LONDON // Arsenal took over at the top in England, at least for a couple of hours, after overcoming Aston Villa 4-2 with Jack Wilshere scoring his first Premier League goal for the Gunners.
Arsene Wenger's men, still smarting from their 3-2 defeat to north London rivals Tottenham Hotspur last weekend and a 2-0 Champions League loss to Braga in midweek, eased a point clear of champions Chelsea who are at Newcastle United on Sunday.
Arsenal missed a fistful of chances at a freezing Villa Park while youngster Ciaran Clark scored twice for the home side in the second half to turn what should have been a comfortable afternoon for the Gunners into a nervy final 20 minutes.
Andrey Arshavin scored one and set up Samir Nasri as Arsenal led 2-0 at half time. But Ciaran Clark volleyed Villa back into the game in the 52nd and then headed in another after Marouane Chamakh scored a third for Arsenal. Arsenal made sure of the victory in stoppage time through Jack Wilshere's diving header off excellent work from Chamakh.
Manchester United, with Wayne Rooney in the starting line-up against 11th-placed Blackburn Rovers at Old Trafford, are level on 28 points with Chelsea and can leap-frog Arsenal later today.