Midway through the second half I just noticed how hard the team were working, how hard we were pressing and how much better we were without that ball that we had been earlier on in the season, it was a slightly strange moment, and it was a strangely satisfying one, it showed to be just how far we have come in the last few months as a team and as a footballing unit.
Of course Villa are a deeply average side, they have precious little top quality and a lot of rather mediocre niggling physicality, all very much in the image of their dire manager. However the way in which we dismantled them was still pretty impressive, Villa couldn't get a look in, Gibbs early goal and Walcott's well taken second were fully deserved, Villa struggled to move the ball around effectively on the rare occasions that they had it, we swarmed around them and forced them into repeated errors, our work rate and pressing was fantastic particularly in the first half. In fact two nil was pretty flattering for Villa, it really could have been completely done and dusted by the break.
Although the game to fizzle out a bit in the second half and we did lose a little bit of concentration, Villa consequently created a couple of openings and they could have made things slightly nervy had they taken advantage. In the end though they didn't, Arteta ridiculously powerful and precise twenty five yard free kick was as good a set piece goal as you will see all season, unbelievable and a nice gloss on a good all round team performance.
Arsene is also looking more like his old self again, he knows we should not get carried away, we need to keep working hard and giving everything in every single minute of every game that we have left this season, Arsene has realised a key behind this turnaround has been a better work ethic, more discipline and more commitment from the players.
In recent years we have lost too many games without even putting in the effort and that appears to have stopped, complacency has to be continually resisted and this lesson finally seems to have been learnt. The positive signs are that we have also learnt from last summer's transfer shambles, we seem intent on avoiding close season disasters this time around, the key now is to fight for every ball from now til May, we need a squad with the right ethic and the right work rate, and things are looking good in this regards at the moment.