Arsenal apparently bounced back against Villa. But they did not really show anything new. It was a good attacking performance- aided by Villa's first half woes- but far from a solid one, which is what Arsenal need to start producing.
Despite Villa not really turning up for 45 minutes, the game remained in the balance until stoppage time. There was no evidence to suggest that there will not be future implosions. The best thing for Arsenal now would be the return of Vermaelen, as Koscielny and Squillaci look vulnerable all the time. Of course, the Belgian could not solve everything alone. There is a long-standing problem with the team's balance as regards attack and defence and it's hard to see that being fully remedied before the season is out.
What was impressive was the team's ability to step it up in Fabregas' absence. An interesting point about the captain's importance is that sometimes when everything is going through him it can slow the game down a little. Other players tend to bow to him and shirk some of the creative load. On Saturday, the interplay between Rosicky, Nasri, Arshavin and Wilshere was impressive and again suggested that life after Fabregas may not be a desolate wasteland.
Chamakh's excellent start to his Arsenal career continued, as did the team's generally impressive away form. After losing home games to West Brom, Newcastle and Spurs, you would expect to be out of the race altogether. Instead Arsenal only trail by two points. Every team looks flawed and the one that improves most will win the title.