Mar 26, 2012
Today, Arsenal won 3-0 against Aston Villa at the Emirates. It was our seventh Premier League win in a row and that gives us a three-point advantage over the Spuds, who could only draw with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge earlier in the day. It was also the first time since 1997 that the Gunners had two English goal scorers in the same game.
During the warm-up drills, we lost Laurent Koscielny to an injury and he was replaced by Johan Djourou, whose selection got our fans a little worried. Our Ivorian winger Gervinho started, with Aaron Ramsey on the bench.
Aston Villa had the first chance of the game as Marc Albrighton broke down the wing and his shot was just a little over the bar. After that, it was just total Arsenal domination and in the eighth minute, Robin van Persie produced a beautiful backheel pass for Theo Walcott to run onto but his shot was saved by Shay Given. The rebound fell to Bacary Sagna but he blasted it wide.
Eight minutes later, Gervinho slotted a ball through to Kieran Gibbs who was running into the penalty area. The fullback’s left-foot shot gave Given no chance and the ball went into the back of the net for the first goal of the game. It was Gibbs’ first-ever Premier League goal so well done to him.
In the 25th minute, Alex Song repeated his newly-perfected habit of feeding a lofted pass to Walcott, whose right-foot shot doubled Arsenal’s lead. It was the England international’s sixth Premier League goal of the season.
After that, van Persie shot over the bar, which was followed by Mikel Arteta’s long-range free-kick that was tipped over by Villa goalie. And then, we had a spell of some patient build-up in the midfield, knocking the ball around just waiting for the opportunity, which then did come. A great cross came in for our captain Van-tastic but his header was somehow saved by Given.
In the 38th minute, Song again fed van Persie, who was running on the goal but unfortunately the ball got caught under his feet and he tripped. He still got up and managed to hit his shot on target and even though he had beaten the goalkeeper, Villan left-back Stephen Warnock was there to clear it off the line.
The second half started just as the first had ended and Arsenal totally dominated the game. Villa’s substitute midfielder Gary Gardner fouled Tomas Rosicky and the resulting free-kick (taken by Arteta) was unable to go past the wall.
Rosicky then tried his luck but he failed to beat Given. After that, Arsene Wenger brought in Andre Santos for Gibbs, who hadn’t put a foot wrong in the game. Just minutes later, Gervinho was also substituted for Ramsey. Santos’ first piece of action wasn’t impressive at all as he conceded possession in a dangerous position but fortunately for us, Villa failed to capitalise on that error.
We then got another free-kick and this time too Arteta’s shot was tipped over the bar. A little bit later, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was brought down in the box and it looked like a clear penalty at first but TV replays showed that it was a fantastic tackle by Stephen Ireland.
In the third minute of injury time, Song was fouled thirty yards away from goal and Arteta once again stepped up to take it. He had failed with all his free-kick attempts but he finally succeeded this time around with a wonderful strike. It was the Spanish midfielder’s fifth Premier League goal of the season and certainly his best yet.
It ended 3-0 for the Gunners and Aston Villa did not have a shot on target in the entire match so that’s credit to our defence. I expected to win but i didn’t think it would be as comfortable as it was. Another important thing is that we now have the highest number of goal scorers this season, which dispels the popular belief among our detractors that we’re a one-man team.
I feel that out midfield did really well and dominated possession which made the victory possible for us. Also, our much maligned centre back Djourou deserves some credit because he did really well despite people moaning and groaning at him for his selection.
Song’s passing needs to be commended as well. His delivery has improved so much of late and it’s an extreme joy to watch him pick out those passes from the centre.
Next up is QPR away from home and considering the way we’re playing these days, i think we should get the three points in that one too. The Rangers have won just one of their last six league matches and that sole victory was their last week’s come-from-behind defeat of Liverpool at Loftus Road. So even though it is a London derby and QPR are showing some fight, i expect Arsenal to win.