After a bad week, a win…not a victory swathed in beauty, but success nonetheless. Here are the player ratings, they’re not shabby unless you happen to have a complicated Polish name.
Wojciech Szczesny: 4/10 - Oh dear. Decent stop in the first half from N’Zgobia (although he again failed to tip the ball around the post) followed by second half disaster letting Weimann’s speculative drive slip through his fingers.
Carl Jenkinson: 7/10 - Much improved from his rusty showing against Sunderland. Bombed up and down the right wing, won plenty of ball and threw a couple of decent crosses into the box.
Nacho Monreal: 8/10 - Great to see him ordering defensive cohorts around in the first half and secured his first assist for the club with a fine pull back for Cazorla to bag the winner. Looks a very promising addition to the squad.
Thomas Vermaelen: 7/10 – Far more comfortable in the centre of defence, his distribution was neat and he dealt well with the threat of compatriot Benteke.
Per Mertesacker: 7/10 - Read the game well and unlike Tuesday returned to making simple passes to Arteta. Helped Vermaelen snuff out threat of Benteke but like the Belgian was caught chasing after Weimann for the goal having gone forward for a corner.
Abou Diaby: 6/10 - Far from spectacular and having picked up an injury early in the second period you can’t help but wonder whether he’ll now enter the usual 2-3 week sidelined twilight zone.
Mikel Arteta: 7/10 - A couple of stray passes in the first period (can we put that down to his new boots?) was followed by a far more dynamic and energetic final half hour. Won plenty of ball and spread play well.
Jack Wilshere: 8/10 - Drove at the Villa defence in the build-up to Cazorla’s first before providing a delightful chipped pass which freed Monreal to tee-up the winner. A couple of moments of real quality on a quieter day.
Santi Cazorla: 9/10 - Two goals scored with clinical finishes from each foot. The diminutive Spaniard was back to his best with an impish performance that bamboozled Villa throughout. Not only a threat in the box he repeatedly wriggled free of his markers to provide much needed momentum.
Olivier Giroud: 7/10 - A little bit of good, a little bit of bad…but naturally none of the ugly (too handsome for that). He held the ball up well throughout the game but the decisive finishing displayed in January appears to have deserted him. Did hit the bar with a header but probably should have converted the chance.
Theo Walcott: 6/10 - Struggled to assert himself on the game and often decided to tuck inside when his width might have been useful. Obviously doesn’t have the same connection with Jenkinson as he does Sagna. All in all pretty quiet.
Aaron Ramsey: 7/10 - Another encouraging performance from the Welshman. On early in the second half for Diaby he didn’t put a foot wrong in midfield before slotting in as an auxiliary right-back when Jenkinson was sacrificed for Podolski. Dare we say Grimandi-esque in his versatility.
Lukas Podolski: 5/10 - Didn’t look too interested when he came on despite us chasing the game. Was nowhere near two crosses which flashed across the six-yard box and appeared pretty lackadaisical in his attitude to tracking back.