Arsenal produce five-star display to thrash Aston Villa
- Credit: EMPICS Sport
Arsenal 5 Aston Villa 0
Arsenal picked up their fifth straight win – and their biggest of the season – as they put a poor Villa side to the sword at Emirates Stadium.
An outrageous piece of skill from Mesut Ozil set up Olivier Giroud for the opening goal and the Frenchman then turned provider for Ozil to make it 2-0 just after half-time.
Theo Walcott grabbed the Gunners’ third goal before Santi Cazorla netted from the penalty spot, following a trip on substitute Chuba Akpom, and Hector Bellerin opened his account to complete the scoring in added time.
Arsenal looked positive from the start and Nacho Monreal’s surging run set up an early opportunity for Aaron Ramsey, but the Welshman hooked his finish wide.
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However, the home side went ahead in the eighth minute when Per Mertesacker launched a long ball to Ozil, who used the outside of his boot to flick it first-time into the path of Giroud and the striker ran on to clip his shot beyond Brad Guzan.
The Gunners could have extended their lead soon afterwards, with Laurent Koscielny nodding back a cross that Ciaran Clark headed out from under the crossbar.
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And Cazorla was unlucky not to make it 2-0, winning a header against Jores Okore and playing a one-two with Giroud before firing a low drive that bounced off the post with Guzan beaten.
The Villa goalkeeper also dived to his left to claw away a robust attempt from Ramsey, while Ozil put the ball in the net, only for the linesman to signal offside.
Despite Arsenal’s domination, the visitors might have drawn level just before half-time as Carles Gil’s cross located the head of Andreas Weimann and David Ospina dived to make the save.
Villa went close again soon after the restart, with Weimann teeing up Christian Benteke inside the box, but the big Belgian stabbed the chance wide.
And the Gunners doubled their advantage on 56 minutes when Giroud returned the favour to Ozil, splitting the defence with a measured pass that allowed the German to run on and steer a low shot into the far corner.
The outcome was put beyond doubt seven minutes later when Walcott collected a throw from Ospina and galloped across the halfway line, then exchanged passes with Cazorla before turning Alan Hutton to fire past Guzan.
Giroud nearly inflicted further pain on Villa, heading Cazorla’s free-kick against the bar before he was withdrawn in favour of Akpom.
And the substitute earned Arsenal their fourth goal with 15 minutes left when he was tripped by Guzan – who then fumbled the resulting spot-kick from Cazorla over the line.
The home side continued to push forward and Akpom and Monreal both went close before Cazorla teed up Bellerin, who drilled home number five to complete Villa’s misery in injury time.
Arsenal: Ospina; Bellerin, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal; Coquelin; Walcott (Rosicky 70), Cazorla, Ramsey (Flamini 77), Ozil; Giroud (Akpom 70).