Ok, so I had a little whinge last night, much like Arsene Whinger, saying ‘Arsenal, on their day, are a site to behold, they stroke the ball about like nobody’s business, they have skill and athleticism to burn, so why why why do they have to resort to time wasting, diving and faking injuries? This is not what any of us want to see in the British leagues and the quicker it is stamped out the better.’
With all that said, I was proud of the lads, I thought they played pretty much to the best of their abilities. That does raise the question, is their best good enough? Yes, for mid table, no for Europe and onwards is my opinion.
To say our team is mixed is an understatement and this is purely because Martin O’Neill hasn’t had time to make the team his own. We seem to be neither fish nor fowl in many ways, ie we aren’t a thoroughbred passing side but also aren’t a hit and hoof or physical team. To get the shape and mould the team will take time.
Martin O’Neill lamented the lack of luck and he was right, there should have been a red card shown to the last Arsenal defender when Carew was in a clear scoring position, we had a good call for a handball (two actually) although to be fair, I’ve not seen the replays so can’t say anything other than what I saw on the night. However, luck or not, Arsenal players are by and large a different class. There is just that 25% difference and that is what we have to aim for. We have some very good players, we have very few great players and I’m sure the board of Aston Villa, let alone our manager realise that.
Again – time. Starting in the summer I’m sure with some more major signings due and possibly a good few exits of the slightly more average amongst the squad.
A lot of the Arsenal fans were expecting a tough game and possibly a draw, I think a draw was the least we deserved BUT that doesn’t now count for anything now, we didn’t get the all important goal and that is the difference. Arsenal got a slice of luck with a deflected goal against the run of play and when you play a quality team like that, you can’t afford a bad break and in fact we had two, that ‘lucky’ goal (they all count) and the woeful ref.
A mate of a mate was in the Holte End last night, he is a total neutral and he said ‘Villa were robbed’. Robbed or not, that is another game without points, shame because the endeavour deserved at least one. Thems the breaks I guess, we deserved something out of that game tonight but at least the players and fans can walk away with pride. The Arsenal on the other hand walk away with 3 points but as usual lacked sportsmanship and dignity.
Thomas Sorenson 7
Not to blame for the goal, he was just left wrong footed by the deflection.
Phil Bardsley 7
solid, made some crucial tackles.
Olof Mellberg 7
also fairly solid and didn’t mess about with the ball, got it away from the box each time, not refined but effective.
Gary Cahill 9
outstanding, a real quality defender.
Wilfred Bouma 7
solid, also got forward well.
Gareth Barry 7
solid display and so nearly scored what would have been goal of the month! Shame with another chance he looked to pass instead of shooting, he’d have stood a good chance of scoring.
Gavin McCann 7
played his heart out, not sure about his long standing in the team as we really do need a midfield general and a bit more edge, but can only really rate on who was on the pitch, not who we want on the pitch.
Stiliyan Petrov 7
thank you Petrov, you might not be able to get forward to play your natural game at the moment due to instructions, but at least last night you crunched in with the tackles and gave your all. Still waiting for him to explode on the scene but last night gave hope.
Gabriel Agbonlahor 6
average performance but then again, he is out of position. If he is being played, why not have him down the middle to get onto John Carew’s flick on headers?
Ashley Young 7
some good effort, some decent passes, not an out-and-out striker though, defo a winger.
John Carew 8
hustled and bustled all game, won most headers, unfortunately we rarely had anyone up there with him to profit. JC is a great signing.
Patrick Berger (on for McCann 74) 8
IF only we could have a 24-year-old Berger. The man is total quality.