Arsenal 2 Villa 1

The mark of a good team is being able to win matches even when they haven’t played at their best. That was what last night’s game at Villa Park was all about. Arsenal were outplayed for most of the second half by a brave Aston Villa side, urged on by the sound managerial skills of Martin O’Neill. However it was the Gunners who came out the winners at the end. They need to win games like this one, which will probably going to count in the long run for the Championship. Villa went ahead after 18 minutes thanks to a Craig Gardner goal but Arsenal replied back to take the lead through goals by Mathieu Flamini and Emmanuel Adebayor.

A stren talking by coach O’Neill must be what charged up the Aston Villa 11, as they took the game to the League leaders. Villa looked likely to score a goal and get back on level terms but despite this, there was no beating down the Gunners who were determined to keep their lead at the top of the Premier League.

In other games on Saturday, Chelsea beat West Ham United 1-0 and move above Manchester United into second place in the league with 31 points. United play on Monday night. And in an exciting game, Blackburn Rovers beat a miserable but resileint Newscastle United 3-1, but the game could have gone either way with numerous goal chances.

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NHL Update – Wes Walz Retires

Minnesota Wild center Wes Walz announced his retirement as expected Saturday, ending his 13-year NHL career as the team’s career leader in games played.

Walz had one goal and three assists in 11 games this season before leaving the team to contemplate his future.

Neither he nor the Wild offered any specifics about his leave of absence, which lasted a month, but Walz said at a news conference Saturday that he didn’t feel like he was “on top of his game.”

The 37-year-old has four children and said he’s eager to spend more time with his family.

The fast, defensive-oriented skater was one of only two remaining original members of the Wild’s first team in 2000. Goalie Marian Gaborik is the other.

Walz finished his NHL career – which included time with Boston, Philadelphia, Calgary and Detroit – with 109 goals and 151 assists in 607 games.