Cazorla struck after just six minutes at the Emirates to give Wenger’s men the perfect start but poor defending allowed Villa back into the game in the 68th minute, when Andreas Weimann’s long-range effort beat Wojciech Szczesny.
However, Cazorla ensured the north Londoners bounced back from a turbulent week when he scored the winner in the 85th minute, stroking home Nacho Monreal’s cutback.
And Wenger, whose side are now a point behind Tottenham ahead of Spurs’ trip to West Ham on Monday, has warned that the Gunners must be at their best for the remaining 11 games if they are to secure a top-four finish this season.
“We cannot drop points, I have said that many times after the Chelsea game,” Wenger said. “That is what is in our minds, no matter where we go and who we play.
“We are in a catch-up situation and we depend a little bit on the results of the other teams but vastly on our consistency.
“The key for us is to be consistent and that is why today a draw would have been a very, very bad result for us.”
Wenger also insisted that he has not been affected by the recent criticism aimed his way following the defeats by Blackburn Rovers and Bayern Munich.
“What is most difficult is not the critics, it is that we lost the last two games,” he added. “I am not here to lose games, I want win.
“What hurts me the most is that we lost to Blackburn at home and Bayern at home. When people come to the Emirates, they are not to go away with wins. All the rest concerns me less.
“Of course [it has been difficult], but you do your job and focus on the next game and try to win it. That is what we did.
“I am not 30 years in this job at the top level and going to be destroyed by people saying I don’t know what I’m doing.
“I have been in this job a long time and what is important is that we have responsibilities and we have to stand up for them and get the team ready to go into the next game ready to fight.”
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