Mesut Ozil opened the scoring at Villa Park just past the half-hour mark and, within four minutes, Danny Welbeck had netted his first goal for Arsenal and Aly Cissokho had scored an own goal.
Villa had been the better team when the scores were level and the unmarked Ciaran Clark headed a great chance straight at Wojciech Szczesny before Arsenal took the lead on 32 minutes.
A one-touch passing move resulted in Welbeck threading a pass through to Ozil and the much-maligned Germany international slid his shot past the onrushing Brad Guzan.
Just 79 seconds later and Arsenal had scored a second goal, with the roles reversed as Ozil’s low cross was cushioned home by the unmarked Welbeck from six yards out for the striker’s first goal since his deadline day move from Manchester United.
By the 36th minute, it was 3-0 when Kieran Gibbs’ wayward low shot from the left-hand side was diverted into his own net by Cissokho.
The second half saw Arsenal comfortably control the game to ensure Arsene Wenger’s side produced the ideal response to the midweek defeat by Borussia Dortmund in the UEFA Champions League.
The hosts would have gone top of the Premier League with a win but, despite a bright start they were carved apart in front of watching chairman Randy Lerner – his first home game for almost two years.
Ashley Westwood pulled out of the Villa squad during the warm-up with a virus and was replaced by Carlos Sanchez, with Joe Cole added to the bench. Clark also replaced Nathan Baker from the 1-0 win at Liverpool to partner Philippe Senderos.
Arsenal made three changes from their 2-0 Champions League defeat in Dortmund as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Santi Cazorla and Calum Chambers came in.
Villa took advantage of Arsenal’s overall indecisiveness as they made a strong start. Fabian Delph forced Szczesny into a low save after just two minutes following the goalkeeper’s poor clearance.
Welbeck fired over in response but Arsenal were given little time to settle by a vibrant Villa side.
Alan Hutton nodded over on 17 minutes as Villa continued to carve out the best chances and they should have taken the lead five minutes later.
Chambers was booked for bringing down Gabby Agbonlahor and Clark met Tom Cleverley’s delivery at the far post, only to be denied by a point-blank save from Szczesny.
But the Gunners stunned Villa with three quick-fire goals to win the game.
The hosts had been edging the contest but collapsed suddenly, starting when Welbeck teed up Ozil to run through and coolly roll past Guzan for his first goal of the season on 32 minutes.
Then the World Cup winner repaid the favour when he crossed from the left and Welbeck smashed in from close range.
Villa were shell-shocked and they were bypassed again on 36 minutes when Gibbs’ cross was turned in by the sliding Cissokho.
While the half-time scoreline was harsh on the hosts, the Gunners had taken control and Guzan claimed Welbeck’s effort soon after the break.
Clark had a chance to haul Villa back into the game on 57 minutes but was thwarted by Oxlade-Chamberlain after Ramsey needlessly conceded a corner.
Villa’s threat had waned though and Arsenal were in cruise control as they eased to victory.