Arsenal 3 – 0 Aston Villa
Post Match Thoughts
What a fantastic weekend it has been. The weather has been nice, the beer has been flowing freely and most importantly the football has been superb. Arsenal won and extended their winning run to 7 consecutive matches, the first time we have done that since the 2007/08 season. Not only did they extend their winning run but they also strengthened their hold on 3rd place by moving 3 points clear.
It was a splendid afternoon which was celebrated in style by some majestic, free flowing football. It was a day in which The Arsenal were rarely threatened but always looked menacing. A great performance essentially consisting of three goals, three different scorers all of which fantastic in their own right and a clean sheet.
Kieran Gibbs got the show on the road after some neat work between him, Rosicky and a Gervinho. They passed in neat triangles and worked the ball into the area for Gibbs to drive home from a tight angle. In fairness the keeper could have done better but it was a decent effort and no less than he deserves for his positive performances since his return from injury.
Walcott doubled our advantage after controlling and finishing superbly from a sumptuous ball from our very own playmaker; Alex Song. It is incredible the number of important assists that have come from our “defensive midfielder”. It is an important weapon in his armoury now and as long as he can maintain his discipline in ensuring he never neglects his defensive responsibilities, he can become one of the best midfielders in the world. As good as the ball was though, there was still plenty to do and none of it easy despite what Walcott made it look like. Controlling that ball and perfectly taking it in his stride followed by a tidy finish. Amazing.
If the fans didn’t think it could get any better than I think they would have been pleasantly surprised, in the latter stages of the game Mikel Arteta scored what can only be described as a thunderous strike, right into the top corner.
So three fantastic goals, none scored by Robin Van Persie, hell must have surely frozen over?! In fact this fabulous display highlights that we are not a one man team and despite Van Persie clearly being very important, the way we play is equally important. We have got a number of players willing to play in that style, for the shirt and most importantly for each other. It is working and I wouldn’t bet against this fantastic run continuing.
I for one was certainly expecting a close encounter yesterday but to be honest this was as easy a game as we are likely to have in the run in so let’s enjoy it and get right back and focus on the next game against a team fighting for their lives.
One negative point from yesterday though happened before the match even started. Koscienly was inexplicably not in the match day squad despite being announced to be starting just an hour before kick off. It seems that he has a bit of a niggle but one that I hope will not keep him out for too long. Wenger had this to say after the match:
“Koscielny had tendinitis in his knee when he woke up this morning. I don’t know what position he slept in but he could not walk properly. He tried in the warm-up but could not play.”
Here’s to hoping he will be available sooner rather than later.
Wojciech Szczesny - 6.5
Had a quiet afternoon and had nothing to do. Only downside was his kicking left a lot to be desired at times. Just needs to keep things simpler at times.
Thomas Vermaelen - 7
Played well and was solid throughout. Rarely troubled and was constantly surging forward to continue a fantastic run of scoring.
Johan Djourou - 6.5
the surprise inclusion would probably have spent tremors down the spines of many a Arsenal fan but was largely untroubled and pretty good save for some shaky moments in the opening ten minutes.
Kieran Gibbs - 7
A great string of performances capped off with a well taken goal. Provided great attacking threat and pace on the left and was defensively solid.
Bacary Sagna - 7
Once again outlined that he is the best right back in the league. He has bags of energy and defensively consistent. He was absolutely superb again. No coincidence our form has coincided with his return.
Mikel Arteta - 7
Some neat passing in the middle and completed a fine performance by scoring a rocket of a free kick. Was a good performance.
Alex Song - 7
Another great assist from an increasingly confident player. Can be the foundation on which Arsenal build on if he can cut out some of the lapses in concentration and is more consistent with his positioning.
Gervinho - 6
Got an assist to his name despite not having the best offensive game. Strangely his value came from his discipline defensively ensuring Aston Villa’s counter attacks were quelled by him outpacing their attacks.
Theo Walcott - 8
Not only was his goal fantastic but so was his all round play. He was menacing and caused Warnock all sorts of problems all afternoon. Played in some dangerous balls and is certainly starting to show the world what he is capable of.
Tomas Rosicky - 7
Comfortable on the ball and some great turns all helped Rosicky complete the most number of passes in the attacking third according to eplindex.com
Robin Van Persie - 6.5
Could have scored a number of goals but surprisingly didn’t have his goal scoring boots on yesterday. He had a quieter game than usual especially by his normal standards.
Time to go off and have a roast and some more beers. Enjoy the rest of the evening.