Aston Villa edged out of the relegation zone with a drab goalless draw against Arsenal at rain-soaked Villa Park.

In an uneventful first half, Andreas Weimann saw a strike ruled out for offside and Laurent Koscielny shot over when well placed.

The second half was far more open and Aaron Ramsey went close before Brett Holman's drive was tipped on to the bar by Wojciech Szczesny.

Arsenal pushed for a late winner but were forced to settle for a point.

Draw kings

Aston Villa (85) and Arsenal (73) have been involved in more goalless draws than any other teams in Premier League history

It meant they missed the chance to replace Everton in fifth, while Villa go above Reading in 17th, although the Royals have a game in hand.

If Arsene Wenger truly believes his team are in contention for the title, he must be disappointed to see them fall 10 points behind leaders Manchester United.

Villa boss Paul Lambert, by contrast, will take heart from his side's display following defeats by United and City, and heading into crucial meetings with Reading, QPR, Stoke and Norwich.

He knew a response was needed following last weekend's 5-0 loss at Etihad Stadium and, while it duly arrived, they could have taken all three points with the help of a proven goalscorer.

Villa getting better - Lambert

Some may point to Darren Bent's omission from the matchday squad when he was fit to play after an ankle injury.

Promising forwards Weimann and Christian Benteke were a constant threat, yet neither carry the potency of an in-form Bent.

Weimann tested Szczesny with an early cross-come-shot and Benteke headed wide from Ashley Westwood's corner.

Arsenal took 20 minutes to create a chance, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain shooting wide and Brad Guzan saving well from Ramsey.

An uninspiring half almost came to life as Ciaran Clark's drive made its way to Weimann, only for his strike to be disallowed.

At the other end, an unmarked Koscielny wasted a glorious opportunity with a wayward finish from Olivier Giroud's low cross.

Villa's trend this season has been to impress in the first half before fading in the second, and for Arsenal it has been the opposite.

Arsenal 'lacked fluency' in attack

The Gunners signalled their intent after the break through Santi Cazorla's strike, which sailed just off target at the end of a slick move.

Ron Vlaar's injury-enforced substitution enabled Arsenal to find gaps and Ramsey might have done better on two occasions.

With the match now open, Szczesny's fingertips and the woodwork denied substitute Holman from distance.

Wenger's search for a goal led to the introduction of Andrey Arshavin and Gervinho, and an Arshavin cross was brilliantly intercepted by Clark with his fellow replacement waiting to pounce.

But Arsenal were poor and their fans made their displeasure clear.

Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert:

"It's a long project. It's never going to happen overnight. I thought today we were well worth something. They are a young side but they are growing every time they play.

"It's a really tough run we have had with Manchester United, Manchester City and Arsenal.

"People might have thought we would get nothing. We have got a point but the performances have been excellent."

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger:

"Complaints? No, because we tried. We had the right attitude but lacked a bit of fluency and accuracy in the final third. When we had the opportunities to be dangerous we didn't use them well.

"I think it's down to fatigue. We had not completely recovered from Wednesday night. They [Thomas Vermaelen, Jack Wilshere and Bacary Sagna] were all on the edge.

"For Jack, it was a sensible thing. If you play him every game people reproach you and if you don't play him they reproach you. It's a lose-lose situation. I do what I think is right I and think it was the right decision.

"We're a very offensive team - we played with three strikers - but that doesn't mean you score goals. It can happen;, it has happened before. It's difficult away from home."

Lineup, Bookings (1) & Substitutions (6)

Aston Villa

  • 22 Guzan
  • 04 Vlaar (Lichaj - 51' )
  • 06 Clark
  • 29 Stevens
  • 34 Lowton
  • 08 El Ahmadi Booked (Holman - 63' )
  • 15 Westwood
  • 25 Bannan
  • 11 Agbonlahor
  • 20 Benteke
  • 26 Weimann (Albrighton - 90' )

Substitutes

  • 01 Given
  • 30 Lichaj
  • 07 Ireland
  • 12 Albrighton
  • 16 Delph
  • 14 Holman
  • 21 Bowery

Arsenal

  • 01 Szczesny
  • 04 Mertesacker
  • 06 Koscielny
  • 25 Jenkinson
  • 28 Gibbs
  • 08 Arteta
  • 15 Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arshavin - 77' )
  • 16 Ramsey
  • 19 Cazorla
  • 09 Podolski (Gervinho - 69' )
  • 12 Giroud (Coquelin - 86' )

Substitutes

  • 24 Mannone
  • 03 Sagna
  • 05 Vermaelen
  • 10 Wilshere
  • 22 Coquelin
  • 23 Arshavin
  • 27 Gervinho
Ref: Mason
Att: 34,607

Match Stats

Shots

10 13

On target

8 6

Corners

7 6

Fouls

6 9

Live Text Commentary

90:00 +3:49 Full time

Full Time The referee ends the match.

90:00 +3:09

Effort from deep inside the area by Francis Coquelin misses to the left of the goal.

90:00 +1:40

The assistant referee signals for offside against Kieran Gibbs. Free kick taken by Bradley Guzan.

90:00 +1:24

The ball is swung over by Carl Jenkinson.

89:06 Substitution

Substitution Andreas Weimann goes off and Marc Albrighton comes on.

89:06

Christian Benteke is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Laurent Koscielny takes the direct free kick.

86:53

Inswinging corner taken by Andrey Arshavin from the left by-line, save by Bradley Guzan. Outswinging corner taken by Santi Cazorla from the right by-line played to the near post.

85:12

Free kick taken by Bradley Guzan.

85:12 Substitution

Substitution Olivier Giroud leaves the field to be replaced by Francis Coquelin.

85:12

Kieran Gibbs concedes a free kick for a foul on Eric Lichaj.

85:03

The ball is sent over by Kieran Gibbs, clearance made by Barry Bannan.

83:16

Andrey Arshavin delivers the ball, Bradley Guzan makes a save.

81:54

Barry Bannan takes a inswinging corner to the near post, clearance made by Kieran Gibbs.

81:16

Gabriel Agbonlahor crosses the ball, Laurent Koscielny manages to make a clearance.

79:48

Foul by Carl Jenkinson on Andreas Weimann, free kick awarded. The ball is delivered by Barry Bannan, Christian Benteke has a headed effort at goal from just inside the box that misses to the right of the goal.

78:59

Carl Jenkinson gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Enda Stevens. Direct free kick taken by Bradley Guzan.

78:18

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Andrey Arshavin by Brett Holman. Free kick taken by Aaron Ramsey.

77:21

Effort on goal by Brett Holman from 25 yards. Save by Wojciech Szczesny. Corner taken by Barry Bannan.

76:04 Substitution

Substitution Andrey Arshavin joins the action as a substitute, replacing Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

74:53

Aaron Ramsey has a shot on goal from outside the box which misses left.

73:42

Free kick awarded for a foul by Carl Jenkinson on Gabriel Agbonlahor. The ball is sent over by Barry Bannan, Christian Benteke takes a shot. Save by Wojciech Szczesny.

73:00

The ball is swung over by Christian Benteke, Carl Jenkinson makes a clearance.

72:00

Corner from the right by-line taken by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Matthew Lowton makes a clearance.

71:46

The ball is sent over by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Enda Stevens manages to make a clearance.

69:38

Aaron Ramsey has a drilled shot. Blocked by Barry Bannan. Outswinging corner taken right-footed by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, clearance made by Christian Benteke.

68:49 Substitution

Substitution Lukas Podolski leaves the field to be replaced by Yao Gervinho.

67:18

Brett Holman is ruled offside. Free kick taken by Wojciech Szczesny.

65:38

Foul by Gabriel Agbonlahor on Aaron Ramsey, free kick awarded. Aaron Ramsey takes the direct free kick.

64:59

Shot from 25 yards by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Barry Bannan gets a block in.

61:36 Substitution

Substitution Brett Holman replaces Karim El Ahmadi.

61:36

Shot by Lukas Podolski. Matthew Lowton gets a block in. Inswinging corner taken by Santi Cazorla from the left by-line, Shot by Aaron Ramsey from deep inside the penalty area misses to the right of the goal.

60:44

Eric Lichaj sends in a cross, save made by Wojciech Szczesny.

59:04

Outswinging corner taken left-footed by Barry Bannan from the left by-line, Christian Benteke takes a shot. Per Mertesacker gets a block in. Corner taken left-footed by Barry Bannan from the right by-line, Carl Jenkinson manages to make a clearance.

58:51

The ball is delivered by Barry Bannan, clearance by Carl Jenkinson.

58:33

Inswinging corner taken by Barry Bannan from the right by-line, clearance by Per Mertesacker.

58:20

Christian Benteke takes a shot. Per Mertesacker gets a block in.

56:35

Ashley Westwood challenges Santi Cazorla unfairly and gives away a free kick. Mikel Arteta takes the free kick.

55:40

The ball is swung over by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Shot by Aaron Ramsey from deep inside the penalty area misses to the right of the target.

54:41

Handball decision goes against Christian Benteke. Mikel Arteta takes the direct free kick.

51:55

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Gabriel Agbonlahor by Mikel Arteta. Free kick crossed left-footed by Barry Bannan from left channel.

51:07

Olivier Giroud produces a drilled left-footed shot from 25 yards. Bradley Guzan makes a save.

50:23 Substitution

Substitution Eric Lichaj comes on in place of Ron Vlaar.

49:32

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Ashley Westwood by Olivier Giroud. Ashley Westwood takes the direct free kick.

47:35

Shot by Gabriel Agbonlahor. Laurent Koscielny gets a block in. Effort on goal by Ashley Westwood from 20 yards. Wojciech Szczesny makes a save. The ball is sent over by Lukas Podolski, Bradley Guzan makes a save.

46:49

Santi Cazorla produces a left-footed shot from just outside the penalty box that misses to the left of the goal.

45:01

The referee gets the second half started.

45:00 +1:14 Half time

Half Time The ref blows to signal half-time.

45:00 +0:40

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain produces a cross, blocked by Barry Bannan.

45:00 +0:02

A cross is delivered by Andreas Weimann, Laurent Koscielny makes a clearance.

42:42

The ball is swung over by Lukas Podolski, Shot from inside the area by Laurent Koscielny clears the bar.

41:57

Karim El Ahmadi crosses the ball, comfortable save by Wojciech Szczesny.

40:58

The ball is sent over by Kieran Gibbs.

40:19

Gabriel Agbonlahor concedes a free kick for a foul on Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. The free kick is delivered right-footed by Mikel Arteta from right wing, Ciaran Clark manages to make a clearance.

39:32

The ball is sent over by Barry Bannan, clearance by Laurent Koscielny.

39:01

Free kick awarded for a foul by Aaron Ramsey on Ciaran Clark. Free kick taken by Ron Vlaar.

37:47

Andreas Weimann is caught offside. Direct free kick taken by Wojciech Szczesny.

36:41

Handball by Wojciech Szczesny. Free kick taken by Barry Bannan.

35:25

Shot from 20 yards by Santi Cazorla. Blocked by Ciaran Clark.

35:07

Carl Jenkinson crosses the ball.

32:52

Per Mertesacker fouled by Christian Benteke, the ref awards a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Mikel Arteta.

32:14

Lukas Podolski concedes a free kick for a foul on Gabriel Agbonlahor. Direct free kick taken by Ron Vlaar.

31:26

The ball is delivered by Enda Stevens, blocked by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

30:29

Olivier Giroud is ruled offside. Direct free kick taken by Ciaran Clark.

29:20

Carl Jenkinson crosses the ball, Enda Stevens makes a clearance.

28:08

Effort from 20 yards by Aaron Ramsey. Save made by Bradley Guzan. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain sends in a cross, save by Bradley Guzan.

28:01

The ball is sent over by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, clearance by Ron Vlaar.

23:58

Andreas Weimann is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Free kick taken by Wojciech Szczesny.

21:13 Booking

Booking Karim El Ahmadi receives a caution for unsporting behaviour.

19:55

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has an effort at goal from just inside the box that misses to the right of the target.

18:48

Carl Jenkinson sends in a cross.

17:36

Corner taken right-footed by Ashley Westwood from the right by-line, Christian Benteke has a headed effort at goal from just inside the area that misses to the right of the goal.

17:28

The ball is delivered by Barry Bannan, clearance made by Kieran Gibbs.

15:46

Shot from 25 yards from Barry Bannan. Save by Wojciech Szczesny.

15:28

Christian Benteke delivers the ball, Per Mertesacker manages to make a clearance.

15:15

The ball is sent over by Karim El Ahmadi.

13:00

Andreas Weimann takes a shot. Save made by Wojciech Szczesny. Corner from left by-line taken by Barry Bannan.

9:32

Aaron Ramsey challenges Matthew Lowton unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick crossed by Barry Bannan.

7:29

Enda Stevens delivers the ball.

5:53

A cross is delivered by Kieran Gibbs, clearance made by Barry Bannan.

4:35

Per Mertesacker fouled by Gabriel Agbonlahor, the ref awards a free kick. Laurent Koscielny takes the free kick.

3:38

Santi Cazorla takes a inswinging corner.

2:29

The referee blows for offside against Kieran Gibbs. Direct free kick taken by Bradley Guzan.

0:00

The ref blows the whistle to begin the match.

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