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Arsenal vs. Aston Villa: Final score 2-1, Santi Cazorla saves the day

Some generally poor football was on display at Emirates Stadium on Saturday, but Santi Cazorla had the quality to fire Arsenal past Aston Villa.

Michael Regan

While Arsenal did look like they were experiencing a bit of a Champions League hangover on Saturday, they still didn't quite sink down to the quality of their opposition. Aston Villa were able to nick one goal on the counter, but generally lived up to their previously horrifying standard of football, and couldn't do enough to stave off a 2-1 win from an average Arsenal side.

The opening goal was gifted to Santi Cazorla just six minutes in. Nathan Baker's horrible clearance didn't come close to leaving the box, and instead just hit the diminutive Spaniard. He was surprised by his luck, but regained his composure quickly and finished between the legs of two Villa defenders.

Aston Villa looked mildly threatening after that, but didn't have the requisite quality to finish off any of the half-dozen counter attacks that Arsenal played them into with horrible passes, and headed into the break down a goal. The second half was more of the same until the 68th minute, when a cleared corner led to a goal for the Villains.

Andreas Weimann was the scorer, finishing past Wojciech Szczęsny at the end of a great dribbling move through the center. Charles N'Zogbia got the counter going by winning a header in the center of the pitch, and Weimann dribbled past three Arsenal defenders before hitting what was admittedly just an average shot. Szczęsny looked like he was in a position to save, but the ball somehow whizzed past him.

Predictably, Aston Villa failed to hang onto a point. They tried to sit on a draw, which is generally a bad idea for a team that does not have good defenders. Nacho Monreal set up the winner for Arsenal in the 85th minute, getting to the byline and cutting back for Cazorla, who tapped in Arsenal's second to win the match and complete a brace.