The pressure was on once again, with this win potentially seeing us top of the table. We looked confident and self assured right from the off though, and it wasn’t long before we took the lead.
Theo Walcott made a great run early on, and the surprising strength he showed as well as his blistering pace meant he clearly had the beating of Alan Hutton. The Aston Villa man clumsily brought him down in the box as a result, and after a long pause referee Kevin Friend pointed to the spot.
Olivier Giroud stepped up and sent Brad Guzan the wrong way, smashing it in to make it 1-0.
We were dominant from that point, and Villa looked visibly rattled. Giroud had a decent chance to put a looping header over Guzan, and was furious with himself for failing to score his second of the afternoon.
It’s never that comfortable when you’re only 1-0 up, so thankfully we managed to go into the break with a two goal buffer. Villa were looking to apply some pressure, and put plenty of bodies forward. Aaron Ramsey put a tackle in at the edge of our box though, and the counter was on.
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He played the ball forward to Mesut Özil, who spread the play to Theo Walcott. The pacy forward then opted against running with the ball, instead returning it to Özil with a great forward pass.
Walcott’s pass put us three on one with the Villa defence, and Özil was able to square the ball across to Aaron Ramsey for a tap in. 2-0.
We looked content to turtle a little in the second half, and we allowed Villa to come onto us far more. There were some scary moments in defence when we began looking overly confident, with Per Mertesacker, Olivier Giroud, and Petr Cech all coming close to giving the ball away in dangerous areas.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was brought on in the second half, and looked like a really bright addition. He was constantly driving the ball forward, and put the game back in our control for large parts of the second half.
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There were some half chances for the Ox, Ramsey, and Giroud in the second half, but it was far less exciting than the fast paced first 45. We held on for the win though, and the three points took us top of the table.
Hopefully Leicester and Chelsea get a draw on Monday, and we’re able to build a lead at the top of the Premier League.