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For Arsenal, Getting a Win Over Aston Villa Was All That Mattered

James McNicholasFeatured ColumnistFebruary 23, 2013

Arsenal's Premier League victory over Aston Villa will not be one for the history books.

It will not be fondly recalled over pints throughout the season or passed down from generation to generation as an early highlight of this new millennium.

However, it was a hugely important win for Arsenal. After a torrid week, it was imperative that they secured three points, and they did it.

The performance was not a vintage one, but you'll struggle to find an Arsenal fan bothered by that. After spirit-crushing defeats against Blackburn and Bayern, the only thing that can restore Arsenal's confidence is results—one victory at a time.

This wasn't a classic, but it might be the first step along the road to recovery.

The man Arsenal have to thank for their success is Santi Cazorla.

The Spanish magician scored twice to take his tally for the season to 11. Before the game, there had been some speculation that Cazorla might be sacrificed to facilitate the inclusion of Tomas Rosicky.

In the end, Cazorla kept his place, but was asked to play from the left flank. When he does so, he is essentially part of Arsenal's front three, liberated of defensive responsibilities and tasked with providing penetration in the final third.

Eleven goals already this season is a tremendous return for Cazorla. If he continues to play in this wide role, he seems certain to add more to that impressive tally.

Moving Cazorla wide allows Arsenal to bring an additional defensive player in to midfield. On this occasion, Arsene Wenger opted to field Abou Diaby alongside Mikel Arteta, although with Diaby coming off injured, Aaron Ramsey and Francis Coquelin will come in to contention for this role.

Wenger faces a choice over whether he opts for pragmatism or aesthetics. For now, however, only one thing matters to Arsenal: the three points secured against Villa.

Tougher tasks lie ahead, but at least Arsenal can head in to those battles with a vital win under their belts.

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