By Avenell Dave
Is there anything better as a football fan than watching your team toil and still win?
Well, maybe winning 7-0 as Arsenal have done a few times in my lifetime.
Let's be honest, we cruised the majority of the first half just as much as we struggled in the second and it says a lot about this team that they kept going even on a night when little went for us.
While the talent is there, Emmanuel Frimpong lacks the maturity and the discipline to be anything other than an understudy and there is no doubt that half a season of consistent football would do him the world of good.
Send him to Bolton or Wolves and let him get the Premier League games that are going to educate him in a way occasional appearances and substitute appearances simply will not.
He is a quality player but his problem is that he loses concentration and occasionally forgets that he is not as good or experienced - yet - as he thinks he is and going somewhere with cold showers and less salubrious facilities may do him the world of good.
We looked so much better when he went off and while Andrey Arshavin continued to look out of sorts, Yossi Benayoun continued to show why he should be given more chances both as a starter and as a sub ahead of AA23 when tight games come around.
We can but wonder how he would have got on last weekend against Citeh had he come in instead of the little Russian but the fact that he got the winning goal last night suggests he may well play a bigger part in the second half of the season, particularly with Gervinho away for a month at least.
You always get the sense that something can happen with Benayoun. I don't know if Wenger doesn't play him that much because he doesn't trust him or because he's worried that his injury jinx will strike if he plays too much.
We can all claim to know better than Arsene Wenger about who should play, who should sign and how the team should line up, but the fact is that with a patched up team, we won at Villa.
The team deserves a lot of credit for keeping going and, dare I say it for fear of repetition, a lot of the credit has to go to the older players and in particular Mikel Arteta for remaining calm but pushing us forward.
Villa are no mugs and if I'm honest, I'd love to see Albrighton snapped up and given the chance to shine with us, but we kept plugging away, managing the threat that came inevitably from a home team sensing their opportunity to win a game.
Whether it is fatigue due to the exertions of the Citeh game or just the lack of rotation because of the size of our squad, we looked tired. How we need some players back!
I do have a word for Alan Hutton though. And that word is *Knuckledragger*.
The idiot who has shown time and again this season that he is a liability likely to hurt opposition players had clearly lost his head when he fouled RvP and got booked but his tackle on Thomas Vermaelen was shameful and might have done some damage. Damage we can ill afford.
Hutton is the Ryan Shawcross of the Midlands and wasn't even good enough for that small team up the Seven Sisters' Road.
Home next (train strikes permitting) - and we're going to need to up the ante if we're going to make it easier on ourselves against Wolves.