Arsenal run amok at Aston Villa to top Premier League
Holly Thackeray | December 13, 2015
Aston Villa 0-2 Arsenal
- Olivier Giroud penalty put Gunners ahead
- Frenchman’s goal is his 50th Premier League strike
- Aaron Ramsey made it 2-0 before the break
- Petr Cech equalled Premier League record of 169 clean sheets
- Arsenal now top the Premier League on 33 points
Gunners go top after Giroud and Ramsey goals
Arsenal’s players broke a couple of personal milestones, as the Gunners propelled themselves to the top of the Premier League with a 2-0 away victory against relegation-threatened Aston Villa.
Two first-half strikes preceded a slight revival from the hosts, but it was ultimately Arsenal’s day at Villa Park, though there are tricky games ahead with Manchester City and Southampton potential stumbling blocks in a packed Christmas fixture list.
Walcott wins Villa Park penalty
Theo Walcott’s acceleration panicked Alan Hutton within the first seven minutes of play in the West Midlands, and the Scot hauled the sprightly striker down in the penalty area, though it took officials a few confusing moments to award this.
Finally, in-form Olivier Giroud, fresh from midweek hat-trick heroics, once again got Arsenal’s fire started with a clinically taken spot-kick, sending Brad Guzan the wrong way for good measure as he struck his 50th Premier League goal.
A constant barrage of Gunners attacks commenced, with expert assist maker Mesut Ozil’s curling free-kick narrowly missing Laurent Koscielny’s head, as the defender broke away from Villa’s backline far too easily.
The Villans were far from competent going forward either, as Leandro Bacuna hacked at a ball from Carlos Sanchez that was clawed away calamitously by Petr Cech, with the wideman’s attempt at a volley sailing harmlessly into the stands.
While, midfielder Idrissa Gueye’s wild and wide punt from distance summed up a disastrous first-half for the Birmingham-based club, who look prime for the drop.
Ramsey and Ozil combine for kicks
Villa’s hopes of a comeback before the break were firmly quashed as exuberant Aaron Ramsey dispatched a true box-to-box strike.
The Welshman picked Gueye’s pocket at one end, before breaking at speed and setting off a quick and lethal counter, finally receiving Ozil’s unselfish assist in the opposition area and sinking Arsenal’s second.
Remi Garde’s guys were sliced through far too easily, their defence sent into spirals by the Gunners, and headed into the break needing a real half-time pick-up.
Gunners get sloppy
Rudy Gestede made a hash of a golden chance, sending his header across the box after Hutton hooked the ball in, as the hosts emerged with greater resolve in the opening few minutes of the second-half.
Villa Park was then momentarily lifted, urging their players to push on, after Cech and Per Mertesacker combined clumsily to almost slip-up and allow Gestede sight of goal.
With the Gunners (7/5 from Coral to next defeat Man City) off-balance, Hutton once again pumped in a dangerous ball, but this time it was wideman Scott Sinclair who fluffed his lines, sending the ball flying over the crossbar, but the Villans were buoyed.
Aston Villa appeared stirred as Arsenal looked shaken, with Bacuna’s brilliant effort on his right foot another warning sign to the guests.
Cech ticks box for clean sheet record
As Villa’s vibrant resurgence faded, Arsenal once again seized control to grab a foothold in the game, with Ramsey once again central to some trademark intricate attacking play, though Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain could not convert.
Still, it was Arsene Wenger’s post protector Cech who will claim the historical plaudits from this game, as the former Chelsea custodian equalled David James’ Premier League clean sheet record of 169.
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