Paul Lambert's Aston Villa side played really well and had the better chances for the first 30 minutes. And then Arsenal did some things and that was that. Mesut Özil scored on 33 minutes, Danny Welbeck on 34, and Aly Cissokho put the ball past Brad Guzan on 36 to seal Villa's fate for the day.
In truth, things were probably doomed from the start. With illness running through the squad, Ashley Westwood was what we'd call a "late scratch" in hockey and Carlos Sánchez — who didn't have the best of afternoons — entered the XI for him. Westwood's been massive for the Claret and Blues so far this year and he was a big loss today.
All that said though, Villa started brilliantly. Fabian Delph and Andi Weimann played a nice one-two in the first few minutes that forced Szczesny to make a nice save but it was Ciaran Clark who would have Villa's best chance of the day on 23 minutes.
After Gabby Agbonlahor was fouled in the attacking half, Tom Cleverley played in a near-perfect cross. Unfortunately for Villa, it was an inch from being perfect as Clark's diving head made enough contact to put the shot on goal but not quite anything more. Instead of being able to get a powered and/or directed header on goal, he deflected it to Szczesny who, in truth, made a solid save.
Villa then got caught pushing up the pitch on 33 minutes and it was the end of the end. With the Villa back four nearing midfield, Danny Welbeck played a textbook through ball for Mesut Özil who beat Guzan to put the Gunners ahead. It's the type of goal you just love to score against your friends in FIFA but hate to see happen to your team in real-life.
The roles were then reversed a minute later for the visitors as Özil provided Welbeck with the cross for his first Arsenal goal. Özil played in a brilliant ball in and around Clark for the former United man to fire into the back of the Villa net and while Clark probably could've done a little more to try and stop the cross, he'd have probably put it into the back of his own net anyways.
Speaking of putting the ball into one's own net, that's exactly what Aly Cissokho did on 36 minutes. Kieran Gibbs played in a ball that may or may not have reached Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain but we'll never know as Cissokho got his foot on it straight into the back of the net.
From there, things were pretty pedestrian. Jack Grealish got 45 minutes when he came on for Weimann at half-time, Charles N'Zogbia got 15, and Leandro Bacuna got a few.
The attendance at Villa Park today was 40,013. More of that, please.
And at the end of the weekend? Villa will be no worse than fifth. And level on points with second.