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Gunners blow away Villa

Olivier Giroud, Mesut Ozil and Santi Cazorla sparkled as Arsenal crushed goal-shy Aston Villa 5-0 at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday to close on the Premier League’s top four.

Ozil freed Giroud to open the scoring in the eighth minute and the France striker returned the favour in the 56th minute before goals from Theo Walcott, Cazorla and Hector Bellerin completed a one-sided victory.

It was a fifth consecutive win in all competitions for Arsene Wenger’s men, who won 2-0 at champions Manchester City in their previous league outing, and took them level on points with fourth-place Southampton, who host Swansea City later on Sunday.

“You cannot fault anyone’s performance,” Wenger told Sky Sports. “Mesut did well. It takes a while to get that sharpness back.

UNWANTED RECORD

“We had a rigorous attitude defensively. Even at 4-0, 5-0 up, people were willing to work back. We want to play collectively and offensively to the end.”

The defeat saw Paul Lambert’s Villa — three points above the relegation zone in 16th place — set an unwanted club record of six consecutive league games without scoring.

The Midlands club, who host leaders Chelsea next weekend, have gone 10 hours and 12 minutes since Christian Benteke found the net against Manchester United on December 20.

“It is difficult. When you don’t score, you don’t win games,” Lambert said. “You have to keep working hard in training and hopefully it turns around. We had chances to score, but you have to take them.”