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Barclays Premier League

Emirates Stadium (ATT 60,108) 24th March 2012 - Kick off 15:00 Ref: P Dowd

Arsenal Arsenal vs Aston Villa A Villa

Arsenal 3

K Gibbs (16)
T Walcott (25)
M Arteta (90+3)

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Seven in a row for Gunners

Blistering Arsenal maintain red-hot form against Villa

Last Updated: 24/03/12 7:42pm

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Arsenal made it seven consecutive Premier League wins on Saturday following a 3-0 victory over Aston Villa at Emirates Stadium.

First-half goals from Kieran Gibbs and Theo Walcott put the home side in firm control of the game with Mikel Arteta's late special free-kick adding the icing on the cake.

Arsenal were in the ascendancy from the off and the home side got their noses in front when Gibbs managed to squeeze the ball past Shay Given at his near post.

Man of the match: Theo Walcott gave Stephen Warnock a horrible afternoon with plenty of strong runs down the right. Goal of the match: Mikel Arteta's late free-kick easily beat Shay Given to confirm Arsenal's dominance of this match. Save of the match: Not a save from the goalkeeper that wins this honour but Warnock's superb header off the line to deny Robin van Persie. Moment of the match: A rare goal from Kieran Gibbs gave Arsenal the lead and it was all about the Gunners from there. Talking point: Can Arsenal keep this form going for the rest of the season and stay clear in third?

The Gunners continued to probe and the lively Walcott doubled the home side's advantage in the 25th minute when he latched onto Alex Song's long ball before coolly slotting home.

Just when it looked like Arsenal would not be adding to their two-goal lead late on Arteta made it 3-0 with virtually the last kick of the game with a blistering long-range free-kick.

Before kick-off, there was applause as a banner of former Arsenal midfielder Fabrice Muamba was passed among supporters, the Bolton player now making good progress following his cardiac arrest last weekend.

There was an early stoppage when Johan Djourou went down following a stray elbow from former England striker Emile Heskey, preferred to Austrian Andreas Weimann - who scored a stoppage-time winner against Fulham last time out.

The Switzerland international needed treatment for a bloody nose, but there was no action taken by Phil Dowd - much to the annoyance of Gunners boss Arsene Wenger.

It was Villa who created the first opening when Marc Albrighton charged down the right and into the Arsenal penalty area, only to stumble and fire the ball over the bar.

Offensive

Arsenal were soon on the offensive, with Walcott's shot blocked before right-back Bacary Sagna blasted the loose ball wide.

The Gunners took the lead through an unlikely source after 16 minutes.

Gervinho fed Gibbs into the left side of the Villa box, and the defender's low, angled drive squirmed under Shay Given's arm for the England international's first Premier League goal.

Arsenal maintained momentum, and after 25 minutes, Walcott dispatched a magnificent effort to double Arsenal's lead.

Song's chipped pass into the Villa box was taken in his stride on the run by the England winger, whose next touch was to calmly stroke the ball into the bottom corner.

The Gunners were rampant now, with Arteta's fierce drive from 20 yards being tipped over by Given.

When Villa did get some respite on the break, the delivery into the Arsenal penalty area was poor.

Stephen Warnock denied Gunners skipper Robin van Persie with a desperate flying header on the line after more slick build-up from the hosts.

Villa had to come out positive for the second half, which then left gaps as Arsenal looked to capitalise on the counter-attack.

Awarded

Arsenal were awarded a free-kick yards out after substitute Gary Gardner tugged back Tomas Rosicky. Arteta struck his effort into the wall.

On the hour, a quick throw out by Wojciech Szczesny sent Czech midfielder Rosicky away, who fed Gervinho down the left, but his cutback from the byline flew across the six-yard box.

Rosicky was central to the action now, with Given beating away his 25-yard drive.

After 65 minutes, Heskey was replaced by Weimann. Arsenal soon made a double change as Aaron Ramsey and full-back Andre Santos came on for Gervinho and Gibbs.

The Brazilian's first contribution on his return to action from a broken ankle was to give the ball away to Weimann, but the Austrian lost composure in the Arsenal box and fluffed his big chance, stabbing across goal and wide.

Arsenal were screaming for a penalty when substitute Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain scampered away down the right and went down under a sliding challenge from Stephen Ireland, but referee Dowd correctly ruled the midfielder had just got the ball first.

The crowd were on their feet again in stoppage-time when Arteta cracked home a 25-yard free-kick to round off a fine afternoon's work from Wenger's reborn side.

ArsenalTeam StatisticsAston Villa
3Goals0
21st Half Goals0
8Shots on Target0
7Shots off Target1
4Blocked Shots2
15Corners5
7Fouls13
2Offsides3
0Yellow Cards5
0Red Cards0
87.8Passing Success67.3
10Tackles13
100Tackles Success84.6
71.9Possession28.1
55.4Territorial Advantage44.6
608Total Passes226
30Total Crosses16
133Lost Balls126
62Recoveries47
70.71st Half Poss.29.3
73.22nd Half Poss.26.8

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Table

Barclays Premier League

Barclays Premier League
Pos Team P Pts
1 Liverpool 34 77
2 Chelsea 34 75
3 Manchester City 33 71
4 Arsenal 34 67
5 Everton 34 66
6 Tottenham Hotspur 34 60
7 Manchester United 33 57
8 Southampton 34 48
9 Newcastle United 34 46
10 Stoke City 34 43
11 Crystal Palace 34 40
12 West Ham United 34 37
13 Hull City 33 36
14 Aston Villa 33 34
15 Swansea City 34 33
16 West Bromwich Albion 33 33
17 Norwich City 34 32
18 Fulham 34 30
19 Cardiff City 34 29
20 Sunderland 33 26

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