Soccer: Wenger feels scorn from fans

Arsenal tally third scoreless match in a row as Villa climbs out of relegation zone.

Arsenal's Mikel Arteta (right) and Villa's Christian Benteke battle for the ball in a game with few chances. Photo / AP
Arsenal's Mikel Arteta (right) and Villa's Christian Benteke battle for the ball in a game with few chances. Photo / AP

Brett Holman went close to compounding Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger's woes as he helped Aston Villa climb out of the English Premier League relegation zone with a home draw.

Australian footballer of the year Holman unleashed a stinging drive at the top corner of the net, only to be denied by a fine save from Arsenal keeper Wojciech Szczesny late in a game of few clear-cut chances.

Wenger felt the heat from his club's supporters after their third scoreless draw of the season left them in sixth place, four points adrift of fourth-place Chelsea, who were to play Manchester City overnight.

Some Arsenal fans chanted "you don't know what you're doing" at Wenger as Olivier Giroud was replaced with Francis Coquelin towards the end.

"I leave it to you to judge. I try to be as good as I can be," Wenger said. "Is it hurtful? Look, I have managed for 30 years at the top level and I have to convince you I can manage the team?

"How many games have you managed? I promise you if you manage one I will sit in the stands and chant, 'you know what you are doing!"'

Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert urged his players to follow up a good performance against Arsenal with a victory over Reading on Wednesday after the point lifted them out of the relegation zone.

Lambert refused to disclose the reasons behind striker Darren Bent's omission from Villa's matchday squad even though the striker had trained ahead of the game after a recent ankle injury.

"It's my choice. That's the squad I went with that I thought could win us the game."

Earlier, a quick-fire three-goal salvo gave Manchester United a 3-1 win over Harry Redknapp's new club Queens Park Rangers that took them to the top of the Premier League table for 24 hours at least, with champions Manchester City still to play Chelsea.

Incoming QPR manager Redknapp was present at Old Trafford, hours after his appointment as the successor to Mark Hughes was confirmed, and he saw his new charges take a shock lead in the 52nd minute through Jamie Mackie.

After losing at Norwich City and Galatasaray in their past two outings, United grabbed three goals in the space of eight minutes to avoid a third consecutive defeat.

Jonny Evans headed in the equaliser from close range in the 64th minute and four minutes later, Darren Fletcher marked his first league appearance in over a year by scoring with a thumping header from Wayne Rooney's corner.

Substitute Javier Hernandez then beat QPR goalkeeper Julio Cesar from Anderson's pass in the 72nd minute to lift Alex Ferguson's men two points above Manchester City.

United manager Ferguson admitted United's tendency to fall behind in games was a major concern.

"Of course it's frustrating," he said.

"We played for 15 or 10 minutes - that was the sum total of a real performance from Manchester United."

Top results

Aston Villa 0 Arsenal 0
Manchester United 3 QPR 1
Wigan Athletic 3 Reading 2
Everton 1 Norwich City 1
Stoke City 1 Fulham 0
Sunderland 2 West Brom Albion 4.

- AAP

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