Welcome to a new feature on Arsenal.com - Talking Heads.

Before and after every first-team fixture our MatchDay Show team - and an Arsenal blogger - will have their say on the match.

Arsenal took on Aston Villa in the Premier League on Saturday and our Talking Heads for this game were Dan Roebuck, Nigel Winterburn and James McNicholas of Gunnerblog.

Read on for their post-match comments and recap what they said before the game.

Dan Roebuck - Arsenal Live

This was about as straightforward a victory as Arsenal could have hoped for on another afternoon when everything went their way. With Chelsea and Tottenham already having played out a goalless draw, the stage was set for Arsenal to extend their lead in third place -  and they did it in style. Kieran Gibbs capped an excellent attacking display with a rare goal, Theo Walcott added a wonderful second and Mikel Arteta capped the lot with a brilliant free-kick from range in the final stages. The pre-match injury to Laurent Koscielny was certainly not ideal but at the same time it did give Johan Djourou some much-needed minutes. There may have been a few hairy moments in the second half but Arsenal's backline demonstrated once more why they can go on to achieve big things next season. Eight games left and it remains firmly in Arsenal's hands.

Arsenal march on after an excellent win at Everton - and third place is now theirs. Who would have thought they could be here just one month ago, let alone at the beginning of the campaign when they were languishing in 17th place? Now they face an Aston Villa side who have struggled in the Premier League so far this season. They may have proved tough nuts to crack in both fixtures against Arsenal this season, but Alex McLeish's side have found consistency incredibly hard to come by. Without Darren Bent they lack sharpness up front, but in Gabriel Agbonlahor they have a player capable of frightening any side on his day. The problem for Villa is that those days just do not come often enough. It is the same story for the likes of Stephen Ireland, Marc Albrighton and Charles N'Zogbia - all gifted, yet equally as inconsistent. Expect Villa to head to Emirates Stadium with five in midfield and make life difficult for Arsenal once more. But on this form it seems difficult to see past anything other than a seventh straight Gunners league victory.  

Nigel Winterburn

I thought it was a terrific performance from Arsenal, especially in the first half when they completely outplayed Aston Villa. They were in control in the second half as well and it's no surprise that their intensity dropped a little because it's tough to maintain it when there is hardly any threat from the opposition. The job was done in the first half really. There were a couple of excellent goals too - Song's pass and Walcott's finish were both superb for the second goal and of course Arteta's strike right at the end was top class. I thought Song played really well throughout the game and Theo was outstanding too. He is linking up really well with Sagna on the right. All in all Arsenal were very impressive.

Arsenal are on a really good run at the moment. I think they hit their low point at AC Milan but since then they have been outstanding to claw their way back into the top four and beyond. After the Everton result they are now in third and the players will know they just need to finish up and make sure they are in that top four. Alex McLeish's appointment at Aston Villa surprised a lot of people and I think that has made it very difficult. I don't think lots of supporters can get used to his style of play because it seems quite bland and direct at times. It has been a mixed season for them, they have been inconsistent and have had some poor performances. But on occasions they have played very well and a lot of people would expect their league position to be higher than it is. But saying that, I don't think they have an overly strong squad. They have a few young players who can cause some damage; the likes of Charles N'Zogbia for example, who has not been too consistent but is still a player that can turn a game. I think Villa will just try and make themselves hard to beat but if Arsenal are anywhere near their best then they should win the game comfortably. I'm going to say 3-0 to Arsenal.


Blog - Gunnerblog

Despite our winning run, Arsenal's recent fixtures have frayed the nerves of even the most confident fans. There have been last-minute winners, electrifying comebacks, and the odd bit of good luck along the way. This game, then, was notable for the relative serenity with which Arsenal collected three points. We were able to win at something of a canter, never finding a need to go in to top gear. The display was sprinkled with moments of real quality: Alex Song's sumptuous clipped pass for Theo Walcott, the Englishman's immaculate finish, and Mikel Arteta's thunderous free-kick. It was also pleasing to see Andre Santos return from injury as a substitute, after several months of the sidelines. One can't help but suspect that few games between now and the end of the season will be as comfortable as this.

Midweek was momentous for Arsenal. With Chelsea, Tottenham and Liverpool all failing to win, we were able to capitalise with a hard-fought victory at Goodison Park that took us up to third. Now comes the hard part: staying there. Our home form will be crucial in this period - clashes with Man City and Chelsea await - so it's vital we continue to build momentum in this game against Aston Villa. We faced them at the Emirates in the FA Cup just two months ago. Finding ourselves 2-0 down, we went on to produce a comeback that laid the foundations for the turnarounds against Sunderland, Tottenham, Liverpool and Newcastle. For the sake of Arsenal fans everywhere, I hope we don't make it quite so difficult for ourselves on Saturday. Villa will be without one of their scorers and star men on that day, Darren Bent, and with Robbie Keane having returned to Los Angeles they look a little lightweight up front. Arsenal are benefitting, particularly defensively, from finally being able to name identical or similar teams week-to-week, so I don't imagine we'll see many changes. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain might be unleashed on Villa once again, and if he and others can show the good form of recent weeks, I expect an Arsenal victory.

* The views expressed in Talking Heads do not necessarily reflect those of Arsenal Football Club or Arsenal Broadband Ltd.

Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source
26 Mar 2012