Arsenal put in their best performance of the season, beating Aston Villa 3-1 in the Premier League on Friday.
Arsenal were completely dominant for most of the game and took a 3-0 lead before Jacob Ramsey pulled out a late goal for Villa, who then lobbied for the final 10 minutes without coming close.
Thomas Partey opened the scoring in the 23rd minute with his first Arsenal goal before Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang doubled the lead just before half-time, converting the rebound after seeing his penalty saved.
Midfielder Emile Smith Rowe capped an impressive display by adding the third in the 56th on a quick counterattack.
The win takes Arsenal to ninth place ahead of the weekend’s games, with 14 points.
It was a much improved performance from Mikel Arteta’s side, who needed an equalizer from Alexandre Lacazette to save a home draw against Crystal Palace on Monday.
“I am really satisfied,” said Arteta. “The way we started the game, our pace, our urgency, how dominant we were, the quality we showed with the ball. The aggressiveness we showed without the ball. We were alive.”
Lacazette was rewarded with his first start to the league season and was part of an Arsenal side that played with an intensity that has often been lacking in recent times.
The Gunners had already created a number of chances by the time Partey – who had hit the crossbar moments earlier – turned his head from a corner as ex-Arsenal keeper Emiliano Martinez failed managed to keep the ball.
Bukayo Saka should have made it 2-0 in the 30th when he was cleared on goal on a quick counterattack, but his first shot was saved by Martinez’s outstretched leg.
The hosts doubled their lead when they received a penalty following a VAR exam just before half-time. Referee Craig Pawson was sidelined to review a tackle on Lacazette in the area and scored the point.
Martinez dove to his right to save Aubameyang’s penalty, but the forward calmly turned the rebound.
Smith Rowe, who was the subject of an offer from Villa in the offseason, but there is no doubt about the game after hitting a passing ball from Aubameyang and scoring with a deflected shot.
Villa’s Emiliano Buendia then made a smart save from Aaron Ramsdale before Ramsey curled up in a stunning strike from the edge of the box, but it was too late for Villa to avoid a third straight league loss.