Not much to say about the victory over Aston Villa. It was the comfortable victory that we needed, for the sake of Arsene Wenger’s health. It was what we deserved, too, having dominated Villa completely from the first whistle to the last.
The defenders, again, were crucial. Gibbs and Sagna always pushing forward. Vermaelen and Koscielny, too, joining the attack whenever possible. At times we were a bit gung-ho, and left huge gaps which Aston Villa (and Albrighton) could have done better with.
But I like this ultra-attacking (to use a FIFA term) approach. It doesn’t let our opponents settle. We knew what Aston Villa’s approach would be. And at times we have allowed that approach to work because we’re too slow to get going. The crowd loses it’s voice and the opponents get comfortable and even confident. But against Aston Villa, as has been the case in our recent home games, we attacked with 10 men and left Villa with no answer.
Away from home we will have to be a bit more cautious. Overloading the opponents works well if the other team is sitting back and letting us have the ball, but usually at their own grounds team like to defend higher up and make it difficult to keep the ball. The key against Villa was possession. We had 72% of the ball. Against a team like QPR away from home we can’t expect such emphatic dominance. Especially this season when our away performances have been rather poor at times. But it’s good to see us turning the Emirates into a real fortress.
So now this leaves us with 7 wins from the last 7 games, with 8 more to go. The way we are playing we can expect to win most of the remaining games, especially with our most difficult games, Chelsea and City, both at home. With form and momentum in our favor, we are favorites to finish 3rd. Things can change, as Wenger said, but this team has proven that they have the quality to match the very best teams. If you take out the first 7 games of the season, Arsenal, United, and City would be tied at 51 points at this stage. Worst team under Arsene Wenger?