Arsenal easily overcame the threat of Aston Villa at The Emirates this afternoon, winning 5-0. Rob Lyons picks out five talking points from today’s mismatch.
5. Francis Coquelin’s break-up play
The young midfield man was on song as he helped Arsenal keep hold of the ball by breaking-up play brilliantly.
At times he performed on the edge of the legalities of the game such was his tenacity and fight to win the ball back but he was certainly instrumental in cutting out the threat supplied by the Villans’ midfield.
4. Villa too slow breaking from midfield
On the rare occasion that Aston Villa did attempt to break forward from midfield, they were found lacking in any sort of high quality link between midfield and attack.
Christian Benteke was ineffective, however it was the midfield behind him which were to blame as they were completely outplayed and outfought by Arsenal; a trait which the Gunners aren’t known for but have exemplified in recent weeks.
Arsenal simply bossed the game and although they managed to score five goals, they never really moved into top gear during the game as they found it simple to play the ball around Villa.
Santi Cazorla and Mesut Ozil in particular were outstanding in the way they dictated play from the middle.
Olivier Giroud was pivotal in that he linked-up brilliantly with the aforementioned talents behind him and this was one of the main factors the Gunners were capable of keeping possession in the final third.
The stats show Villa had more of the ball but it’s how Arsenal used it is what stood out, despite the stats not being in the Gunners’ favour.
2. Villa go over 10 hours without a goal
It’s a tough time for Villa at the moment and although they wouldn’t be favourites to beat the Gunners, even at the best of times, this performance lacked any sort of cohesion.
Gil looked lively on the wing but even his energy and enthusiasm on the ball was snuffed out as Arsenal brilliantly pressurised in their own half.
Villa have only scored a measly eleven goals all season. A stat like that sends alarm bells ringing and although this is a major problem, the other end of the pitch is also a huge concern; a recipe for a relegation scrap if there ever was one.
It doesn’t get any easier for the Villans either, with a clash at home to Chelsea up next.
1. Wenger now has a selection headache
With Giroud scoring, Ozil and Theo Walcott performing brilliantly and Akpom doing well once he came on, there is certainly competition for places in the final third once Alexis Sanchez comes back into the fray.
Giroud has to be the standout performer up-front but Sanchez is going to have his work cut out once he returns. Arsene Wenger will surely be satisfied by how well his top midfielder Santi Cazorla and Giroud connected for the first goal.
Giroud’s run was timed to perfection as he anticipated exactly what Cazorla had in mind as they crafted a brilliant goal to set the tone early-on.
His goal, after just seven minutes was a blueprint of how the game was to continue.
Rob Lyons, Pundit Arena