The Gunners took the lead at Villa Park when Jack Wilshere fired home in the 34th minute, and the north Londoners doubled their advantage moments later when the England international turned provider for Olivier Giroud.
We had a very good resilient performance in the second half
Christian Benteke then halved the home side’s deficit in the 76th minute to set up a tense finale, but Wenger’s men held out through six minutes of stoppage time to seal a win which moves them a point clear of second-placed Manchester City.
“It was vital because the first half was more about playing, and the second half was more about fighting,” Wenger said.
“They made it very physical, put the ball up high in the air and we had a very good resilient performance in the second half. Overall we have shown again both sides of the game.”
Meanwhile, Villa boss Paul Lambert praised his side’s spirit in the second half despite watching his side slip to their fifth defeat in seven games.
“In the second half we were excellent, we looked great and a real threat,” said Lambert.
“We were lifted by the goal, it’s not easy playing Arsenal, they are title contenders but everybody can see we gave them a game.
“You have to give us credit. We came into it but we might have snuck a draw.”
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