CHELSEA DREW WITH MAN CITY…VICTORY OVER ASTON VILLA BETTER THAN THOSE OF MANU AND SPURS…SOUTHAMPTON LOST AT HOME TO SWANSEA !
Arsenal 5 – 0 Aston Villa
Arsenal score five for the first time this season
Gunners level with Southampton on 42 points
Bellerin’s goal is his first in professional football
Villa have now gone six league games without a goal
Arsenal moved above Tottenham to fifth in the Premier League courtesy of an emphatic victory over struggling Aston Villa.
The Gunners dominated and took the lead when Olivier Giroud collected Mesut Ozil’s neat flick and finished well.Santi Cazorla’s shot struck the post before well-taken finishes from Ozil and Theo Walcott made it 3-0.Giroud hit the bar with a header before Cazorla fired home a penalty and Hector Bellerin made it 5-0 from 30 yards out.
It is the first time Arsenal have hit five goals in a match this season and completes a hat-trick of successive league victories for Arsene Wenger’s side.
The Gunners have now claimed 19 points out of a possible 24, have not conceded in their last three league games and, with significant players returning from injury, are in a strong position to make a push for a 19th successive top-four finish.
Even without injured leading scorer Alexis Sanchez, the home side had too much quality for Villa.Ozil, starting his first league game since October following a knee injury, was lively, producing a deft flick to set up Giroud for the first goal eight minutes into the first half.
All four of the goals Mesut Ozil has been involved in this Premier League season have been against Aston Villa (two goals, two assists).He then collected a pass from the French striker and finished low into the corner of the net in the early stages of the second half.
Walcott also continued his rehabilitation in impressive fashion, adding to his goal in the FA Cup win at Brighton last week with a curling finish from inside the box.
And Cazorla capped off another fine display by firing a penalty through the grasp of Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan, who had fouled substitute Chuba Akpom.
Bellerin has been quietly establishing himself as an effective full-back in recent weeks and his low, driven goal from more than 30 yards out in stoppage time was arguably the pick of the bunch.
Villa have a decent record at the Emirates, having claimed three wins at the ground, including a 3-1 victory on the opening day of last season, but they are a team woefully short of goals and confidence.
Paul Lambert’s side have now gone eight league games without a win, six top-flight matches without a goal and remain just three points above the relegation zone.
They had one superb chance with the score at 1-0, but David Ospina saved Andreas Weimann’s close-range header.
And by the time Gabriel Agbonlahor and new signing Scott Sinclair were introduced from the bench midway through the second half, the game was already lost.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger: “It was positive because we kept a clean sheet. We know we can score goals. We needed to be patient because they tried to stop us going forward. With time going on we had a chance to play through their lines and that made the difference.We had a rigorous attitude defensively. Even at 4-0, 5-0 up people were willing to work back. We want to play collectively and offensively to the end.”
SOUTHAMPTON 0 – 1 SWANSEA
Swansea win at Southampton for first time in 62 years
Saints suffer first Premier League defeat in seven
Bertrand receives straight red card late on
Swansea captain Williams clears off line twice from Mane
Jonjo Shelvey’s stunning 25-yard strike fired Swansea City to a hard-fought Premier League victory at Southampton.
The midfielder had already hit the post before he drilled powerfully beyond Fraser Forster in the 83rd minute.
The hosts struggled to carve out chances throughout and their frustration told when Ryan Bertrand saw red for a late lunge on Modou Barrow.
The defeat sees Saints miss the chance to displace Manchester United in third, while Swansea climb one place to ninth.
Both teams came into the St Mary’s contest with a point to prove after FA Cup exits and it was Ronald Koeman’s side who looked most determined to make amends early on.
They almost made the breakthrough when James Ward-Prowse, fresh from signing a contract extension, saw his shot from a Nathaniel Clyne cross saved by the right boot of Lukasz Fabianski.
England right-back Clyne, who was the subject of reports linking him with a transfer to Manchester United, looked bright throughout the game.
Swansea’s win at Southampton was their first since a 4-1 success in March 1953, when the club was still known as Swansea Town. They would not become Swansea City until 1969.
Midfielder Jack Cork, who left St Mary’s to join Swansea on Friday, signed too late to be thrown straight into a meeting with his former employers.
Swansea boss Garry Monk was also without the suspended Gylfi Sigurdsson, leaving the visitors shorn of creativity in the final third, but Bafetimbi Gomis did his best to provide the spark for the Swans with a lovely take and first-time shot that flashed just wide after 13 minutes.
The Saints remained dominant in possession as the match moved into the second period, with Fabianski only lightly employed to keep out a clutch of Ward-Prowse efforts.
Monk praises Swansea tactics
As with Gomis’s chance in the first half, Swansea nearly sucker-punched Saints when Shelvey’s low drive from distance came back off the post with Forster beaten.
But Shelvey made no mistake when presented with a shooting chance with seven minutes remaining, lashing a brilliant strike beyond Forster.
Southampton surged forward in search of an equaliser but were thwarted by Swans captain Ashley Williams, who twice cleared off the line from substitute Sadio Mane.
Home hopes were finally extinguished with the 89th-minute dismissal of Bertrand, who went in heavily on Barrow, leaving the young forward to be taken off on a stretcher.
Southampton manager Ronald Koeman: “We are very frustrated. I think the most lucky team won today.
“We created chances, had a lot of possession, pressed them, but then you have to score. Maybe in the second half we lost a bit of control and that is a pity because we didn’t deserve to lose today.”
On Bertrand’s sending-off: “In my opinion it is not a red card. The sanction is too heavy. If we can appeal then we will.”
Swansea manager Garry Monk: “We could have done better in the first half, but at half-time I said ‘let’s get through this quarter of an hour and they will get frustrated and we will get our chances’. We thoroughly deserved the three points. Jonjo’s goal deserved to win any match.”
On Bertrand red and Barrow injury: “I thought it was a bad tackle, but a red card? I’m not so sure. Mo is not one who stays down. We will assess him in the morning but he is a young player and I think it was more the shock of the challenge. He will be fine I think.”