Alfresco had an employee Christmas party this morning which caused me to miss seeing most of the first half of this game. Watching the second half made me wish I would have seen the first half, as i spent most of the 45 minutes cringing and praying that Arsenal would pull through. It wasn't pretty.
Aston Villa is a good side, so full credit to them. Every time Young brought the ball down the left side to take on Sagna and, usually, make a cross to Carew, things didn't look good for Arsenal. Almunia kept inching his way out to take on the crosses, but mostly looked solid between the posts. There were a few times that I thought he was going to gift the game to the Villains because of his inability to completely hold to his goal, but he proved me wrong.
Speaking of Sagna, what an excellent signing he was for Wenger. With Toure, Gallas, Sagna, and Cliche at the back, I'm pretty comfortable with the Arsenal back line. It's only on corner kicks and set pieces that I get really worried.
Speaking of excellent signings, who would have said that about Flamini last season? Certainly not I. I wanted him traded but he has proved to be perhaps the most critical player for Arsenal this season. His goal today was beautiful, but his defending and harrying of the other team was impressive. Without Flamini, we don't play as well.
Which leaves me with no excuse for Arsenal's shaky second half. It was excruciatingly painful to watch. We need to be more assured against the better clubs (as we were against Liverpool, but less so against Manchester United when they broke on the counterattack). Today ended well - three points is three points - but I'd rather have an easier time of it than today's display.
And yes, for the record Arsenal remains unbeaten all season in the Premiership.