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BIRMINGHAM, England -- Arsenal scored two goals in the space of 59 seconds on its way to a 2-1 win over Aston Villa that put the visitors back on top of the Premier League on Monday. Jack Wilsheres 34th-minute opener was quickly followed by a well-taken goal by Olivier Giroud, which proved to be enough to lift Arsenal back above Manchester City and Chelsea after their victories at the weekend. Belgium striker Christian Benteke scored his first goal since mid-September to give Villa hope in the 76th minute but the home side couldnt find an equalizer despite late pressure. "The first half was more about playing, and the second half was more about fighting," Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said. With its fourth straight league win, Arsenal restored its one-point lead over City after 21 matches. To cap another disappointing result at Villa Park for the mid-table hosts, Villa defender Nathan Baker was carried off on a stretcher in the 21st minute after briefly losing consciousness when he was hit straight in the face by a shot from Arsenal winger Serge Gnabry. Baker required oxygen and a neck brace after being treated on the field for seven minutes. He was later diagnosed with mild concussion, according to broadcaster Sky Sports. The pressure was on Arsenal after seeing the rest of the top seven all pick up victories by two-goal margins over the weekend. However, save for a worrying last 15 minutes when Villa rallied gamely, the Gunners passed the ball much better and always looked the likely winners. Wilsheres goal came when he ran onto a cut-back from left back Nacho Monreal, took a touch and shot low in to the bottom corner to the left of goalkeeper Brad Guzan. Just seventeen seconds after the restart, the ball hit the back of the net again. This time Wilshere was the provider, the England midfielder collecting a loose ball and playing a sublime pass through to Giroud, who brought the ball down well and fired across Guzan into the corner. It was the France strikers ninth league goal of the season on his return to the first team after a spell out through injury and illness. Villa had only scored seven goals in its previous 10 home games this season so a comeback was unlikely, even if memories were relatively fresh of a surprise win at Arsenal on the first day of the season. However, when Benteke stooped to head in Matthew Lowtons fine cross at full stretch after Arsenal midfielder Santi Cazorla sloppily gave possession away, it was all to play for with 14 minutes left. Bentekes downward header, saved comfortably by Wojciech Szczesny, was the closest Villa came to earning a point. "Its a massive three points, especially because we dropped a bit in the second half," Wilshere said. 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INJURIES - Cardinals 1B Matt Adams has been put on the DL with calf tightness, resulting in some lineup shifting, with Allen Craig moving from right field to first base, so that the Cardinals could bring up top prospect Oscar Taveras, who was the No.The last time a Scotsman made headline news like this was back in 1776. That time, Adam Smith and something about an Invisible Hand ruled the waves. This time around, its Sir Alex Ferguson and his phantom presence in the Manchester United dressing room. With the mid-May words of the wise, old sage still reverberating around Old Trafford from the speech he gave following his final game in charge, he urged the crowd to give the new manager time to bed in. Never one to do things in half measures, Ferguson was also likely sending a warning to the media. If the Barclays Premier League holders get off to the slow start, they should back off Moyes and instead reflect on how many seasons it took Ferguson spent to deliver his first piece of silverware to his new club. That pot-less run for Ferguson extended from fall 1986 to spring 1990, when in May of that year, Manchester United beat Crystal Palace in the FA Cup Final. Even with Ferguson still at the helm, United could not have hoped, wished or expected to replicate the form and results of last season. One in which they seemed to collect points from a losing position for fun. When Ferguson informed David Moyes and then the world that the ex-Everton man would be the next United manager, I immediately put my money where my big mouth was and said it would start - and end - in tears. Moyes has started, as I mean him to go on. By that, I didnt think for a moment that by inheriting Sir Alexs comfy office chair, he would also mimic the champ. What was young David thinking when banging on in the close season about BPL conspiracy theories and his perceived unkind fixture list? Makes you think that Fergie left not a bottle of fine red wine for Moyes in the top drawer, but a memo on official club letterhead from seasons past. Reverting back to the father of the free market (Adam Smith and economic need for mathematical correlation), Manchester Uniteds calamitous performances and results through 15 matches are almost in keeping with Moyes repetitive faux-pas self. Keep a lid on it, David. Instead, replay all of Lord Fergs pre-match pressers over the past quarter of a century. I bet you can count - on one slippery hand - the amount of times Ferguson used the word hopefully when referring to a desperate and urgent need to improve league form or top a champions league group. Moyes used the word twice in two straight sentences when setting up Tuesdays Matchday 6 encounter at Old Trafford. Jeepers creepers, hopefully the fresh-faced 50-year-old didnt use it again when setting up Sunday lunchtimes encounter at Villa Park. Roy Keane sticking his paddle in (it used to be a magnificent MUFC oar) during the week is right up there with Kevin Keegan losing the Fergie plot. A live 90-second TV rant which has now entered the BPL folklore annals, until King Kev opened his gob, it seemed certain Newcastle would win the title back in 1996. And guess who won it? The seeds of Moyes fall can be traceed back to late February of this year, when MUFC CEO David Gill popped round Fergusons house one Sunday afternoon to advise the Knight he would be leaving OT at seasons end.dddddddddddd Ferguson admitted that he attempted to convince Gill to stay. And one of footballs most decorated and highly-respected administrators was having none of it. Proving empirically who ruled the MUFC roost, Gill politely turned Fergusons overtures. In this column back in February I outlined Gills vast importance and significance to the Manchester United cause. Manchester United losing their manager and CEO in the same breath is unheard of. Perhaps Fergie mistakenly left Gills direct line office number for Moyes in that top drawer. This can be the only rational explanation for Uniteds pre-season form in the transfer market. Even Will Ferrell couldnt have invented a funnier screenplay. Danny Devito destined to be the leader of them, three less-than-wise Spanish men who are alleged to have shown up at the Madrid based LFP offices to conclude the Ander Herrera deal. The man who replaced Gill - Ed Woodward - was so off-MUFC script funny, no one could deny him opportunity to portray himself. Theres no denying that just like when a global musical icon passes away do we get to fully understand their true legacy and place in history. That said, there has to be a significant, indirect correlation with Fergusons retirement and the immediate rebuilding of Liverpool and Arsenals perches this season. Arsene Wenger and Brendan Rodgers teams are playing with a greater freedom. A breath of football fresh air surrounds the Emirates and Anfield so far this season. No other clubs have played so expressively and enthusiastically; little Luis getting his MUFC laughs on. Simultaneously, a rather dark shadow pervades at Old Trafford. Stretching down from middle tier of the grandstand enveloping the directors box as it goes, its core matter runs right through the United bench to the edge of the technical area. Poor Moyes has got his back to it. Fergsuon could be at his French chateau, but the giant of a football mans shadow remains. As does the coaching calamity that followed at Old Trafford after Sir Matt Busby resigned. We all know from our MUFC history books that Sir Matt felt a deep obligation to return - and did. Only time will be the determinant if Sir Alex does likewise. Not rational, he does. But I ask you this - what has been rational down Old Trafford way since May 12, 2011? In the meantime, I suggested back in November of 2011 that Sir Alex should be installed as MLS Honorary President. The elderly Scottish statesman is a huge believer and genuinely believes North America is footballs final frontier. Anyone got the commissioners phone number? You can reach and follow Noel Butler at:Noel.Butler@BellMedia.ca@TheSoccerNoel Aston Villa vs. Manchester United – live on TSN2, Sunday morning kick-off at 8:30am et/5:30am pt. ' ' '