So we set off from Villa Park this morning not knowing what to expect. Would Villa just bow down to The Arsenal from the Capital or could we do what no one expected us to do? It was the latter at the Emirates Stadium this afternoon.
The game started and you could already feel the absence of The Fear *cough cough* (I have been told to say that) and Villa started very brightly indeed. Villa who was without Nicky Shorey also dropped Nigel Reo-Coker and Stiliyan Petrov returned from injury. Villa was causing all sorts of problems for Arsenal in the first few minutes with Gabriel Agbonlahor and Ashley Young ripping the full backs to pieces. Ashley Young had a shot well saved by Almunia after just a minute. Arsenal then had one of their only half chances. Walcott ran down the right but his cross flashed across the penalty area. Fabregas had a good chance after that however but Friedel pushed his shot out and the Villa defence cleared. Just after this Ashley Young went over, Mike Riley correctly signaled a penalty for the Villa. Gareth Barry had gone down injured during the process and had to go off the pitch, hence why Ashley Young stepped up. He took it with a very odd run up and it was well saved by Almunia.
Gutted. Sidwell then quickly made a great run from midfield but his shot was straight at Almunia. Ashley Young then had another two good chances either go wide or saved by the keeper and then Gareth Barry missed a sitter after Villa broke once again.
Half time came and we were fearing the worst after not taking our chances.
Villa made a good start to the second half and had another two chances. The first from an Ashley Young free kick and the second a header from Gareth Barry`s corner.
Then on 70 minutes Ashley Young broke down the left, put in a great cross and Gabby went up to challenge Clichy and Clichy put it into his own net. Arsenal 0-1 Villa thoroughly deserved. Then just ten minutes later, Agbonlahor ran onto a ball from Martin Laursen and stroked the ball calmly into the net to make it 2-0. Game over by then surely. Arsenal threw everything they could at Villa but it was Villa`s day and was no more than the Villa deserved.
Played left back, did his job, got forward well.
Played right back and was superb throughout.
Magnificent, put his head where it hurts and required stitches at HT
Off the pace at times but a strong performance nevertheless
Ran the midfield. Did what Reo-Coker is supposed to do, but better, and got forward.
What a relief it is to have Stan back. Great game.
Crossing and passing poor at times but helped Gabby out massively with the headers.
Superb. Even though he missed the penalty he was brilliant throughout the game.
Did what a brilliant centre forward does best. Great performance.
Brilliant turn out by Villans as always. Drowned out the Emirates noise (if there was any)