Arsenal vs Aston Villa (or Aston Villa vs Arsenal if you prefer) is a fixture that has been played since 1904 and it has returned more than it’s fair share of entertainment, but how did it all start?

Barely visible crowd at Arsenal vs Aston Villa, Plumstead, 1904
Barely visible crowd at Arsenal vs Aston Villa, Plumstead, 1904, Kentish Independent by Messrs Baldby & Rixon, Wellington Street, Woolwich

Arsenal vs Aston Villa first took place on 8 October, 1904, in front of 32,000 spectators at the Manor Ground, Plumstead. The Gunners had only just been promoted to the First Division ahead of the start of the season and were still called Woolwich Arsenal.

Playing into the sun and against a strong wind in the first half, Arsenal really let fly in the second. “And then how much Woolwich Arsenal had been playing within themselves against the ill conditions was shown when they ‘let themselves go’,” The Morning Post wrote two days later.

“Woolwich in pace and skill outplayed Aston Villa in the last half house, and their zealous and high-spirited football was worth much more than the odd goal of the match. The victory was the triumph of the half-backs.

“Woolwich Arsenal have now thoroughly justified their promotion to the first degree of the League. They have not been beaten at home, and their success in two matches against strong sides have drawn from them that fine ability which their brilliant career in the Second Division made it almost obvious that they possessed.

“Aston Villa were criticised on Saturday as being something of a disappointment. But, after all, there is something in the dictum, that ‘a side generally plays as well as its opponent let it.’

“That the Arsenal football has ‘caught on’ tremendously in the London area was again proved by the immense attendance. And it is now time that the South-Eastern and Chatham Company should endeavour to make it possible to get to Plumstead on a Saturday with some slighter degree of discomfort than has been recently experienced. The congested state of the trains from Cannon-Street and London Bridge on Saturday afternoon was an appeal in itself to the officials of the company to move in the matter.”

The winning goal was scored 20 minutes into the first half, Tim Coleman chasing down the ball before shooting. The Villa keeper, George, came out but as the ball hit him it fell to William Henry Gooing who rolled it into an empty net.

Arsenal went on to finish their first season in the top flight in 10th place, 15 points behind League title winners, Newcastle. Villa finished fourth and there was no sign of Spurs, Chelsea, or Manchester United.

1904-1905 First Division League table via Wikipedia
1904-1905 First Division League table via Wikipedia

Arsenal have remained in the top flight ever since.

Arsenal vs Aston Villa/Aston Villa vs Arsenal Head-to-Head

vs Aston Villa
Games won: 83
Games drawn: 45
Games lost: 68
Date Match Result Score Competition
08 Oct 1904 Woolwich Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 1-0 League Division One
26 Dec 1904 Aston Villa vs Woolwich Arsenal L 3-1 League Division One
27 Dec 1905 Aston Villa vs Woolwich Arsenal L 2-1 League Division One
13 Apr 1906 Woolwich Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 2-1 League Division One
29 Sep 1906 Aston Villa vs Woolwich Arsenal D 2-2 League Division One
01 Apr 1907 Woolwich Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 3-1 League Division One
12 Oct 1907 Aston Villa vs Woolwich Arsenal W 0-1 League Division One
08 Feb 1908 Woolwich Arsenal vs Aston Villa L 0-1 League Division One
07 Novs 1908 Woolwich Arsenal vs Aston Villa L 0-1 League Division One
13 Mar 1909 Aston Villa vs Woolwich Arsenal L 2-1 League Division One
01 Sep 1909 Aston Villa vs Woolwich Arsenal L 5-1 League Division One
11 Apr 1910 Woolwich Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 1-0 League Division One
17 Sep 1910 Aston Villa vs Woolwich Arsenal L 3-0 League Division One
15 Mar 1911 Woolwich Arsenal vs Aston Villa D 1-1 League Division One
09 Sep 1911 Aston Villa vs Woolwich Arsenal L 4-1 League Division One
06 Jan 1912 Woolwich Arsenal vs Aston Villa D 2-2 League Division One
16 Sep 1912 Woolwich Arsenal vs Aston Villa L 0-3 League Division One
24 Mar 1913 Aston Villa vs Woolwich Arsenal L 4-1 League Division One
24 Jan 1920 Arsenal vs Aston Villa L 0-1 League Division One
11 Feb 1920 Aston Villa vs Arsenal L 2-1 League Division One
28 Aug 1920 Aston Villa vs Arsenal L 5-0 League Division One
04 Sep 1920 Arsenal vs Aston Villa L 0-1 League Division One
18 Mar 1922 Aston Villa vs Arsenal L 2-0 League Division One
25 Mar 1922 Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 2-0 League Division One
31 Mar 1923 Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 2-0 League Division One
07 Apr 1923 Aston Villa vs Arsenal D 1-1 League Division One
16 Feb 1924 Arsenal vs Aston Villa L 0-1 League Division One
12 Mar 1924 Aston Villa vs Arsenal L 2-1 League Division One
18 Oct 1924 Arsenal vs Aston Villa D 1-1 League Division One
01 Apr 1925 Aston Villa vs Arsenal L 4-0 League Division One
20 Feb 1926 Aston Villa vs Arsenal D 1-1 FA Cup
24 Feb 1926 Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 2-0 FA Cup
02 Apr 1926 Aston Villa vs Arsenal L 3-0 League Division One
05 Apr 1926 Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 2-0 League Division One
15 Apr 1927 Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 2-1 League Division One
18 Apr 1927 Aston Villa vs Arsenal W 2-3 League Division One
10 Sep 1927 Aston Villa vs Arsenal D 2-2 League Division One
21 Jan 1928 Arsenal vs Aston Villa L 0-3 League Division One
18 Feb 1928 Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 4-1 FA Cup
24 Novs 1928 Arsenal vs Aston Villa L 2-5 League Division One
02 Mar 1929 Aston Villa vs Arsenal L 1-0 FA Cup
06 Apr 1929 Aston Villa vs Arsenal L 4-2 League Division One
25 Sep 1929 Aston Villa vs Arsenal L 5-2 League Division One
03 May 1930 Arsenal vs Aston Villa L 2-4 League Division One
08 Novs 1930 Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 5-2 League Division One
10 Jan 1931 Arsenal vs Aston Villa D 2-2 FA Cup
14 Jan 1931 Aston Villa vs Arsenal W 1-3 FA Cup
14 Mar 1931 Aston Villa vs Arsenal L 5-1 League Division One
31 Oct 1931 Arsenal vs Aston Villa D 1-1 League Division One
25 Apr 1932 Aston Villa vs Arsenal D 1-1 League Division One
19 Novs 1932 Aston Villa vs Arsenal L 5-3 League Division One
01 Apr 1933 Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 5-0 League Division One
28 Oct 1933 Aston Villa vs Arsenal W 2-3 League Division One
Sat 03 Mar Arsenal vs Aston Villa L 1-2 FA Cup
Sat 10 Mar Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 3-2 League Division One
17 Novs 1934 Arsenal vs Aston Villa L 1-2 League Division One
30 Mar 1935 Aston Villa vs Arsenal W 1-3 League Division One
Sat 14 Dec Aston Villa vs Arsenal W 1-7 League Division One
18 Apr 1936 Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 1-0 League Division One
24 Sep 1938 Arsenal vs Aston Villa D 0-0 League Division One
28 Jan 1939 Aston Villa vs Arsenal W 1-3 League Division One
14 Sep 1946 Aston Villa vs Arsenal W 0-2 League Division One
Sat 18 Jan Arsenal vs Aston Villa L 0-2 League Division One
11 Oct 1947 Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 1-0 League Division One
Sat 28 Feb Aston Villa vs Arsenal L 4-2 League Division One
11 Sep 1948 Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 3-1 League Division One
Sat 22 Jan Aston Villa vs Arsenal L 1-0 League Division One
26 Novs 1949 Aston Villa vs Arsenal D 1-1 League Division One
Wed 29 Mar Arsenal vs Aston Villa L 1-3 League Division One
21 Oct 1950 Aston Villa vs Arsenal D 1-1 League Division One
Sat 10 Mar Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 2-1 League Division One
08 Sep 1951 Aston Villa vs Arsenal L 1-0 League Division One
Sat 5 Jan Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 2-1 League Division One
23 Aug 1952 Aston Villa vs Arsenal W 1-2 League Division One
Sat 20 Dec Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 3-1 League Division One
29 Aug 1953 Aston Villa vs Arsenal L 2-1 League Division One
Sat 9 Jan Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 5-1 FA Cup
06 Apr 1954 Arsenal vs Aston Villa D 1-1 League Division One
Sat 23 Oct Aston Villa vs Arsenal L 2-1 League Division One
12 Mar 1955 Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 2-0 League Division One
Sat 1 Oct Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 1-0 League Division One
28 Jan 1956 Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 4-1 FA Cup
Sat 11 Feb Aston Villa vs Arsenal D 1-1 League Division One
03 Novs 1956 Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 2-1 League Division One
Sat 16 Mar Aston Villa vs Arsenal D 0-0 League Division One
02 Oct 1957 Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 4-0 League Division One
26 Dec 1957 Aston Villa vs Arsenal L 3-0 League Division One
22 Oct 1958 Aston Villa vs Arsenal W 1-2 League Division One
Sat 13 Dec Arsenal vs Aston Villa L 1-2 League Division One
15 Oct 1960 Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 2-1 League Division One
Sat 4 Mar Aston Villa vs Arsenal D 2-2 League Division One
11 Novs 1961 Aston Villa vs Arsenal L 3-1 League Division One
31 Mar 1962 Arsenal vs Aston Villa L 4-5 League Division One
04 Sep 1962 Arsenal vs Aston Villa L 1-2 League Division One
10 Sep 1962 Aston Villa vs Arsenal L 3-1 League Division One
10 Sep 1963 Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 3-0 League Division One
Sat 19 Oct Aston Villa vs Arsenal L 2-1 League Division One
29 Aug 1964 Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 3-1 League Division One
Sat 19 Dec Aston Villa vs Arsenal L 3-1 League Division One
04 Dec 1965 Arsenal vs Aston Villa D 3-3 League Division One
Sat 30 Apr Aston Villa vs Arsenal L 3-0 League Division One
Sat 27 Aug Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 1-0 League Division One
31 Dec 1966 Aston Villa vs Arsenal W 0-1 League Division One
Sat 26 Jan Arsenal vs Aston Villa D 1-1 FA Cup
30 Jan 1974 Aston Villa vs Arsenal L 2-0 FA Cup
13 Sep 1975 Aston Villa vs Arsenal L 2-0 League Division One
10 Jan 1976 Arsenal vs Aston Villa D 0-0 League Division One
Wed 20 Oct Aston Villa vs Arsenal L 5-1 League Division One
25 Apr 1977 Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 3-0 League Division One
10 Sep 1977 Aston Villa vs Arsenal L 1-0 League Division One
04 Feb 1978 Arsenal vs Aston Villa L 0-1 League Division One
07 Oct 1978 Arsenal vs Aston Villa D 1-1 League Division One
25 Apr 1979 Aston Villa vs Arsenal L 5-1 League Division One
22 Sep 1979 Aston Villa vs Arsenal D 0-0 League Division One
09 Feb 1980 Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 3-1 League Division One
Sat 29 Nov Aston Villa vs Arsenal D 1-1 League Division One
02 May 1981 Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 2-0 League Division One
Sat 7 Nov Aston Villa vs Arsenal W 0-2 League Division One
27 Mar 1982 Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 4-3 League Division One
Tue 7 Dec Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 2-1 League Division One
12 Mar 1983 Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 2-0 FA Cup
Sat 14 May Aston Villa vs Arsenal L 2-1 League Division One
29 Oct 1983 Aston Villa vs Arsenal W 2-6 League Division One
Sat 18 Feb Arsenal vs Aston Villa D 1-1 League Division One
10 Novs 1984 Arsenal vs Aston Villa D 1-1 League Division One
Wed 13 Mar Aston Villa vs Arsenal D 0-0 League Division One
05 Oct 1985 Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 3-2 League Division One
22 Jan 1986 Aston Villa vs Arsenal D 1-1 League Cup
04 Feb 1986 Arsenal vs Aston Villa L 1-2 League Cup
Sat 08 Mar Aston Villa vs Arsenal W 1-4 League Division One
29 Novs 1986 Aston Villa vs Arsenal W 0-4 League Division One
02 May 1987 Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 2-1 League Division One
03 Sep 1988 Arsenal vs Aston Villa L 2-3 League Division One
Sat 31 Dec Aston Villa vs Arsenal W 0-3 League Division One
30 Dec 1989 Aston Villa vs Arsenal L 2-1 League Division One
11 Apr 1990 Arsenal vs Aston Villa L 0-1 League Division One
23 Dec 1990 Aston Villa vs Arsenal D 0-0 League Division One
Wed 3 Apr Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 5-0 League Division One
24 Aug 1991 Aston Villa vs Arsenal L 3-1 League Division One
Sat 11 Jan Arsenal vs Aston Villa D 0-0 League Division One
28 Dec 1992 Aston Villa vs Arsenal L 1-0 Premier League
Mon 12 Apr Arsenal vs Aston Villa L 0-1 Premier League
06 Novs 1993 Arsenal vs Aston Villa L 1-2 Premier League
30 Novs 1993 Arsenal vs Aston Villa L 0-1 League Cup
23 Apr 1994 Aston Villa vs Arsenal W 1-2 Premier League
26 Dec 1994 Arsenal vs Aston Villa D 0-0 Premier League
17 Apr 1995 Aston Villa vs Arsenal W 0-4 Premier League
Sat 21 Oct Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 2-0 Premier League
02 Dec 1995 Aston Villa vs Arsenal D 1-1 Premier League
Wed 14 Feb Arsenal vs Aston Villa D 2-2 League Cup
21 Feb 1996 Aston Villa vs Arsenal D 0-0 League Cup
07 Sep 1996 Aston Villa vs Arsenal D 2-2 Premier League
28 Dec 1996 Arsenal vs Aston Villa D 2-2 Premier League
Sun 26 Oct Arsenal vs Aston Villa D 0-0 Premier League
10 May 1998 Aston Villa vs Arsenal L 1-0 Premier League
Sun 13 Dec Aston Villa vs Arsenal L 3-2 Premier League
16 May 1999 Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 1-0 Premier League
11 Sep 1999 Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 3-1 Premier League
05 Mar 2000 Aston Villa vs Arsenal D 1-1 Premier League
Sat 14 Oct Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 1-0 Premier League
18 Mar 2001 Aston Villa vs Arsenal D 0-0 Premier League
Sun 9 Dec Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 3-2 Premier League
17 Mar 2002 Aston Villa vs Arsenal W 1-2 Premier League
Sat 30 Nov Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 3-1 Premier League
05 Apr 2003 Aston Villa vs Arsenal D 1-1 Premier League
27 Aug 2003 Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 2-0 Premier League
18 Jan 2004 Aston Villa vs Arsenal W 0-2 Premier League
Sat 16 Oct Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 3-1 Premier League
05 Feb 2005 Aston Villa vs Arsenal W 1-3 Premier League
Sat 31 Dec Aston Villa vs Arsenal D 0-0 Premier League
01 Apr 2006 Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 5-0 Premier League
19 Aug 2006 Arsenal vs Aston Villa D 1-1 Premier League
14 Mar 2007 Aston Villa vs Arsenal W 0-1 Premier League
Sat 1 Dec Aston Villa vs Arsenal W 1-2 Premier League
01 Mar 2008 Arsenal vs Aston Villa D 1-1 Premier League
15 Novs 2008 Arsenal vs Aston Villa L 0-2 Premier League
26 Dec 2008 Aston Villa vs Arsenal D 2-2 Premier League
27 Dec 2009 Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 3-0 Premier League
27 Jan 2010 Aston Villa vs Arsenal D 0-0 Premier League
27 Novs 2010 Aston Villa vs Arsenal W 2-4 Premier League
15 May 2011 Arsenal vs Aston Villa L 1-2 Premier League
21 Dec 2011 Aston Villa vs Arsenal W 1-2 Premier League
29 Jan 2012 Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 3-2 FA Cup
24 Mar 2012 Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 3-0 Premier League
24 Novs 2012 Aston Villa vs Arsenal D 0-0 Premier League
23 Feb 2013 Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 2-1 Premier League
17 Aug 2013 Arsenal vs Aston Villa L 1-3 Premier League
13 Jan 2014 Aston Villa vs Arsenal W 1-2 Premier League
20 Sep 2014 Aston Villa vs Arsenal W 0-3 Premier League
01 Feb 2015 Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 5-0 Premier League
30 May 2015 Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 4-0 FA Cup
13 Dec 2015 Aston Villa vs Arsenal W 0-2 Premier League
15 May 2016 Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 4-0 Premier League
22 Sep 2019 Arsenal vs Aston Villa W 3-2 Premier League
21 Jul 2020 Aston Villa vs Arsenal L 1-0 Premier League
08 Novs 2020 Arsenal vs Aston Villa L 0-3 Premier League

 

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Writer. Feminist. Dreamer. Gooner. Owner of DailyCannon.com, writing about Arsenal since 2008. Sometimes found in the Guardian, Vice.com & elsewhere talking queer issues, politics & football. If in doubt, assume sarcasm.