Arsenal barely got out of second gear in a 2-0 win over Aston Villa, which moved them up to the top of the English Premier League table.

First half goals from Olivier Giroud and Aaron Ramsey at Villa Park were more than enough to give Arsenal a 2-0 win over the bottom side of the Premier League, and with it take them a point clear of Manchester City and Leicester City, who can reclaim their top spot with a victory over Chelsea on Monday.

This was as worriless a game as Arsenal could have asked for, with the match ending as a contest within the first 40 minutes.

The opening goal came on just eight minutes, via a Giroud penalty. Theo Walcott, playing out wide again, was the one to win the spotkick, inducing a poor challenge from Alan Hutton, who panicked a little and put his arms all over the Arsenal forward, after Walcott had taken a nice first couple of touches to get beyond the Villa right-back.

Giroud made no mistake with the penalty, sending Brad Guzan the wrong way to give Arsenal a 1-0 lead, and to be honest, the result was never in doubt from that point.

If the Aston Villa fans harboured any hopes of a comeback, though, it was snuffed out in the 38th minute. Ramsey won the ball in his own half, with the ball breaking to Mesut Ozil, who gave it to Giroud, who in turn gave it to Walcott. The Arsenal forward waited and picked out a perfect through ball for Ozil, who got yet another Premier League assist by squaring the ball for Ramsey, who had made a run through the middle after initially winning the ball, to stroke home into a half-empty net.

Aston Villa gave it a reasonable go in the second half, but the Arsenal defence was always comfortable, and the only complaint from the winning team's perspective would have been the fact that Wenger's men did not really turn on the style in the second 45.

The second half, for the most part, was just a let's-get-it-over-with-exercise, with Arsenal comfortable in their knowledge that they were on their way to the top of the table, while Aston Villa could do little but consign themselves to yet another Premier League defeat, even if their performance in the second half was a lot better.