Arsenal beats Villa to go top of Premier League

London, December 13

Arsenal enjoyed an easy 2-0 victory at Aston Villa on Sunday to soar to the summit of the Premier League and leave their hapless opponents rooted at rock bottom.

A landmark 50th Premier League goal from Olivier Giroud, a penalty converted four days after his Champions League hat-trick against Olympiakos Piraeus, swiftly brought more gloom to Villa Park after eight minutes.

Mesut Ozil then produced his 13th assist of the season to allow Aaron Ramsey to slot home a second goal in the 38th minute and enable Arsenal to move on to 33 points, one point clear of Manchester City and Leicester City. Leicester have the chance to regain the leadership when they entertain Chelsea on Monday.

Villa improved in the second half as Arsenal took their foot off the gas but manager Remi Garde, who as a player was once signed by Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger, could only hear the grumbles of discontent as his side went a club-record 15th league game without a win. The defeat left Villa stranded at the foot of the table on six points from 16 games, six adrift of 19th-placed Sunderland.

On Saturday, Manchester United’s calamitous week hit rock bottom as Bournemouth famously consigned them to a 2-1 defeat and, to rub salt into the wounds, neighbours Manchester City enjoyed with a dramatic 2-1 victory over Swansea City, Bournemouth wrote another astonishing fairytale by beating United a week after taking the scalp of champions Chelsea.

United’s defeat multiplies the pressure on manager Louis van Gaal, already under fire for their prosaic playing style and midweek exit from the Champions League. Yet the Dutchman, happy with his team’s efforts, said he was not worried about the growing discontent with his reign. “It’s always like that. It’s not new,” he told Sky Sports.

Crystal Palace continued their best start to a Premier League season with Yohan Cabaye’s goal earning a 1-0 home win over Southampton and elevating them to sixth, six points off the lead.

Odion Ighalo’s 10th goal of the campaign for Watford consigned Sunderland to another defeat and pushed the 1-0 winners up to seventh, still a point behind Palace. The home loss, though, leaves Sam Allardyce’s north-east club languishing in penultimate place on 12 points.