Well wasn't that just a breath of fresh air? For the first time in a long while, we put out an eleven which was fully committed to the cause. Not one player dragged their heels, and so we got the sort of performance from the Arsenal of early season. It was a joy to watch, as we simply tore Villa apart with our passing and pace.
Goal (Arsenal) (10) – No more than we deserved for our amazing play. A long ball through seemed to elude the Villa backline, and Freddie capitalised by latching onto it and chipping exquisitely over Sorensen.
Goal (Arsenal) (14) – Having just missed a sitter, I was fearing for Thierry in front of goal. But more fool me! Just two minutes later he burst into the box and slammed a left footed shot into the far corner, and wheeled away in celebration.
Goal (Arsenal) (28) – Well that's our goal of the season so far by a country mile! With Tel surrounded with players on the far right, he managed to twist and turn his way out and spread the ball to the left where Bergkamp waited. He put Ash through with a fantastic first time ball, and Cole hit the ball so sweetly into the bottom corner on the half volley. It was a real delight to watch.
Goal (Villa) (74) – Ash was caught slightly out of position. A ball came in which Angel was able to sweep home. Their only real chance and apart from a Hitzlsperger free kick; they didn't really threaten.
Man Of The Match – Thierry Henry
Jens Lehmann - 7 - As was widely predicted, he returned to the starting line up. It was for him, a very quiet game. He must have been laughing, with not a shot to save, but ever Gooner singing his name for a long period of the first half.
Ashley Cole - 7.5 - That's the Ash we all want to see week in week out. Kept the Villa right side quiet, and played amazing attacking football. Thoroughly deserved the goal, and what a goal it was!
Pascal Cygan - 7 - Another good game. He got physical with Villa, and they didn't seem to be able to handle it. Maybe ill have to stop singing “He's bald, he's sh*t, he plays when no-ones fit – its Cygan, its Cygan”
Philippe Senderos - 7 - Highly impressive today. Made an excellent challenge early on which seemed to do his confidence the world of good. He never looked back and dealt with whatever was thrown at him.
Lauren - 7 - Had little to do defensively, as the little threat Villa posed came down their right. He was as ever good with his over lapping runs.
Jose Reyes - 6.5 - A much improved display from Jose. His runs were bearing fruit this time, and his final ball was good in the first half. However, he did have a little dip at the start of the second. Hopefully he can go on and build on this.
Patrick Vieira - 7.5 - Someone apparently did tell him that the game last for ninety minutes after the midweek game. He played superbly well for the full ninety. He dominated the midfield, backed up by the experience of Edu, and was playing some amazing passes. The only frustrating thing is he keeps doing this, but on an inconsistent basis. One week he is amazing, the next very poor. Lets hope he can take the form he showed today forward. A close contender for man of the match
Edu - 7 - Ill come clean with you. When I saw Edu in the starting line up, I was almost hoping he would have a stinker, just so I could let rip and say his heads elsewhere etc etc etc. So it was typical of him to come back and put in a solid display. His experience helped the team and he gave his all. Unlucky not to score when he saw his shot come back off the post.
Freddie Ljungberg - 7.5 - Got though a lot of work and helped to tear the Villa apart. Took his goal well and really pushed the midfield further forward into attack.
Thierry Henry - 8 - I just love this guy when he plays like this. Amazing in attack, kissing the badge, scoring his goal, and working hard to win the ball back whenever we weren't in possession. He frequently won the ball back and in the second half when we relaxed, and was still going at 100%, never letting the Villa back line settle on the ball. Although how he missed that chance before he scored is beyond me. But as he had a game like that after, ill just put it down to a bobble in the pitch!
Dennis Bergkamp - 7 - Amazing passing all day. Set up the goal for Cole, and nearly scored himself early on. Another example of is vision and ability.
Robert Pires - 6 - Played up front with Tel after coming on. Could have scored, and was unlucky to see his shot deflect onto the post.
Mathieu Flamini - 6 - Did exactly the same job as Edu.
Cesc Fabregas – N/A - Not enough time to rate him. Although again he played a right wing after coming on. What is going on?!