Football: Arsenal back on top with win over Villa

Arsenal's Czech goalkeeper Petr Cech (2L) watches as Arsenal's German defender Per Mertesacker jumps to clear the ball during the English Premier League football match between Aston Villa and Arsenal at Villa Park in Birmingham, central England on De
Arsenal's Czech goalkeeper Petr Cech (2L) watches as Arsenal's German defender Per Mertesacker jumps to clear the ball during the English Premier League football match between Aston Villa and Arsenal at Villa Park in Birmingham, central England on Dec 13, 2015.PHOTO: AFP

(REUTERS) - Arsenal enjoyed an easy 2-0 victory at Aston Villa on Sunday to soar to the summit of the Premier League and leave their hapless opponents rooted at rock bottom.

A landmark 50th Premier League goal from Olivier Giroud, a penalty converted four days after his Champions League hat-trick against Olympiakos, swiftly brought more gloom to Villa Park after eight minutes.

Mesut Ozil then produced his 13th assist of the season to allow Aaron Ramsey to slot home a second goal in the 38th minute and enable Arsenal to move on to 33 points, one point clear of Manchester City and Leicester City.

Leicester have the chance to regain the leadership when they entertain Chelsea on Monday.

Villa improved in the second half as Arsenal took their foot off the gas but manager Remi Garde, who as a player was once signed by Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger, could only hear the grumbles of discontent as his side went a club-record 15th league game without a win.

The defeat left Villa stranded at the foot of the table on six points from 16 games, six adrift of 19th-placed Sunderland.