Arsenal survived a second half comeback from Aston Villa to win 4-2 at the Villa Park on Saturday's early kick-off.

Arsenal went into half-time 2-0 through goals from Andrey Arshavin and Samir Nasri. However, a much improved Villa performance in the second half saw Ciaran Clark get one back.

Chamakh made it a two goal lead again shortly afterwards only to see Clark nod in from a corner to set up a tense last stage. However, Jack Wilshere's injury time header won it for Arsenal 4-2, allowing them to lead the table briefly before Manchester United thrashed Blackburn 7-1.

The Gunners came into the game on the back of two successive defeats against Spurs last week and Braga on Tuesday. But they opened the game strongly almost scoring in the first 30 seconds when a mistake saw Chamakh go clear on Villa keeper Brad Friedel, only to see the American pull off a marvelous save.

Villa just couldn't get a touch on the ball as Arsenal swarmed all over them. Tomas Rosicky, who started the game in place of injured Fabregas and wore the captain's armband, came close when he got into the box and shot across goal. Nasri then drove wide as Arsenal bombarded Villa.

The Villains, who went into the game with Marc Albrighton and Gabriel Agbonlahor added to the sick bay, survived the early pressure from Arsenal and had a chance to open the scoring when Ciaran Clark flicked on Stewart Downing's cross to Ashley Young at the far post whose first time shot from close range flew over.

Arsenal's pressure finally paid off when in the 39th minute, Arshavin cut in from the left flank and raced into the box before shooting an angled shot which went in at the far post, despite Friedel getting a hand to it.

The Gunners doubled the lead soon after when Arshavin spread a corner outside the box to Nasri whose first time volley deflected in off Luke Young. Chamakh then drew a brilliant reaction save from Friedel with a close range header.

At half-time Villa manager Gerrad Houllier rang the changes taking off former Arsenal star Pires for the faster legs of 19-year-old Delfouneso.

Whatever was said at half-time worked as Villa looked a different side. They pressurized Arsenal early and were rewarded when Clark chested down a clearance and shot in powerfully with his left, though John Carew was in an offside position seemingly blocking Arsenal keeper Fabianski's view.

Shortly thereafter, Arsenal renewed their two goal advantage with Rosicky slipping Chamakh into the box to make it 3-1. However, Clark scored his second goal for Villa's first team when Dunne's flick on from a corner was headed in off the underside of the crossbar.

At 3-2, Arsenal showed some much needed resolve to hold off Villa and ensured their win when Chamakh lobbed for an unmarked Wilshere in an Arsenal counter to head into an empty net.

The win propelled Arsenal to top of the table, though they went down to second in the table after Manchester United thrashed Blackburn 7-1 to go top. Chelsea will have to win at Newcastle on Sunday to get back on top of the table.