Arsenal 3 Aston Villa 0: Arsene Wenger hails provider Alex Song
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is full of praise for midfielder Alex Song after he produced his eighth assist of the season on Saturday
Arsene Wenger reserved special praise for Alex Song after the midfielder’s chipped pass allowed Theo Walcott to score Arsenal’s second goal on the way to victory over Aston Villa.
Kieran Gibbs had opened the scoring from close range early in the first half and Mikel Arteta’s unstoppable free-kick sealed a comfortable victory in the dying moments as the Gunners opened up a three-point lead over fourth-placed Tottenham.
But the Arsenal boss was keen to highlight Song’s contribution after the Cameroon midfielder notched up his eighth assist of the season with a perfectly-weighted ball for Walcott to take down and finish in the 25th minute.
“Theo had a very good performance and scored a great goal. You have to give him credit for that,” Wenger said.
“But I would like to give credit to the pass from Song, because it is not the first time he has done that.
“You do not see many defensive midfielders [do that]. If you look at the assists that he has made this season, you will see that his numbers are top in Europe.”
Wenger’s side recovered from a disastrous start to the season, suffering a home defeat by Liverpool and a humiliating 8-2 thumping at Manchester United, to haul themselves back into contention for a top-four finish.
And the Frenchman admits he has been thrilled by the manner of his side’s gradual rise up the Premier League table following their stuttering start.
“At the time [we were 17th] I agree it was a dream to be in third but what you do is come in and do your job as well as you can, stay positive and work hard,” he said.
“I was optimistic because the attitude of the players was positive every day. We have gone through difficult times, we have learned that nothing is guaranteed and we must keep humility and focus to finish the season in a strong, convincing way.”
He added: “We look to be a team on the up so that is positive. We look at the next game and try to win it – that’s all we can do. We have eight games to go, four at home, four away.
“Next is QPR and that is certainly another battle for us so let’s go there and try to be positive.”