Report: Aston Villa 1-0 Arsenal (inc. goal)

136

Result: Aston Villa 1-0 Arsenal
Competition: Premier League
Date: 21 July 2020
Venue: Villa Park

Starting XI: Martinez, Holding, Luiz, Kolasinac, Cedric, Torreira, Ceballos, Saka, Lacazette, Aubameyang, Nketiah

Subs: Macey, Bellerin, Tierney, Sokratis, Maitland-Niles, Willock, Xhaka, Smith, Pepe



Egypt international Trezeguet scored the only goal of the game as Aston Villa beat Arsenal 1-0 to kill off our hopes of qualifying for the Europa League via the Premier League. 

On a night that saw the Gunners end the game with plenty of fire power on the pitch, Mikel Arteta’s side didn’t muster a shot on target. Worse, we looked like we could have played for another three days and that stat wouldn’t be threatened. 

After the highs of the last week, this showing will have given Arteta plenty to think about. Coming out of lockdown our ambition was to qualify for the Champions League, now the best we can hope for is an eighth-place finish. Eighth. Let that sink in. 

Pre-game

After the intensity of Saturday night’s game at Wembley, it was little surprise that Mikel Arteta opted for fresh legs at Villa Park. In total there were six changes from the side that started against Manchester City. In defence, Holding replaced the injured Mustafi, Kolasinac replaced Tierney and outside them, Cedric and Saka took up the wing-back slots in place of Bellerin and Ainsley Maitland-Niles. Torreira partnered Ceballos in midfield and Nketiah was given Pepe’s slot. Reiss Nelson missed out on the squad with a slight groin problem.

First half

After consecutive back-against-the-wall performances, we knew we’d have more of the ball against Villa. The question was whether we’d do anything useful with it. After 45 minutes and with a sum total of zero shots on target, it’s fair to say we did not. 

Dani Ceballos was a busy bee, darting this way and that, turning inside and out and playing lots of little passes to keep us ticking over, but all around him his teammates looked lethargic. 

To be fair to Villa, who knew a win would lift them above Watford and out of the relegation zone, they had the measure of us pretty early on. We wanted to work space for overlaps on the flanks and they tried to minimise that. 

When Saka and Cedric did find pockets of space, we needed them to deliver quality into the box, but our crossing was atrocious. By the 20 minute mark the only real talking point was the whirring of a plane above the ground which carried a banner with the message “Back Arteta. Kroenke Out”. 

Perhaps Cedric was trying to show our American owner how to back out of something on 27 minutes when he turned away from a Trezeguet shot after a corner had reached the Egypt international at the back post. The forward’s effort was in before Martinez even moved and out of nothing, the hosts had the lead. (1-0)

Replays of the corner, won after Ceballos’ miscontrolled a ball into our box forcing David Luiz to scramble clear, were not pretty. Aubameyang was literally sharing a joke with Tyrone Mings when the defender darted free of him to flick Hourihane’s set piece to the back post. We should be deducting a few quid off his wage demands for that. 

Would Arsenal step things up a notch? European qualification was on the line after all. Erm, no. If anything the home side looked the more likely to score. Trezeguet had a header saved by Martinez and Grealish flashed over after being allowed to cut onto his right foot. 

Second half

Arteta’s response was to replace the booked Torreira with Xhaka. We needed to get more men into dangerous situations so it was promising to see Kolasinac and Ceballos trying to play a bit inside the Villa box. It didn’t come off, but at least it showed intent.

Saka and Aubameyang both had half chances. As did Villa’s Guilbert who took advantage of ponderous defending at a corner by Holding and Luiz. The Brazilian didn’t last much longer. He and Saka, who looked out of sorts, were replaced by Tierney and Pepe. We had a lot of attackers on the pitch for a side who still hadn’t mustered a shot on target.

That was still the case with 15 minutes to go when Villa hit us with a quick break that should have seen substitute Davis score. Played in by Grealish, he eased past Holding but shanked his shot wide of Martinez’s post.

We should have made Villa pay. Nketiah climbed high to meet a Pepe corner but his effort came off the post and bounced back into Reina’s hands. The Spaniard even dropped the ball again but still it didn’t go in.

Back came the home side. Martinez had to parry McGinn’s effort. Our final throw of the dice was to send on Willock for Cedric, who’d attempted 11 crosses and not found an Arsenal man with any of them.

We continued to struggle. Into the final minutes, Mings cleared a Pepe free-kick and Reina easily claimed a cross from the Ivorian. Just to be clear, Villa didn’t have to defend shots. We seemed to forget that those were important. Even in four minutes of stoppage time, we just plodded about like our legs were made of mashed potato.

There’s no sugarcoating it, this was a truly terrible performance. It lacked energy and creativity and, after two games in seven days where we showed it, heart. Granted, the home side had more riding on the result than us but we still had skin in the game; finishing ahead of Sp*rs, not being as shit as Sheffield United, qualifying for Europe.

Now all our eggs are in the FA Cup final basket. If we don’t beat Chelsea, we face a first season without European football in 25 years.

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h2k

That was poor.

We will now go into the final game of the season knowing it is out of our hands if Burnley (yes, Burnley) and Sheffield United (newly promoted remember) will finish above us, and worst of all below a Spurs squad managed by Mourinho. Simply unacceptable.

I hope this result, especially after the successes of the past week, highlights to the Kroenke’s the need to fund Arteta and his plans.

I am looking forward to this PL season being done, but praying for success in the FA Cup knowing after the past week that they CAN perform.

Runcorn Gooner

We looked like a bunch of players going through the motions. No punch, no power, nothing. Absolute disgrace after the last 2 performances.

Gary Murphy

Sorry to bust your bubble but it isn’t out of our hands, it is now impossible. We cannot finish in a European place in the league.

Marje

It’s out of our hands whether Burnley and Sheffield United finish above us, as h2k stated, because they are ahead of us, and they will finish above us if they win. h2k wasn’t talking about finishing in a European place in the league, which as you correctly state is impossible.

Cultured Determination

Now i just hope that chelsea doesnt c**k block us 2 seasons in a row or hatred for them will be moved just slightly below top and overtaking man u.

goongot

Our priority has to be a creative mid-fielder. It’s going to be very difficult to find one bcoz all the good one’s are already scouted or need europe and the young one’s might take time which can cost us another season.

Spanish Gooner

Emiliano Buendia should be attainable

goonshow

Santi for a swansong season

Coq au Vin

I’m so dizzy from all the corners we have turned

Runcorn Gooner

I just hope that Arteta can motivate the players better than Emery did for a final against Chelsea.

Nacho de Montreal is tasty

What motivation do they need that depends on others? Can’t they see?

Spectator

Get a grip, that loss wasn’t down to lack of motivation.

Thierrys_Tears

We couldn’t be less dangerous on free kicks, especially corners. Poor delivery and no fight in the box.

Crash Fistfight

If the Kroenkes fund Arteta will he then tell someone to get into the massive space between the midfield and defence of our opponents in front of their box?

Cultured Determination

i notice that too. Several times when we were attacking down the left there was a big square of space between left flank and cm but ceballos was standing behind instead of attacking that space.

Crash Fistfight

Have a look at Scott’s By the Numbers piece for a visual representation.

lessthanthesumoftheirparts

We looked like the team who is going down.

The Arsenal

Yikes…10th….

Runcorn Gooner

Kolasinac takes being negative to a whole new level.

Crash Fistfight

Yet Holding was giving it to him to make things happen.

Pepe's Right Foot

Holding did not look comfortable out there today. He was very slow to react in the aerial duels and just generally not confident.

Crash Fistfight

He’s looked hopeless since he came back from his injury. Maybe he needs a run of games to get back to form. If so, maybe it would be a good idea to send him out on loan.

I hope that is the case, because otherwise he looks like a busted flush.

Pepe's Right Foot

I sincerely hope so too

Redsy

To be honest I couldn’t careless if Burnley and Sheffield Utd finish above us at this stage the only thing matters is winning the cup, keeping Abu and strengthening the squad
Rest up Sunday and be ready to kick the Chavs arses in the cup we owe it them one after the Europa league final shambles

Maniac

A lack of European football next year is going to hurt us badly. Even going out at the stage we did this season, we still got ~£10m from our participation which, with an already streched budget, we really could have done with for next season. Then we add to that our “reputational” damage, i.e. how easily we can attract players and, possibly more importantly, retain them. It’s hard to sell that we’re competing for trophies when we’re not even in the tournament. My personal theory around Aubameyang is that he is waiting to see where we land with Europa. He… Read more »

Nacho de Montreal is tasty

@John C, you are the best pundit in the world.

Jeremy DG

Look at City. Also playing a team fighting for their lives with nothing to play for themselves. And playing a team with a new manager bump (lol). 4-0. No stress. Then we play like we can’t be arsed against villa. That’s the difference between the 2 sides. Not just quality, but professional pride. I’m not that bothered about the result tonight but I would have liked to see us play with some freedom under little pressure and squad players trying to make an impression before the final. Instead we got that…

Mekus

And just like that my night is ruined

God is a Gooner

I’d put my shoes on and everything

Runcorn Gooner

WTF

Merlin’s Panini

Well, fuck. Villa wanted and needed the three points more. Still, pretty poor that we beat the new and previous champions in the last two games and this was what we mustered. Also means no St Totteringhams day this year. We have to right that wrong and win the FA Cup. Weirdly, though, I’m not massively bothered if we miss out on Europe if we don’t win the cup. That seemed to galvanise Liverpool to some extent before. Things can turn around, but you would rather be in Europe than not.

Jack

I think we need the money you get for being in the Europa League if we want a chance of signing anyone

DaDude

Absolutely agree. We squandered our chance to qualify to Europe from the league, so if Villa “wanted it more” then I am very concerned about that. It was do or die for both tems, Villa did it. Of course you could say, that we still have the FA Cup. Correct. Last year we screwed up CL qualification through the PL, but we still had the EL final … didn’t end too well, did it? Let’s hope Chelsea lose tomorrow and desperately need a win next Sunday, while we don’t need to care about the Watford game anymore and rotate as… Read more »

myrtle

That was an absolute shocker. To a man, woeful. Arteta got this badly wrong. Poor lineup, even worse subs. Kolasinac and Nketiah stayed on instead of Luiz and Saka. What the fuck man?!
Say what you want but there was a massive Ozil shaped hole out there, believe it or not we have become Crystal Palace. A mid table counter attacking team, who turn up against the top but can’t even get a shot on target against championship level dross like this
Embarrassing.

Riku

Thought right to take Luiz off, he was moaning at ref. No need for a silly red and suspension.
Would have like saka to go in cm, instead of Dani c. Who looked tired last 20 mins.
Ozil would be good to pick the lock in this game

Twatsloch

Imagine Maureen’s face if we won the FA Cup and stole the EL spot from him and his spud outfit. Plus we’d have another FA Cup title to our name. That should be motivation enough for the team to go out there and give it their all.

Maniac

Back to your regularly scheduled programming…
For all the good work we’ve done in the past two games, today has just outdone it. One step forward, two steps back. We managed zero shots, I repeat, ZERO shots on target against relegation zone Aston Villa all match. That is beyond embarrassing. The players may have been proud at the weekend, but they should be absolutely ashamed today. We’ve literally just thrown away any chance of European football via league position this year. Honestly, I just can’t believe what I’ve just watched.

Pepe's Right Foot

What was even more shameful was seeing Auba giggling with Mings just before the latter left him for dust to flick on the header for Trezeguet.

I get not every match has to be the Battle of the Bulge but this isn’t the 1st time I’ve seen the Arsenal players “fraternizing” with the opponents even when a goal down.

It has to stop and comes across as rather unprofessional to me.

Spanish Gooner

The worrying thing is it’s exactly the same as what happened with Emery. Another brilliant performance to get to the final of a cup competition, followed by a fucking bizarre team and performance vs a poor team to end our chance through the league.

oregoon

Well put. Overwhelmingly frustrated by the play and results. Mind boggling last three games really but the table doesn’t lie. We deserve our standing.

Arsenalista

I completely agree with you, i don’t see what Arteta sees in kola and Nketia is complete rubbish, he offers nothing, just because he is young doesn’t mean that he is good. He hardly ever scores and he can’t hold up the ball. Very disappointed tonight. We used to get ridiculed for always making the top 4 now we can’t even make the Europa league. We are 10th, that is shocking!

Tomislav

well we did manage to hit Targett a few times

gooner

Rumour has it we are still spreading it around nice and slow off camera. Sprinklers are keeping us from hitting the target

Paul Roberts

Now that is very funny! 🙂 Let’s win the cup?

Pepe's Right Foot

This is Genius?

Ya gooner

Zzzz

Bobbyp

Absolutely fucking woeful performance. So disappointing after the Liverpool/City results. No shots on target.

Paul Roberts

As pointed out above, we had a few clearances on Targett.

Mick Malthouse

Thats our true level.

Voldemort

Sadly mick your bang on. The league tells us we are average at best. Performing when they fancy it just isn’t good enough for arsenal.
Piss poor again today

Paul Roberts

“Oh no it’s not!”

Tony Hall

Sadly saw that coming a mile off. After possibly the best performance of season, one of the worst!

Jack

All I saw was us foul their players for 90 minutes

Sadly Arteta had the line up wrong from the start on this one

Tony Hall

That line up was more than capable of beating Aston Villa comfortably, trouble is no one wanted to take a shot.

Sean

Why the hell did I think it would be a good idea to stick with that rubbish after watching that first half unfold?! Most ‘upsets’ are unpredictable. That had 1-0, and a Tyrone Mings man of the match performance written all over it the second they scored. All gifted to them by us of course. Fuck, that was dire.

Chuffy

Last season we finished 5th and got to the Europa League final. We were 2 points behind Man United when Arteta took over, we now potentially going to be 11 after they play. Highest we can finish is 8th. If this is progress under Arteta count me confused.

Sean

Maybe we can reserve that judgement once Arteta’s actually had a Summer pre-season/transfer window, and a full season in charge, rather than half a season of football interrupted for 3 months by a global health crisis?

Crash Fistfight

You obviously didn’t get the memo

Kostas

Which coach would have managed better? Emery?

jamie t

Lets give him the transfer window to see if he can sort this mess out. despite people on here blowing smoke up these players arses everytime they have a half decent game we need to have a clear out cos this squad is a shambles with no character.

Comedian

Consistency in performance and a midfield is what we need. Would love Aston Villa to go down with Terry and help us get Grealish. He rarely looses the ball, unlike our players.

C.B.

Cedric is rubbish according to my Southampton friend.

backsakacrack

He turned his back on their goal and didn’t complete a cross all night
So yeah.. 4 year deal

Pepe's Right Foot

I don’t mind the idea of signing Cedric as a backup RB. What I just don’t understand is why he was given a 4 year contract. A 4 – 5 year contract is what clubs give their marquee signings, of which Cedric clearly wasn’t.

Maybe in a decade’s time. We’ll understand more about Arsenal’s questionable handling of players contracts.

goongot

Cedric is what bellerin would be at 28 until he turns 29.

gooner

He was Riquelme out there tonight. Soon as he went off we never looked like getting it in the dangerous areas.

El__Chapitan

We look battered out there. No creativity, no attacking threat. Why did we keep the same formation vs Villa? A team who doesn’t have a great attack. I dont understand the reasoning behind the back 3 for this game. Can anyone explain?

Forty nine'

Almost all our defenders can’t defend to save their lives.

Matthinc

I guess Arteta didn’t want to disturb a winning formula. That’s what he said after the Spurs shitshow. I hope he learns adapting to the next opposition rather that setting up for the previous one is a better approach.

miike

because we’re lucky they didn’t score on a counter when we switched to only holding and kolasinac as CB’s

Old Bloke.

We obviously prefer being underdogs which should favour us in the Cup final. Fair play to Villa,they showed the commitment we displayed in the last two games.

Gary Murphy

The only ray of sunshine I can see is the idea of Spurs finishing 7th, the last Europa place. Only for Arsenal to win the FA Cup and take it away from them.

cygan'sbaldspot

Don’t worry, Arsenal have a habit of squashing every last little ray of hope.

loose_cannon

Trash!

Olu

The moment I saw the line up, I was like, why 3 strikers? Who’s gonna feed them? Where is the creativity going to come from? A Central Attacking Midfielder is a priority for Arsenal in the transfer window. 3 strikers and no shot on target!!! Won’t really blame Arteta because he is working with what is available to him. The FA Cup is now the only only route to Europe and therefore a must win for Arsenal.

Twatsloch

Considering the saying that as a team you end up in the table where you deserve to be. Ponder then that we sit at 10 under Burnley.

Fucking hell!

The Arsenal

Damn that high came to an end. Trying not to be too angry after a great week but that was a real shitshowing. Our midfield is just……it has to be the least technical I have seen at least since before we brought David Platt.

Evaristus

Lol. Just Arsenal turn in performances that gets us dreaming, they then remind us why they are Arsenal.

The lack of creativity in this team is frightening…

Paul Roberts

Someone should tell Pepe he is allowed to take people on?

Jack

This. He runs forward a bit and then turns back now

Pepe's Right Foot

Pay no mind to my alias but I actually think Pepe did take on a fair amount of Villa players when he came on. I recall he was the most fouled player in the 2nd half.

We can’t forget Douglas body checked him in a counter attack for his yellow and he was impeded just outside the box for that free kick.

I actually would like to see more crossing and less dribbling from Pepe tbh.

Almunia4Pires

Pepe actually attempted a cross with his right foot and it was laughable. Floated to Reina.

Spanish Gooner

That person should be Arteta. I feel for Pepe as he made his name running at the last defender, essentially as a second striker at Lille. He’s now been signed for £70m and his job is to get the ball on the halfway line, have 2 players kick him with no option on the overlap and then either pass to his CB or lose the ball. He’s the real casualty of Auba at left wing (or Lacazette as striker, however you want to see it) as we can’t afford to have both wingers uninvolved in the build up, so one… Read more »

jamie t

should be a better all round player for 72m we massively overpaid for him. he gets the ball stunck under his feet all the time and has no right foot hopefully he can come good next season. but at the moment i cant see it.

Vonnie

He has no support so when he takes people on he ends up surrounded and hacked down. Cedric is useless, we should be selling deadwood not buying it for the next four years.

Fatgooner

Awful performance: the very definition of the phrase “after the Lord Mayor’s Show”.

But who cares? Seventh was gone anyway: Spuds will beat the hopeless Palace on Sunday so today’s game was irrelevant – at least to us.

Our season has been the FA Cup ever since we lost to Brighton. Deliciously, if we do beat the Chavs we’ll steal Europa League qualification from Maureen’s girls anyway. At least we can now rest players against Watford.

It’s all or nothing at Wembley.

Homer

Good points, fats.

And I’m still wondering. Who the hell thinks buying ceballos is a good idea.
A 33 year old santi cazorla could run rings around that lightweight.
Hell, I’d take Jack Wilshere over ceballos. There is a reason madrid don’t want him. We see it all the time. No thank you.

Great planning Josh and Raul. Sell our midfielders, and don’t replace them. So we have no midfield. And we are finishing 10th. How the fook that corrupt spanish douchebag raul still has a job at this club is ridiculous.

Fatgooner

No racism on this website please. And I Don’t agree with you about Ceballos: he’s a decent squad player and worth a cheap contract. But we do need another creative midfield. The priority is a top centre-half, though.

The Arsenal

I think our midfield is a bigger issue. In Wengers years when we had trash cbs like Silvestre Squillaci etc we still played good penetrating football because we had Technically gifted if not physical midfielders,.

Riku

Jack is injured too often , Dani looked tired today and should have been subbed on 60mins

The Arsenal

At this point i would only keep Xhaxa. Ceballos looks good without actually doing anything, same with Guendouzi, Willock is 100% work rate no quality, Torreria is just to lightweight for this league and not good on the ball. Our cms are very limited. What do any of them specialize in? Crying pout for a Diaby/Vieira type and a Santi/Wilshere type…..and another 10 who actually wants to run. Its clear to see how when we move the ball. WE rarely go through the middle. The ball just gets rotated from LWb to the cbs and keeper than out to the… Read more »

Spanish Gooner

I’d argue games like this show exactly why we need more players like Ceballos. We need technically proficient players who can bring the ball forward in midfield when we’re against this kind of low block!

Matthinc

Cebellos was the only player who was prepared to turn and try anything in our midfield. And yeah, it wasn’t pretty. No space, no-one showing for him or dropping into the half spaces. It was like watching the Emery team – too scared to try anything, taking a defensive mindset to a team who were always going to sit off us. Leaving an awful stalemate, and no Ozil-type (previous incarnation) whose got the keys to unlock them, Arsene’s style having ebbed away. The only joy was out wide, when Tierney and Pepe/Cedric created width, and then we didn’t manage to… Read more »

jamie t

i think a win tonight would have given us a chance of finishing above wolves as well if the lose their last game vs chelsea. also tottenham are nortorious for dropping points on the last day. so 7th was still very much a posibility

Berlingoon

Odd game, odd tactics, odd subs. 4th consecutive year without St. Totteringham’s. That really has to stop next year. Especially with them having him at the helm.

Almunia4Pires

What is the point of Nicolas Pepe?

Spanish Gooner

Do you remember when Di Maria was a world class player at Madrid, was awful at United for a year because he was played as a wing back all season, then was a world class player at PSG for the next 3 years? That. Pepe is a player who should be receiving the ball in the final third, beating a man and then getting a shot/pass off, not beating 2 players on the halfway line and then having nowhere else to go. It’s shocking how badly our highest ever transfer has been mismanaged.

Almunia4Pires

If you noticed teams put an extra player on the inside of their left back, i.e. on Pepe’s left foot. That pretty much renders Pepe null and void on the right wing. He cannot pass, let alone cross, with his right foot. And even if he beats two men he needs to cut back to his left foot only to find the two men he’s just beaten … right in front of him. Only Arjan Robben made a living as a top level RW being so left-footed and he was the exception that confirms the rule.

jamie t

pepe is playing in his correct position right side of a front 3. he is either too stupid or too lazy to make runs into space or take his man on the outside. reminds me of walcott no footballing brain

Kinghenrythe14th

Get Kolasinac as far away as possible from the club please. What a God-awful player; seems allergic to forward passes.

Jeremy DG

A team who gave a shit against a team who didn’t. Honestly if I was an arsenal player I’d be really embarrassed after that. Losing to a championship team is one thing, not having a single shot on target against one of the shittest defences in the league is quite another. Solidifies the case that regardless how good last week was, some of these arsenal players are just not consistently good enough and need to be moved on, which I think they will be. I’m going to go to sleep tonight with Kolasinac and Holding Slowly playing back passes haunting… Read more »

Spanish Gooner

That’s one good thing about potentially not qualifying for the Europa League – we would never have to use Kolasinac or Sokratis again. We’d be able to sell our useless “depth” players, and create a genuinely balanced first XI that can play most games. The following team, playing every week with sufficient rest, is good enough to finish in the top 5 (hard to predict CL due to the quality of other teams)

Spanish Gooner

Leno Bellerin Saliba Luiz Tierney Xhaka Ceballos Smith Rowe Saka Lacazette Pepe

Matthinc

Saliba is unproven, Luiz is a liability… I actually think I prefer Mustafi to Luiz. Otherwise, I’m broadly with you.

Spanish Gooner

He’s fairly unproven in the Premier League but he does now have two seasons of Ligue 1 football under his belt, and his stats look phenomenal so I don’t see how he can be any worse than what we have at the minute. Agree with you about Mustafi, but given Luiz, Mari and Saliba will all 100% be here next year I think it’s likely he’ll be sold, given he’s one of the few players who could fetch any kind of fee and he’s not obviously first choice in a position we’ve a lot of depth in

jamie t

definately not good enough to finish top 5. and since when did top5! become good enough for this club. luiz xhaka not good enough. saliba and smith rowe totally unproven. you live in a dream world if you think that 11 is good enough to challenge

Gunner J

We beat The Champs, we beat last season’s Champs, that’s two of the best teams in the land, then we go and lose to a bottom 3 team? I love this Club.

Possession

I just don’t give a fuck anymore. I used to bleed for this club……..please turn me around Arteta and galvanise us at Wembley.

Edzo

Tired players. This is why having players train by themselves is silly.
Play ozil and matteo so xhaka and ceballos can rest. Play nelson, nketiah and saka so auba, laca and pepe can rest. At least there would have been a fight.

Now no reason to play any starters on Sunday.

Pepe's Right Foot

Goodness. That was horrendous, I felt like I was watching a fixed match. Apart from Nketiah’s I don’t think I saw one earnest attempt on goal.

Even in the 93rd minute, our defence were still passing the ball back to our goalkeeper. I was also genuinely surprised to see Tierney’s unwillingness to cross the ball. He kept trying to beat his man at the byline and lost the 1v1 every time.

I’m sorry but that did not look like a team that wants to be playing European football.

Spanish Gooner

I think Tierney has shown he’s capable of crossing very well (think of Martinelli’s headed goal in the Europa) but we had Lacazette and Nketiah vs Tyrone Mings – at no point was an out-swinging cross an even remotely good option so you can see the logic in going for the byline – it’s just a shame he was up against a very athletic and strong full back

Pepe's Right Foot

Good point made. I certainly don’t dispute Tierney’s crossing ability, in fact I think it’s usually superb, hence why I was so surprised this game.

I think Villa’s substitute RB did an excellent job as well.

Daniel Thompson

We had two matches to end the league. You had almost the core of the team that beat city and for reasons best known to you, you decided to bench them. Former Guardiola assistant!!!

Spanish Gooner

Exactly. I also appreciate that Guendouzi isn’t Arteta’s favourite right now, but we were doing nothing and creating nothing from midfield, and had the u21 midfielder with the best ball progression stats in Europe sat at home watching Holding and Kolasinac pass to each other

Flash

I’m afraid our 0 shots on target was not rooted in the lack of creativity in midfield. We just do not shoot anymore. We needed at least 2 goals in 20 minutes and we were doing the midfield tiki-taka for 3-4 minutes… If you don’t have a Xavi an Iniesta and a Messi in your team then: What is the fk’n point of it? We know how Xhaka is able to shoot. We saw Lacazette a couple of days ago. We got Pepe who decided a match by 2 free-kicks on his own…. Forcing this Barca-wannabe style of play is… Read more »

YpsiGooner

FWIW, that did not look like tiki-taka out there and was quite far from Barca-wannabe.

Riku

Pepe should have shot on goal from free kick , not crossed it , with no Luiz on pitch

Spanish Gooner

Also something that people always overlook is if you ONLY play tiki-taka then teams know they can sit deep and nullify you. Knowing that De Bruyne/Mahrez etc are willing and able to smash a shot from 25 yards means the defence has to come out and close them down, which provides the space for Sterling and Aguero to run into. If Villa know that Ceballos/Xhaka/whoever are never going to shoot, there’s no need to close them down which means we will never be able to pass through them.

Matthinc

Yeah, I think you’re thinking about a different Arsenal team…

Kostas

Back to reality.
The bet of Eddie on the wings rob us of a proper winger and a power sub.
I really wonder why Kolasinac is playing ahead of Sokrates. I mean how much worse than that?
Auba was very tired today.
Torreria disappointed me today but still I believe in him.

Is there time to abandon this zonal marking at corners? All the teams can score a goal from a corner at The Arsenal ….

Dont be too sad. We know what we have. TRUST MA.

Paul Roberts

The bet of Eddie on the wings rob us of a proper winger and a power sub.” Well spotted Sir!

Spanish Gooner

I don’t understand the Nketiah project at all. He’s a good little player and I’d be happy to have him as a backup striker, but since he’s come back from loan Arteta has made, on various occasions, the following decisions to accommodate him 1) Aubameyang at left wing so Nketiah can play no.9 2) Lacazette on the bench 3) Nelson and Martinelli never playing, despite both being more natural wide players than Nketiah, 4) Pepe dropped or forced to play deep as today. As I said, I like Nketiah, but out of Aubameyang, Lacazette, Pepe, Martinelli and Nelson, how many… Read more »

Ausdrexler

Not the best performance. But one has to give credit where its due, AV dealt with whatever pathetic offence we threw at them today.
We are super supportive of our lads when they dig deep and defend proper against better sides like Liverpool and ManC, but then we doubly critical of them when an opponent does the exact same thing. Clearly Arsenal should of done better, but a bit of context is needed really.. AV fighting for survival, our players just come off a massive effort in 2 consecutive games and have had a far more hectic schedule then most.

Laca new signing

All hail Arsene Wenger. His 22 consecutive seasons in the top four, with an odd cup, league cup or league title (including a gold one for the invincible season) can now be finally put in proper perspective. #Professor

Ausdrexler

Arsene never won the league cup yeh?
Still, spot on about his effort.

Spanish Gooner

Imagine how we would cope with some of the players that got serious game time under Sir Arsene! Andre Santos would make us all pray at the shrine of Kolasinac if he was around these days

jamie t

And he still got top 4 with those players

Santori

Not shocking anymore…. Unless you are of course the reactionary crowd that is AFTV As mentioned before, wins over a second gear Liverpool and then City disguise plenty of problems inherent that have still yet to be fixed. We sit in 10th. Which means despite “improvements” with Arteta, we are no better in concrete terms than when we were with Unai. Plenty of work to do and we are now gambling on an FA cup win to get into Europe. If we don’t, it will likely mean Auba gone and a difficult rebuild with less money allocated, more short cuts… Read more »

Craig Velociraptor

Tactical genius loses to Dean Smith.

Craig Velociraptor

As much as we want another Tony Adams, Rob Holding is not it.

Lex

What mostly holding lack is confidence and the constant removing him from the line up after a fairly good game doesn’t help either.

Craig Velociraptor

Clearly we´re shit where we have to take the game to the opposition.

Another season below Tottenham.

jamie t

maybe we should try 6 at the back?

Cultured Determination

I think a game like that against villa and their defence we could have played a 442 or 451. Torreira as the anchor in a midfield 3 with xhaka and ceballos or torreira ceballos with 2 on the flanks and 2 CFs.

Steve Vallins

Since the return of football Arsenal have been playing catch up , Man City game plus 2 extra FA Cup games , yes we’re in a final .
To play Sp#rs , Liverp##l and Man City in a 10 day period with not too much rotation , what did you expect against A Viila . Our so called best 11 can play to a game plan but with all the changes life becomes very difficult on the pitch .

Gatecrasher

I understand the need for rotation given the level of effort this week but I think Arteta made some tactical and team selection errors yesterday. Nketiah on the right didn’t really work, and while Saka can do a job at left back, it was apparent that it came at the expense of some of the creativity he can introduce. If tierney needed a rest Ainsley may have been the better option with Saka further forward. Ceballos really put in a shift but he looked very isolated when trying to link play from the back to the front. We were too… Read more »