Was never called into action, but dealt well under what limited pressure Aston Villa could muster in the second half.
A real class player whose return to first-team action has ushered in Arsenal’s hot streak of late. Supported Walcott at all times with overlapping runs, but was never caught out defensively.
With Gervinho able to cover when need be, the England international enjoyed a number of forward forays which kept Alan Hutton on the back foot. Was rewarded for his attacking intent with the opening goal of the afternoon and his first in the Premier League this season, before giving way for Andre Santos midway through the second-half.
A late replacement for Laurent Koscielny, the Swiss centre-back was forced to overcome an elbow to the face early on in the first half. He recovered, and gave a strong display to ensure the Frenchman’s absence went unnoticed.
A real heavyweight in the Arsenal first-team, the Belgian defender looked assured against a limited frontline and dealt well alongside Djourou with the late introduction of the lively Weimann. Just as confident going forward, proving a threat in the box and with his distribution.
A midfield anchor with the ability to take on the creative mantle, the Cameroon international once again gave a display which oozed class and confidence. Villa never truly tested Song defensively, but going forward, he again provided a delicate lofted through ball to find Walcott as the winger doubled Arsenal’s lead.
In comparison to Walcott, Rosicky and Song, the Spaniard had less impact on the game yet his contribution should not be underestimated as he kept possession well when Arsenal were not enjoying one of their free-flowing periods going forward. Nearly scored from 25-yards only for Shay Given’s finger tips to stop his goalbound effort, but the Irishman couldn't keep out his late free-kick.
The Czech international is doing his best to convince that his improvement in recent weeks is not just for the short term, with another fine display in midfield. Combined with Walcott, Rosicky helped to overwhelm full-back Stephen Warnock throughout the game, while showed nimble feet to make space in the centre of the park.
A display full of attacking intent, and crucially, quality in the final ball. Continued his blossoming partnership with full-back Sagna down the right-hand side and showed a delightful first touch throughout, most importantly for his goal to make it 2-0.
R. van Persie
A rare quiet afternoon for the Dutchman, who was never gifted a clear-cut chance on goal. Tested Given when he was able to, and his forward play again remained immaculate, whether it be holding the ball up or linking up with his midfield.
Indecision can often limit the Ivorian’s game, but the improvement he talked about making in midweek was on display on Saturday. The former Lille man linked up well with Gibbs throughout, teeing up the young full-back for the opening goal, while he was also on hand to provide defensive cover for the 22-year-old. Taken off with 25 minutes remaining.
Can’t be blamed for either goal with both efforts coming from close range, but did well to thwart Van Persie and Arteta in the first half to prevent his side going behind even further.
Gave a marginally better performance than his fellow defenders, making a great tackle on Walcott as the Arsenal man looked to shout, while also displaying the creative side to his game when making a rare push forward.
The centre-back may have done well aerially, but was beaten by Van Persie whenever the Dutchman had a yard on him. Really poor for Gibbs’ opening goal, with the 28-year-old just watching as the full-back ran towards the six-yard box.
The Scotsman may not have struggled as much as his fellow full-back on the opposite flank, but the former Spurs man still did not have an easy afternoon against Gervinho and Gibbs – particularly with the pair linking up down his side to give the hosts a 1-0 lead.
Did well to keep the score at 2-0 in the first half as he headed Van Persie’s goalbound effort off the line, but other than that, was overwhelmed by the trio of Walcott, Sagna and Rosicky whose pace and movement he could not compete with.
Replaced by Gary Gardner just after half-time after a forgettable display. Failed to get his foot in the game, with the passing of Arsenal’s midfield trio too much for him.
The winger’s final ball was lacking and he can be short-sighted in possession, but it is hard to criticise Albrighton with often so little support provided to the 22-year-old’s pacy runs on the break.
Much like Albrighton, he struggled with the final ball but more due to a lack of support than quality. Showed signs of frustration in the second 45 but continued to create, particularly after the introduction of Weimann.
The Villa captain wasn’t at the races on Saturday afternoon, none more so than when allowing Gibbs to drift unmarked into the away side’s box and fire Arsenal into the lead.
Other than an accidental elbow to Johan Djourou’s nose in the opening minutes of the game, the ex-Leicester City man was isolated when forward and unable to get into the rhythm of the game when dropping deep. Replaced by Weimann with 25 minutes remaining.
No wonder Villa fans are questioning McLeish’s tactics, with the pacy forward deployed deep in the opening phase of the game. Soon began to push further forward, but never got the chance to test Szczesny in the Arsenal goalmouth.
- 21 Ł. Fabiański
- 25 C. Jenkinson
Came on in place of Gibbs and almost immediately cost his side a goal, with his inaccurate pass allowing Weimann the chance to take a free run at Szczesny’s goal.
The Welshman’s form has been brought into question of late, but looked comfortable enough after his introduction in place of Gervinho.
- 30 Y. Benayoun
Driving late cameo from the 18-year-old in place of Walcott to ensure there was no let up in the pressure on Villa.
- 29 M. Chamakh
- 22 B. Guzan
Made a late appearance and was unable to change the tide of a game already decided.
- 32 N. Baker
- 25 B. Bannan
Replaced Herd for the majority of the second half, with his first act of the game to bring down Rosicky just outside his own box with the midfielder bearing down on goal.
- 40 S. Carruthers
Replaced Heskey with 25 minutes remaining, and was almost immediately gifted a golden chance to get his side back into the game following Andre Santos careless loss of possession. Unfortunately he couldn’t keep his head, and the Austrian completely skewed his shot, yet at least Weimann applied some pressure on the Arsenal centre-backs.