Olivier Giroud’s 50th Premier League goal and an Aaron Ramesy’s strike gave Arsenal a 2-0 victory at a wet Villa Park on Sunday to go top of the league.
Giroud opened the scoring from the spot after eight minutes following a foul on Theo Walcott before Aaron Ramsey then doubled the advantage half an hour later, sweeping home at the end of a penetrating counter-attack all credit to Mesut Ozil who now has 13 assists in the league this season.
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger named an unchanged line up from the one that had progressed in Piraeus against Olympiacos in the UEFA Champions League. Giroud spearheaded the attack with Walcott retaining his place on the right. Mathieu Flamini and Aaron Ramsey started in central midfield.
Meanwhile, there was a familiar face in the opposition dugout. Remi Garde spent three years at Arsenal in the late 1990s, making 43 appearances during his three years at Highbury.
It took Giroud just eight minutes to continue his prolific recent form after he was presented with the opportunity when Alan Hutton tugged the rampaging Walcott back inside the area.
After a brief wait, referee Kevin Friend pointed to the spot and, as he did in Greece on Wednesday, Giroud finished clinically from the spot to bring up his 50th Premier League goal.
With seven minutes left off the opening 45 minutes, Ramsey won possession midway inside his own half before finding the Giroud who combined well with Walcott and then Ozil who fed Ramsey with the incisive return pass despite being through on goal to sweep home.
The second half lacked any form of bite from the visitors but the introduction of Carles Gil brought in a bit of a momentum for Villa but the Gunners held on to see out the game at 2-0.
The victory meant another demonstration of intent from a side whose professional display here ensured a place at the league’s summit. They will stay beyond Monday night providing Leicester City don’t beat Chelsea.
It all sets things up tantalisingly for Arsenal’s next fixture – a heavyweight clash against Manchester City in eight days time. After this performance, the Gunners can be confident of going into Christmas with a very real chance of winning a first league title in 12 years.