Arsenal went to the top of the Barclays Premier League table with a comfortable 2-0 win away at Aston Villa on Sunday. This caps off a brilliant week for the North London outfit, who qualified for the last 16 of the Champions League in midweek against the odds with a 3-0 win at Olympiakos. They could move down to 2nd in the Premier League though, if Leicester City beat Chelsea on Monday night.
First-half goals from Olivier Giroud and Aaron Ramsey were enough to secure the points for Arsene Wenger’s men, while Villa remain rooted to the bottom of the table with only 6 points on the board. The team in 19th, Sunderland, are 6 points ahead.
Here are 3 major talking points from yesterday’s game:
1) Solid Arsenal performance; veterans deliver yet again
Arsenal have shown the professionalism this season which we have hardly associated with them in the recent past. There haven’t been too many unexpected slip-ups or blips. Their key players have stepped up, with the likes of Ramsey, Alexis Sanchez and Giroud delivering on a consistent basis. Mesut Ozil has been absolutely outstanding. The German was once again the provider in Arsenal’s second goal, taking his assists’ tally for the season to 13.
Another major reason for their smooth season so far has been their defence, which has been hugely helped by the addition of Petr Cech in the summer. The former Chelsea man equalled David James’ all-time Premier League record of 169 clean sheets. To put it into perspective, the Czech has done in 223 lesser appearances than his English counterpart. The Gunners have the best defensive record in the league this season, and that has been a cornerstone to their success.
2) Best chance to break the duck
Arsenal are looking consistent and predictable, while the other challegers for the title have all been thoroughly unconvincing. The two Manchester clubs have flattered to deceive, while Leicester’s dream run will surely end sooner or later. Liverpool and Spurs are not good enough yet to put in a legitimate claim for the top prize. And of course, defending champions Chelsea are well and truly out of it.
It is therefore, Arsenal’s best chance to win their first league title since 2004. Wenger’s men have come close before, but have always been bettered by someone more consistent. This season, there is no sign of a team superior to them on that front. If their key players can stay fit for the majority of the campaign, the league is theirs to lose.
3) Aston Villa’s fate looks well and truly sealed
The Villans haven’t won a match since the opening day of the season back in August. They have had a change in manager, with Remi Garde replacing Tim Sherwood, but the Frenchman has not been able to change the team’s fortunes at all.
The players’ lethargic attitude in the first half made almost made it seem like they had given up after conceding an early penalty. Arsenal didn’t even need to get into top gear to win.
With just 6 points in 16 games, it looks a near-impossible task for Villa to survive this season. The clubs above them are all playing well and picking up points on a regular basis and so the longer this slump continues, the further adrift they will get cut.