The Gunners secured their seventh consecutive Premier League with a dominant win over a struggling Aston Villa side. First half goals to Kieran Gibbs and Theo Walcott effectively sealed the tie, while a late stoppage time screamer by Arteta put the icing on the cake. With Chelsea and Tottenham dropping points in their respective 0-0 draw, it was great to see Arsenal capitalise and consolidate their current third place position.
While it was mainly positive news, before the match there was bad injury news with Laurent Koscielny waking up before the match with tendinitis in his knee. He was deemed unable to play with Wenger saying post-match he couldn’t run on it without pain. While Djourou had a solid match alongside Vermaelen it is definitely hoped the Frenchman’s injury is not too serious and he makes a swift return.
Onto the performance and for the first time in a while the Gunner’s took away three points from the match without having to fight out tough and ugly battle. All over the pitch Arsenal were dominant and free-flowing, which allowed them to control virtually the entire match. Props must go to Alex Song for yet again delivering his trademark assist over the top and also to Theo Walcott for finishing it off clinically and having an excellent performance.
We now look forward to our upcoming game away at QPR in a weeks time. While they are lingering in the relegation zone they shouldn’t be under-estimated, particularly after the recent miracle comeback they made against Liverpool a week ago.
on the performance…
I felt it was a very dynamic, fluent performance in the first half with top technical quality. It was a controlled performance in the second half, we controlled the game and managed not to concede a goal. Our fatigue came in a bit because we gave a lot at Everton on Wednesday night to win the game. Overall I am very happy, very pleased because we managed to score goals and not concede any. We have consistency at the moment, so let’s go home and wait for the next game.
on rising from 17th to third…
At the time [we were 17th] I agree it was a dream to be in third but what you do is come in and do your job as well as you can, stay positive and work hard. I was optimistic because the attitude of the players was positive every day. We have gone through difficult times, we have learned that nothing is guaranteed and we must keep humility and focus to finish the season in a strong, convincing way.
on the team’s resurgence…
I didn’t expect we would be in third today because it didn’t only depend on us. We needed our results and results in our favour from opponents. In the past month it has turned our way so we have to make sure we keep the momentum. We look to be a team on the up so that is positive. We look at the next game and try to win it – that’s all we can do. We have eight games to go, four at home, four away. Next is QPR and that is certainly another battle for us so let’s go there and try to be positive.
on the winning run justifying his faith in the team…
It is always very difficult in our game, because you multiply the positive vibes by 25 and also the negative vibes by 25. That makes our job look easy sometimes, and other times so difficult. When you are in a bad period it is very hard to get out of it, when you are in a good period you need to keep your urgency. The fact we are close to the end of the season means every game is a cup final.
on Laurent Koscielny…
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. We decided in the morning when he woke up. He came to see me and said he was not sure that he could play with that pain. So we called somebody up and pushed him in the warm-up. Straight away after the first run he said he could not even move. How bad it is we have to assess.
on Robin van Persie’s future…
We have had no indications yet and Champions League football is not guaranteed. We can manage it if we keep our performances at this level. Considering Van Persie, we have spoken many times about it and there is not much more to add.
on goals from all over the team…
I believe what people forget when you play at home, when we have the ambition that we have, is that you need full backs who go forward. We played for a long time with centre backs as full backs and that kills your offensive drive a little bit. Then we went a lot through the middle and relied on Van Persie. Now we have a bit more variation in our build-up play and therefore we are more dangerous as well.
on Theo Walcott’s display…
Theo had a very good performance and scored a great goal. You have to give him credit for that. But I would like to give credit to the pass from Song, because it is not the first time he has done that. You do not see many defensive midfielders [do that]. If you look at the assists that he has made this season, you will see that his numbers are top in Europe.
Sagna Djourou Vermaelen Gibbs
Walcott Rosicky Gervinho
Van Persie (c)
Wojciech Szczesny | 6.5: Was hardly called into action, but did deal with the small amount of pressure Aston Villa were able to put on the Pole.
Bacary Sagna | 7.0: The reliable and consistent right-back put in another solid performance. Was always available on attack and supported Walcott at every opportunity, but was never found out of position.
Johan Djourou | 6.5: While he received a knock early he came back well and gave a strong display filling in for Koscielny to good effect.
Thomas Vermalen | 7.0: Was hardly troubled at the back by Villa. Distributed very well from the back and also posed a threat at set-pieces. He raking ball to Walcott in the first half was a perfect example of a cross-field ball.
Kieran Gibbs | 7.0: Was not shy to go forward and it paid dividends with the young Englishman scoring his first goal for the club. (68′)
Alexandre Song | 7.5: While Villa could not really test Song defensively, the Cameroon holding midfielder still flourished showing his ability on attack. His pin-point assist over the top is starting to become his trademark!
Tomas Rosicky | 7.0: Maintained his fine run of form and was very nimble and agile on his feet. Linked up well in midfield and attack to keep Villa on the back-foot
Mikel Arteta | 7.0: As always the Spaniards distribution and ball retention was nearly faultless. Scored an absolute screamer from a free-kick in stoppage time to finish with a flourish.
Theo Walcott | 8.0: Looked full of attacking intent and was supported excellently by Sagna down the right flank. Showed his great first touch on numerous occasions, including the one for his clincally finished goal after an excellent over the top ball by Song. (78′)
Robin van Persie | 6.5: It was a rare off-day for the Dutchman, although he played very well linking up with team-mates and making excellent runs. Almost scored, although his shot was just deflected by a Villa defender’s head.
Gervinho | 7.0: The Ivorian seemed to be serious about his talk of improvement mid-week and displayed it. Linked up well on his final ball and also took it upon himself to track back when needed. (68′)
- Notable substitions
Andre Santos | 6.0: Gave away the ball with his first touch of the ball and was almost punished for it. Otherwise a comfortable game for the Brazilian.
Aaron Ramsey | 6.5: The Welshman was very comfortable on the ball after coming on in place of Gervinho.
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