Arsenal were desperate for a reaction and took a sixth-minute lead when Cazorla drilled home.
Arsene Wenger’s men failed to build on their lead, however, and in the 68th minute, Andreas Weimann equalised with a 25-yard shot that squirmed beneath Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny.
Yet more unpleasant headlines beckoned, but with five minutes to play, January signing Nacho Monreal scampered down the left wing and cut the ball back for his Spanish countryman Cazorla to guide a low shot past Brad Guzan.
The result took Arsenal to within a point of fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur, who visit West Ham United on Monday.
Cazorla’s winner also sent Villa into the relegation zone and allowed Wigan Athletic to haul themselves out of the bottom three after a potentially crucial 3-0 win at relegation rivals Reading.