4 Talking Points From Arsenal’s 5-0 Thrashing Of Aston Villa

By on February 2, 2015

Arsenal thrashed Aston Villa 5-0 at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday afternoon to move level on points in fourth place. Here, Gunner333 gives us 4 talking points from the game….

Collecting maximum points from their last two Premier League matches without conceding, Arsenal would be quite the optimists heading into their clash with Lambert’s Villains, who had not scored in their last eight-hours of league football.

After the game seemed poised in the early stages, it would be Arsenal who would draw first blood, catching Villa on the counter. Özil flicking on a Mertesacker clearance to unleash Giroud. The Frenchman charging forward into the box before shifting his body position to lift one into the far corner and hand the Gunners an important early lead.

Just the one goal down at the break, Villa were caught out early in the second half when Giroud repaid Özil’s first half favour to slip the ball out wide to the German, who clinically rolled it beyond Guzan to double the Gunners advantage.

Little time for the visitors to think between the second and third goals, as Arsenal kept on coming. This time Walcott got in on the action, utilising a change of pace to latch onto a Cazorla pass, cut inside and curl one into Guzan’s net to make it three.

At this point, Villa seemed reluctant to test Arsenal any longer and it just became a case of by how many the Gunners would be victorious. Giroud was denied a second when his header smashed against the bar, but an opportunity did open up shortly after when Guzan rushed out to chop down Akpom in the box. Cazorla less-than-convincingly scored the spot-kick, although the Villa keeper did get a hand to it.

Arsenal had not finished here though and took the Villains to the slaughter, as Bellerin stroked home a delightful fifth from distance, confirming Arsenal’s biggest win of the season.

An excellent performance from the Gunners which I shall now highlight four key talking points from.

1. Midfield trio

Implementing tactics of old Arsenal, Wenger set the side up against Villa to play on the counter. When space opened up the team would move forward and when the opportunity broke down, move back. This concept focused mainly on a platform of a midfield three, which remained tight and compact for the majority of the game, in order to aid both defence and attack when suitable.

All three of Cazorla, Ramsey and Coquelin exhibit great agility, stamina and pace, meaning they were versatile enough to sit back in holding roles when Villa were on the charge or create space going forward as a midfield triangle.

Each Gunners’ attack acted like the side would ‘prod’ the opposition and try to sniff out a chance, but then retreat to their base positions to suffocate any Villa counter-attacks. Once again, it was an idyllic performance and it made for a very impressive result.

2.  Ospina Brave

Perhaps the greatest advantage of possessing two highly-rated keepers is the ability to chop-and-change and see different types of personality develop as a result. Szczesny dropped, Colombian Ospina returned after featuring in both the Manchester City and Stoke successes and he once against kept a clean sheet.

It is difficult to tell two keepers apart on traits such as shot-stopping or their handling of the ball, but ultimately character will always differ. In this case, Ospina was confident and courageous, bolting shut the Arsenal door by being quick off his line and assertive at set-pieces to gather the ball.

The Colombian possesses something we have not seen at Arsenal in more recent seasons, that being a mental strength between the sticks. Yes, this performance is mostly down to the expert play going forward, but spare a thought for the former-Nice man, who denied Villa with a fine save late in the first half when the score was still 1-0. Had he not, the story of this game may have told very differently.

3. Contented Gunners

For so many years it has been “crucial” for Arsenal to abide by their possession game, as if the aesthetics were more important than a sound result. Well not anymore. Against Villa, the Gunners conceded more than half of ball possession, a real rarity in the modern Arsenal era, especially at home. However, this meant that the Gunners would spend less time wearing themselves out through pointless passes and only have the ball when they needed it.

Wenger’s boys seem more than happy with the new system, as shown by the wonderful results being churned out. Villa ate out of the palms of Arsenal hands in this game, pressing highly when the Gunners had possession, meaning more space was left behind the Claret defence for us to take advantage of.

Given the natural pace of the Arsenal team, this style of play is far more suitable as it allows for the side to soak up pressure in a compact, organised unit at the back, tire out the opposiition and break with speed at the other end.

4. Shooting Boots

Even for an attack-minded side such as Arsenal this was a real shock, especially with the current lack of intense football which we have beem treated to in the past. Wenger spoke after the game about the technique involved in the Gunners’ finishing against the Villains, which certainly seemed as if it had been adopted from vigorous training sessions.

Mesut Özil is fast approaching his former-Madrid self,  converting a divine finish of his own, which focused on accuracy and placement, as oppose to power. Similarly, when the German played through Giroud, it seemed as though the Frenchman had initially fluffed the chance, but the finish he unfurled seemed instinctive and it found the bottom corner of the Villa net precisely.

Most football fans will believe the shooting we saw from Arsenal was merely a case of natural ability, as this kind of predatorial striking is only something you inherit as a developing footballer. However, even the likes of Bellerin- who, may I add, I am becoming a massive fan of- swept a striker’s shot into the far corner with ease and he plays full-back! So perhaps the team is looking into some new shooting methods? What do you think?

Thanks for reading and feel free to comment below.

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