Writer: Nick Simmonett
Date:Sunday December 2 2007
Arsene Wenger's Arsenal out-shone and out-fought Martin O'Neil's Aston Villa on Saturday to open up a six point lead over title rivals Manchester United.
Many had predicted a tricky game for Arsenal, none more so than myself, who had predicted that Arsenal would suffer their first league defeat in 8 months. But Gallas and his band of brothers battled from the first minute to the last and managed to grind out a result.
Credit where it's due - Villa made in tough for Arsenal by denying the likes of Rosicky and Hleb time and space to work their magic. Indeed, Villa even went ahead for 10 minutes before Flamini leveled.
And after seeing his boys fight so hard, Wenger couldn't hide his delight after the game: 'We were brilliant and resilient. In the first half we played some absolutely amazing football,' said Wenger.
'We moved the ball quickly, were accurate with our passing in short spaces and made it difficult for Villa.
'In the second half, the physical contribution from Villa and the fact some of our players dropped off a little bit, allowed them back in.
'I felt at the end of the first half we seemed as if we weren't right on top of things and that made it difficult.
'But this is a big result. Because of the belief in the Villa side after their recent good run, we needed something special.
'Maybe in the past, games like that have been our Achilles heel. But we have improved, have more experience and resilience and we panic less.'
The result puts Arsenal into a fantastic posistion going into December, and puts immense pressure on Man United to beat Fulham on Monday.
With a trip to Newcastle and the visit of Chelsea yet to come, there's a long way to go yet before we can say we've got through December...
Date:Sunday December 2 2007
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