So Arsenal stand proudly at the top of the Premier League table after this weekends round of football. Whether or not we remain there depends on tonight's match between title contenders Leicester City and relegation battlers Chelsea.
Victory on Wednesday against Olympiacos in Athens would have done two things for our team, number one we would have gained great confidence from qualification in such fashion but also using the same eleven (especially away from home once more) would see us drop physically in the second half, which is what we witnessed.
Being in control at half time was important so we should all lift our glasses and thank former Spurs old boy Alan Hutton for his contribution. Less than ten minutes on the clock Theo Walcott and Alan Hutton had a race for the ball heading towards the Villa penalty box, Walcott showed very good strength contesting shoulder to shoulder which Theo won, a few years ago and the Englishman would have more than likely lost that battle. Walcott then nipped in front of Hutton forcing the defender to pull Theo back. The decision was as clear as day even if it took a few extra seconds for the officials to reach the correct decision.
Very happy for Oliver Giroud to continue his scoring record, this time from the spot. Although can I be a little churlish about the kick not quite finding the corner. Had Brad Guzan guessed the right way then the outcome may have been different. Unnecessary moaning? Yeah probably, apologies. So 50 Premier league goals for Giroud then? Not to be sniffed at, his scoring record has been top bracket this season.
The most enjoyable part about the entire game for me was the second goal. Aaron Ramsey winning a tackle in the middle of the pitch, the ball finding Walcott on the left, his pass through to Özil was great to see, Özil seemed to take a second to realise he was actually through on goal rather than giving the ball earlier, as Guzan shifted towards him he simply squared it to Ramsey to score into an empty net. Not exactly sure what the Villa defenders were playing at to be honest, I guess that is why they are bottom of the league.
The reason why I enjoyed the goal so much was because of Walcott's contribution. Ever since Theo started playing for Arsenal he has been played on the right, perhaps because his interplay was never his strongest suit. Most of our wide playmakers have been placed in that position so they can come inside and contribute to our game. We've seen Walcott on the end of moves time and time again but this time he was the one creating the opportunity with an inch perfect pass. It would be great to see this more often in the future from him.
The second half was pretty much a non event as far as we were concerned. We were either forced onto the back foot or we intentionally went with what we had but we were pretty much in control.
Special mention to Nacho Monreal who seems to jump from game to game without much notice but almost everything he does is right. His blocks, interceptions, finding the right pass under pressure the lot. Koscielny next to him was also brilliant as he usually is. In fact Cech, Monreal and Koscielny are the main reasons as to why Arsenal currently have the second best defensive record in the Premier League so far.
Gibbs and Oxlade-Chamberlain coming on so early in the second half was proof that we were suffering from the excursions of midweek.
Oxlade-Chamberlain looked dangerous when he came on and probably looked the most likely to be involved in a third goal should it have come but equally made a few wrong choices when in the final third.
On a weekend when Manchester United lost, Tottenham lost, Liverpool draw at home and I guess one of Chelsea or Leicester City drop points, it's been a pretty sweet week.
Now for the big one against Manchester City.