As statement games go, that wasn't much - Arsenal won, but they made relatively hard work of a team that they really should be dismissing with ease. But I will not complain - three points is three points, and at the time of writing Arsenal sit only one point out of fourth place, so things are pretty good. Let's talk about the game, shall we?
THE GOOD: Apart from the obvious point acquisition, a couple players really stood out yesterday. Santi, obviously, with his two goals that decided the whole contest, goes in the Good column. Carl Jenkinson also had a great game, shutting down Gabby Agbonlahor for most of the afternoon - not an easy thing to do, and yet Carl made it look effortless, except for a couple minor blips. More of that, please, Carl, and less silly sendings-off.
THE BAD: Arsenal's corner-taking. The corners themselves were fine, although a bit unfocused - it was more the instant Villa countering off said corners that is a problem. Arsenal's defensive frailty is not a secret, but it was slightly alarming to see this aspect of Arsenal fall apart on Saturday, particularly against a team like Villa. It's one thing to switch off for a second, but another thing entirely to allow your opponent to dominate you at one thing you should be good at.
Worryingly, there was also a tendency for Arsenal to switch off in attack - there were several occasions Saturday when the attack played a nice little cutback in the six-yard box and there was nobody there to get the ball and score. For a team that wants to be a flowing, attacking force of nature, that's inexcusable - there needs to be someone around to finish these moves when they get rolling.
THE UGLY: Szczesny's save attempt. Dying fish flop? Dead cat bounce? Some sort of seizure? Not sure, but it was painful to watch.
All in all, if I were going to give this game a letter grade, I'd say C+. The fundamentals are there, but the work habits are a bit wanting - if only the student would apply himself a little more that grade could raise up a full letter or more.