After the utter shambles that was our defeat to Wolverhampton Wanderers last weekend, Aston Villa had a point to prove as we travelled to the Emirates Stadium for tonight’s Premier League clash with Arsenal.
Head coach Dean Smith had some selection headaches – 352 has proven not to be our friend of late, but we also welcomed back a few of our walking wounded – but there were absolutely no changes to the line up.
I missed the first 15 minutes so I think luck was with me, a I was unlucky enough to see how we were playing, them hit the woodwork then get their first goal, all whilst we failed to even register a tentative shot on target.
Poor doesn’t even come close to describing it and I can’t have been alone in thinking we were going to be on the end of a hammering and probably soon to be down to ten men given the headless chicken challenges we were putting in.
It should’ve been 2-0 on the half hour mark but Emi Martinez saved well from Saka after the defence went to sleep (again!).
The rest of the half continued in the same fashion until VAR decided in stoppage time to give them a helping hand, despite video footage showing Matt Targett flicked the ball first before Lacazette jumps to the floor like he’s been shot from one of the stands. Emi saved the initial effort, but Aubameyang was first to the rebound.
2-0 – was that our bad half, was there anyone who cared at this stage given we continue to play like a League Two side now?
Bailey for Axel at the break, 433 moving forward – would it make a difference?
Ohh lookie, we started creating chances but being able to cross, pass and shoot would’ve been a greater help. At least it was some kind of response though – until it wasn’t.
A lose pass from McGinn, long ball, Smith Rowe, clips Mings – 3-0.
It was a more even match still and we were in it, but it wasn’t really anything to write home about as we entered the final 20 minutes. Although in fairness, another great save from Emi stopped it being 4-0.
We had some consolation as Jacob Ramsey hit an absolute belter to make it 3-1 with just under ten left on the clock but way too little, way too late. It would’ve been massively unfair, but we did have enough chances to take a point but the finishing was woeful.
Ridiculous penalty aide, slight improvement second half aside, there are now big questions surrounding Villa – both management and the mentality of our players – as we have massively regressed from the positives we had previously and the team spirit we seemed to have has totally crumbled with players sniping at each other and then making challenges you’d slap a schoolboy for trying. But the second half was better, we’ve seen where 352 can work for us, but we cannot persist with it against teams we need to get at and we did that second half, without actually being that good.
Arsenal deserved the victory and the margin of it. Through gritted teeth maybe, but no Villan can deny that tonight.
22/10/2021 8:00 pm
Referee: Craig Pawson
|Partey (23), Aubameyang (45+6), Smith Rowe (56)||Ramsey (82)|
|Smith Rowe||Douglas Luiz|
|Cedric Soares||El Ghazi||77|