Music from on-song Gunners
(Olivier Giroud 8, Mesut Oezil 56, Theo Walcott 63, Santi Cazorla 75-pen, Hector Bellerin 90+2)
ASTON VILLA 0
It's a familiar warning in the English Premier League. Don't believe the hype.
The stratospheric blockbuster between Chelsea and Manchester City was mostly boring. The game has already been forgotten.
Much of the plodding football offered by the elite of late has been in need of a Viagra overdose. It's too much fiddling and overwhelmingly anti-climatic.
But the Gunners are the obvious, glorious exceptions.
In recent weeks, the tuneless din coming from the title-chasers has contrasted sharply with the sweet sounds being orchestrated by the Gunners.
They are making music in the shadows, like a string quartet captivating passers-by in a Kallang alley.
And it's the same old song again. Arsene Wenger is making his timely late charge for the top four and beyond.
Perhaps we will never learn. On behalf of all fellow hypocrites, I feel duty-bound to acknowledge our perennial failure to read the script.
The Gunners usually improve in the second half of the season, championing the proud principles of a stubborn French purist.
But this feels different. There is substance behind the usual swagger.
Wenger has quietly assembled the most attractive first 11 in the Premier League with an attacking panache and a defensive fortitude.
Comparing Arsenal's 5-0 destruction of Aston Villa on Sunday with the cagey Chelsea-City stalemate is like comparing apples and oranges, but juicy, succulent apples and sour, pulpy oranges.
If the Gunners' opposition was markedly inferior, their circumstances were similar to the title-chasing heavyweights.
Chelsea missed Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas and City were without Yaya Toure, but Arsenal lost top scorer Alexis Sanchez to a hamstring injury.
They also faced surprisingly obdurate opponents determined to end a wretched run.
Villa enjoyed an incredible 52 per cent possession and controlled proceedings for long periods.
The Gunners scored five times with five different scorers.
Wenger's men are no longer malleable. They've toughened up and found a backbone. His name is Francis Coquelin. He's protecting both the back four and Wenger's bank balance.
Arsenal are now holding back on investing £30 million ($61m) on a midfield anchor. They already had one on the books. He's a forgotten Frenchman no more. He's a force for positive change.
Coquelin's resistance is infectious. Three clean sheets in a row, including that sterling performance at the Etihad, are having the desired effect.
Calamitous mistakes are disappearing. Calmness reigns across the penalty box.
Wenger has almost £12m sitting behind him in the dugout, but he's in no rush to introduce Brazilian centre back Gabriel Paulista.
The Arsenal manager is not familiar with such happy selection headaches.
With the defence galvanised, the Gunners glide. They are making Back To The Future, Part II, seem prophetic.
Hover-boards do exist in 2015. They wear Arsenal jerseys. And they've all had their batteries charged.
Mesut Oezil flicked and tricked on the right. Theo Walcott raced and chased on the left.
And, in the middle, Santi Cazorla floated towards another Man-of-the-Match honour.
On a weekend when David Silva and Eden Hazard only occasionally flickered, the Spaniard flamed his markers. He's the Human Torch without the hubris.
In the small, elite world of mercurial mavericks, Cazorla's consistency must be delighting Wenger as much as it's irritating Jose Mourinho, Manuel Pellegrini and Louis van Gaal.
Currently, Cazorla's rivals can't get close. He's flanked by returning, resurgent wingmen with a point to prove. The Gunners find themselves blessed with Renaissance men.
Aside from Oezil and Walcott, Tomas Rosicky is soaking up the rays of his Indian summer and Olivier Giroud has refocused his energies on scoring only on the pitch.
The Gunners are poised to throw the most attractive of spanners in the works and not before time.
The Stamford Bridge draw was a tactical success for Mourinho, but conveyed the underlying message that the title race might be destined for a predictable, stale canter across the finish line.
Manchester United make for jaunty entertainment, but only in the Big Top circus sense with Wayne Rooney playing a holding midfielder alongside Daley Blind.
The Red Devils used to be fabulous. Now they are distinctly no-frills.
It's all got a bit boring among the big boys.
Thank heavens, then, for the north London side, coming out with their Gunners blazing from every conceivable angle and source.
They are poised to make a real mess of the slightly sterile EPL summit.
The top four should fear them. Everyone else should thank them.
Arsenal are bringing the sexy back.
Mesut still lacks a little competitive edge but the quality of his game is exceptional. For Theo, he needs more sharpness and physical contact, but he is a very intelligent player and the quality of his movement is good.
— Arsene Wenger on Mesut Oezil and Theo Walcott
Wenger: too early for title talk
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger feels his side must focus on maintaining their consistency before turning their attention to a late challenge for the Premier League after dismantling goal-shy Aston Villa 5-0 at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.
The Gunners recorded a third straight league victory to close up on the top four, and capitalise on last Saturday's draw between leaders Chelsea and champions Manchester City.
Arsenal were without leading scorer Alexis Sanchez because of a hamstring problem, but showed they are far from a one-man team.
Yet, despite the convincing way in which lacklustre Villa were despatched - with goals from Olivier Giroud, Mesut Oezil, Theo Walcott, a Santi Cazorla penalty and a stoppage-time effort from Hector Bellerin - Wenger knows there remains plenty of hard work ahead.
"It is too early to say (Arsenal can still make a challenge for the title)," the Frenchman said.
"We are 11 points behind - that means they need to lose four games and we need to win four. I believe that we should try to be consistent and see what happens. We have maybe found a better consistency, that will be very important until the end.
"Let's show that we can win more and it shows you as well that when the confidence level is higher and when everybody's back defensively, it makes a difference."
Wenger added: "Our offensive game was good, even though I believe we had some weaker periods in the game when Aston Villa were in possession.
"We always looked dangerous when we got their lines and defensively we were sound as well. Overall, it is a positive day for us."
Arsenal signed centre half Gabriel Paulista last week from Villarreal, and the Brazilian was among the unused substitutes.
Wenger is not expecting a hectic final 24 hours of the transfer window.
"I don't think I will be busy," he said. "We have done what we wanted and, unless there is a huge surprise and somebody calls me, then why not? (But) at the moment, nothing. It's very quiet."
Villa boss Paul Lambert, meanwhile, was left with plenty of thinking to do following another poor display, his side having last scored a Premier League goal against Manchester United on Dec 20 - more than 600 minutes of football ago.
He said: "You probably can't print the things I am thinking. We have been in this position for too long since I have been here.
"We do finishing and crossing in training every Friday but, when it comes onto the pitch, you have to do it then."
Lambert, whose side are just three points above the drop zone, added: "I didn't think we deserved to lose 5-0. However, it is the score so we have to take it, but it is not good enough." - PA Sport.