Result: Aston Villa 1 – 0 Arsenal
Competition: Premier League
Date: 6 Feb 2021
Venue: Villa Park
Arsenal: Ryan, Bellerin, Holding, Gabriel, Cedric, Xhaka, Partey, Smith Rowe, Pepe, Saka, Lacazette
Subs: Runarsson, Chambers, Mari, Elneny, Ceballos, Odegaard, Willian, Martinelli, Aubameyang
Arsenal provided an underwhelming performance at Villa Park to lose 1-0 to an organised Aston Villa side. The home team went ahead within the first minute through Watkins after a mix up between Cedric and Gabriel.
The Gunners couldn’t find a way around a solid Aston Villa defence as they slumped to their second league defeat in a row.
Arsenal featured a largely unchanged side from the last game against Wolves with the only exceptions being the inclusion of Ryan and Gabriel in place of the suspended Leno and Luiz.
Captain Aubameyang made the bench as he slowly returns to fitness after time away from training due to family matters.
It was an inauspicious start for Arsenal as Villa went 1-0 up within the first minute. The home side started at a good pace and had their long pass cleared by Gabriel. Cedric received the ball and made a weak lay off towards Gabriel. The ball was intercepted and crossed in for Ollie Watkins whose shot was deflected off Holding and spun past debutant, Mat Ryan, to register the first goal of the match. 1-0 Villa
The next 25 minutes were rather uneventful with both teams cancelling each other out in the respective final thirds. Bellerin was often closely marking Grealish while Villa made rotational fouls on Saka to hinder any attacking play by Arsenal. Those cynical fouls on Saka brought yellow cards for Konsa and Nakamba.
It wasn’t until the 28th minute when Arsenal made their first proper attempt on goal. Xhaka powered a well-taken free kick from the right hand side towards the top corner only for Emi Martinez to push it out for a corner.
Worryingly, Villa countered from that very corner with Traore turning Holding out too easily and tried to chip the ball past Ryan who stood up well to palm the ball away. Barkley’s follow up strike was quickly blocked by Gabriel.
Arsenal went a bit closer towards the end of the first half with a couple of blocked shots and a right footed attempt by Pepe going wide but the team had to up the tempo in the second half to reverse the result at Villa Park.
Despite the lack of cutting edge, questions also had to be asked of the referee who was very lenient with the many fouls made by the Villa players with Konsa’s late tackle (who was already on a yellow) through the back of Lacazette outside of the box and Grealish’s push on Saka among the many events that went unpunished.
The second half started at a fast pace for both teams though Aston Villa looked the more dangerous of the teams. They had more cutting edge when making chances and had a few shots on goal within the first 10 minutes with Ryan called upon to save Arsenal’s blushes.
Arsenal were not to be deterred, pushing more bodies into the Villa box during their attacks. Their new found spirit saw Pepe come close on 52 minutes as he was supported in attacked by Saka, Lacazette and Smith Rowe. The Ivorian could only shoot wide with his right foot after a quick dribble while Smith Rowe made a similar attempt just minutes later only to have his shot blocked by Mings.
By then, the Gunners were in ascendancy as they piled on the pressure and Bellerin was often left unmarked as he underlapped within the inner right channel. The faster paced game demanded a fleet footed striker and Lacazette made way for Aubameyang 58 minutes in. Odegaard came on a few minutes later for Cedric.
Odegaard’s inclusion helped improve some of the build up play in the middle of the park while Saka’s move to left back provided great overlapping opportunities alongside a rampaging Pepe as Arsenal searched for a goal. This momentum was stunted a little when Partey had to come off with what looked like a recurrence of his injury. Willian came on in his place.
Arsenal huffed and puffed but never looked to be able to break down Aston Villa’s organised defence. Odegaard had a decent chance from the middle of the box which just went over the bar after a good cutback from Saka though the Gunners had to contend with a few close shaves with Villa’s counters.
That was the closest the Arsenal got to scoring a goal in an overall underwhelming performance. Despite the recent uptick in performance and results the last few weeks, this match showed that Arteta has his work cut out to bring some consistency to his team’s overall play.
It turns out confidence is still very fragile and the Wolves debacle took its toll. They played with so little urgency until the last 20 minutes and then suddenly look desperate. If brining on Willian is the plan, then things look bleak.
I did like the look of Mat Ryan as backup though. Unlucky with the deflection for the goal.
Not even top half and Arteta’s keeping his job. How low we’ve fallen…
Arteta is a poor manager we’re going nowhere with him in charge…also we get rid of a 350,000 a week problem in ozil and replace it with a 500,000 ball of shite with Willian and Auba
How can Özil be a problem while he wasn’t playing? Oh, yes, he was a problem to the opponents as our best creator…
Btw, as he wasn’t playing, he wasn’t costing £350 000 per week.
Interesting take. Like shooting yourself in the foot by giving him the contract and then again in the other by not playing him.
Funny that he’s still the scapegoat in some quarters.
If hes not careful about what he says in Turkey they might shoot him
You’re an idiot
Auba is good value still
he’s made a few good runs in the slot which werent picked up ….
His tactics are shocking. He has been repeatedly saved by young players who have been excellent and made the team look decent. Today is a showcase of his tactics with strikers (if you can call them that) who aren’t suited for it.
Mate I get you are frustrated but please stop with this ‘I want everything now’ attitude. It’s tiresome calling for a managers head every time we lose or draw a game. Arteta is staying, regardless of what some fans want. He’s done fine considering the circumstances and a bit of loyalty can go a long way. Even if the the board were feeling trigger happy, who would you bring in to replace him at this stage? There is literally nobody of any quality available to replace him right now.
It only takes a few bad results for the cretins to come out of the woodwork….
Allegri, Favre and Tuchel until last of couple of weeks.
I don’t think anyone is “wanting to have everything now”. I agree that Arteta will be staying and that is even more frustrating, 23 games in and we have already lost 10 of them. For a so called “big club” that will get you either sacked or facing serious questions about your position. I never bought into the narrative that after our 3 game winning streak we’d make it into the top 4 and I still think making it to the EL will be an achievement. Arteta hasn’t improved this team.
Absolutely spot on.
Too right, it’s like ‘rage-quitting’ video games because you’re losing. Instant gratification isn’t always there in the real world kids! Hopefully the major of supporters are more level headed though and willing to stand by Arteta and the club.
I’m not so sure. Arsenal has more than its fair share of spineless whiners.
It’s nothing to do with loyalty I simply believe he’s a poor manager and sticking with him will do us no favours. His team selections and substitutions are terrible, his treatment of Saliba,AMN,Martinelli,Nelson is very poor and his determination to play Willian at every possible opportunity is just mind boggling
You make a good point. Personally I would rather make a switch in the summer.
I was looking at the league table though, not solely today’s result.
Seems like a while since everyone had a go at Arteta so it was thoughtful of him to stop winning so that this can be facilitated.
just look at the shit he inherited
Absolute garbage yet again. I swear it’s one step forward, two steps back with this team. 0 points from 6 against Wolves and Aston Villa. Fantastic. The complete lack of final ball and decent shots is infuriating. 1 shot on target from open play, and that was Bellerin’s speculative effort from outside the box…
arteta cant be blamed when a player shoots themselves in the foot…it hinders walking in any direction
Willian was hardly the plan….Parteu was injured
who would you have pulled off the bench when partey went down?
Martinelli could have been the plan though.
Mikel slowly loosing my support. All thanks to his decisions and him playing Willian.
Another time we shot ourselves in the foot and lost a game.
It was interesting to see two sets of wide players on each side, that too with a left and right combination on both.
Willian wasn’t too bad I thought.
Match: kicks off
10 seconds later
Martin Keown: it’s a slow slow start for Arsenal, Aston Villa are such a compact unit. Jack Grealish is magnificent, what a player
I know it was such a Grealish love in. I thought he revealed the “pretty boy power puff” that he is. Plenty of step overs but apart from that nothing. Yet Keown kept on going on about him like he is Messi.
I mean, I can go on about how bad the refereeing against us is but I want to point out how wasteful we are. I don’t just mean the chances to score but general play. How we barely play the players who are in acres of space. How we won’t take a throw in when players are free and then wait 5 secs for opponents to come to position and more often than not give away the ball. We have gotten better at our general play in the last month, no doubt but we should still understand that things can… Read more »
What chances? We have no creativity, our chances mostly come accidentally or from opponent’s mistakes.
Add in the corners. We are dire at taking corners.
Yes. All kind of set plays. FKs can only be scored once every few games. But our corners give me so much headache that I don’t want to actually write about it in any detail.
Didn’t we just get someone in to improve our set pieces? Bloke is nicking a living, our corners are horrible and we do have players who are good at taking free kicks but can’t deliver a decent corner. Very frustrating.
Our throw ins are disgraceful. Foul throws and losing the ball. Our corners and free kicks are equally as bad.
Games like these you need corners, free kicks and penalties to win
The resurgence of Pepe didn’t last long did it. His predictability just completely subs out any threat he is.
He was our best player today and the only one who looked liked scoring. Don’t blame him.
I thought he was our best player.
Feel like I was watching a different game. Villa defended solidly and are a good team. But unlike earlier in the season, we actually looked dangerous. It wasn’t single paced and the dreaded horseshoe. It wasn’t all down the left. We had obvious quality on the ball. We lost cos of a n early lapse in concentration and just not quite clicking, but loads of positives.
I agree Matthinc, I thought we played well. There chances only came late because we were chasing a goal more
Such a badly coached team, you still want to play willian ahead of Martinelli then you deserve to suffer. Mikel just brought this on himself. That was an almost full strength squad, if they continue to play without a plan for 90 mins, i will.have doubts on mikel and his coaching team.
Nah mate, pumping crosses into an empty box is the future. Soon all teams will be doing it.
Death by a thousand crosses.
That time where Bellerin crossed it into the box without a single Arsenal player there and Aston Villa countered…… how do u get caught in a counter when u commit no players forward? Lol Arsenal
That’s why I would rather have Auba instead of Laca in CF. Yes, Laca does better with the link up play but he is usually missing in the box. Yes, Laca is the top scorer probably coz Auba plays in the left but a better striker should have double the goal that he has considering the chances he gets
Just as we were building momentum.
He puts Willian on, Pepe shifted out and Saka as far away from the goal as possible. Completely idiotic.
I agree with you! That decision by Aretha was simply shocking!
Arteta out. Martinelli in.
We should bring in whoever is managing Brentford. You know, just in case…
Watching this arsenal team is killing my soul slowly!! It’s so frustrating.
Like a really slow motion car crash that you just can’t take your eyes off
Because Aubameyang relies on service, it was like going down to 10 men when he came on. Sorry, I forgot Willian had come on – make that 9!
Did sauna come on today? I didn’t notice…
Auba not sauna- ffs predictive text!
Most of the team were playing as if they had just stepped out of a sauna….
This is so true
Fuck Cedric. I don’t want to see more than one mistake like that every 5 years.
Fuck the refs. That is a pen and a red card for Martinez at the corner around 57/58 minutes. Laca is hauled down.
Fuck BT commentary. I had to listen to how amazing Aston Villa are for 90 minutes because of that one shitty goal and no other real reasons.
We’re gonna have to win the Europe league. Quite strange, if we’d beaten wolves and villa (two winnable games) we’d be in 5th right now, just a couple points away from the top 4. Now, if the results of other games don’t go our way we could drop to 13th. What a shame.
People say I’m dramatic when I say this – but arsenal need a lot of improvement and changes and quickly – it’s a strange position because change demands time, but before you know it, players refuse to join us, the quality drops, and it becomes harder and harder and harder to get back up. That’s why I mean it, we really, really, really need to win the Europe league. Our FA cup win was so massive precisely because it gave us European football + a trophy and some happiness and hope. We need to make the most of it, because… Read more »
Top 4 chances my arse
Top 4 chances are this side of zero
Not a chance we’re winning anything, overrated players and a shite manager
Letting the FA Cup go to be in this situation? A lot of fans were supportive of it, not me.
Same, it’s easier to win that than climb the table from our position.
Mate, I don’t want to be pessimistic but this side is not getting to the Europa League final.
There are far better coached teams in the Round of 32 than 2018-19 and Arteta has not shown any indication that he can manage a European Cup run.
No, don’t get me wrong, I am well aware the odds are against us. Against us right from the beginning as well, we’re playing city and Benfica twice within the span of a week. I just mean, I’m terrified that if we don’t improve soon and fast and significantly, in 4-5 years we could see ourselves as a consistently 8th-9th place side. I know it’s an awful thought, but truly, if we’re honest, it’s far from inconceivable. It’s happened in the past before to others and frankly we are showing all the symptoms. Winning the europa league would be massive.… Read more »
There are at least 5 teams left in the Europa League better than Arsenal, but cup competition though so you never know….
Willian well and truly killing all momentum when he came on. Shaking my head
We lost both Partey and Pepe with just one sub. Fucking unbelievable.
There was a really good battle going on between Pepe + Cash
Not sure why we moved Pepe to the right
Matthew Cash is definitely a player we should be targeting this summer
We need to stop blaming Willian and look at who is putting him there.
A shite manager
Willian out. Forever.
Here it is by the way lads
Agent Martinez gave us a chance only for the ref and VAR to bollox it
Hard to know what to make of this team and season. We look better but still have issues scoring. Need to keep moving the ball quickly.
Same as against Sp*ds, a second half of possession with no purpose
Prior to ESR we were one or two of the worst teams to watch in the entire PL. We consistently looked like we couldn’t score from open play. This is miles better than that but we’re still moving the ball too slowly at times.
Total bollocks again. Gift them a goal. Poor passing. Take our top scorer off!! Keep going left all the time. Bringing on Willian!! Deserved the loss. Very poor.
Arsenal will always have that drama. Any experienced Arsenal fan could have predicted us not scoring against our boy Martinez.
WE ARE TOO MEEK!
Laca was pulled by Martinez, Konsa fouled Saka as a last man, Grealish constantly was on the back of Saka… but each time Villa got away with it.
WTF?! Where are the people getting in their face of the referee and asking questions? This is depressing.
Also, Mikel subbing Willian in when we have Ceballos and Martinelli on the bench is beginning to look questionable.
How many chances will MA give Kia’s Borges? He kicked out Özil after 10 (very good/good) games.
Quite possible that Mikel himself is involved in some shady deal along with Edu & Kia. Can’t think of any other reason you want Willian to succeed at any cost.
Genuinely thought we’d win today. Really disappointing, especially after the Wolves debacle. Poor performance again.
Basically back in trouble again. Auba and Willian waste of time from the bench. Why no Martinelli? Next 3 games, Leeds home, Man City and Leicester away. Realistically we could beat Leeds, the other 2 pff. Is this what Arsenal are now? a 10th placed team. There is nothing to be excited about. Oh hang on, we’re still a work in progress and since we’ve shifted out the dead wood we’ll come good next season.
Another Saturday ruined!
Keep your head up brother!
I know it’s not much but Joe Willock has scored on his debut against the Saints
What is the sense in bringing on Willian when you have Martinelle?
Arteta, you cant tell me Willian works hard in training than Martinelle? This is so frustrating
Very poor performance, played about 20 yards too deep with only sporadic pressure on the ball. Need to have a serious look at the fullback positions in the summer, we need them functioning to create space out wide. Lacazette and Aubameyang both invisible today as well. Real shame.
Arteta messed up the subs again. Why wasn’t ESR taken off? He was doing nothing. I would have kept Laca on and put Auba down the left or just leave Saka and Pepe in the positions that they started. Madness. We looked and played like 11 strangers after all the changes.
Mat Ryan our MOTM.
Arteta needs to leave his ego at the door and accept that one of his signings has not worked out. Why bring on Willian instead of Martinelli when we’re chasing the game? Why does he continue to carry the delusion that Willian can add anything to our game. It’s subtraction by addition.
Either Willian has his nudes or it’s basically him throwing in the towel.
He is trying to justify his signing and game after game he is proven wrong. I hope he doesn’t take another 20 games to finally understand Willian isn’t working. Looks like Arteta is a very poor student.
Why are we denying one of Europe’s best prospects game time so a manager can be proved right about a has-been?
Arteta does seem to be a bit of a slow learner. Everyone here was crying out for ESR since October. Took Arteta until Boxing Day to finally play him.
I swear the amount of times I screamed FUCK OFF WILLIAN! It was 7.30am kick off here and it’s such a depressing way to start. I hate his attitude more than anything else. Absolutely killed the game for us.
Mediocre performance. What’s the point of having a striker (Auba) who can’t play in the No 9 position. Willian had yet another stinker. Rubbish.
A disappointing result and a soft goal to give away, but we are definitely playing better and probably deserved at least a point, so there were more positives again today than negatives.
That said, why the fuck Arteta continues to bring on Willian – especially when we’re chasing the game – is beyond me.
Not our day today, but there are gradual signs of improvement. Just stop playing Willian FFS.
The really depressing aspect of this game is how predictable it was. I have seen us lose this way so so many time. Top 4 was on but we find a way to screw it up. When top 4 is out of reach, we will go on an amazing winning run to fool us that next season will be better but the story repeats itself
We are the Murphy’s law of football clubs. I’ve come to accept that. Let’s scrape another 2 wins somehow and play the u21s for the rest of the season. Give the 1st team a couple of weeks off to rest and recover from injuries and bring them all back 2-3 months early for pre season so when crowds are back (hopefully) next season we have a head start over everyone else. This season is a wash, might as well plan for next. Also it will be fun to watch the kids compete with little pressure over results.
1st team can still play EL
3 steps forward, 2 steps back. And we are all frustrated again. Come on man…
Why is Willy coming on instead Martinelli? Was useless. This needs to be asked in press conference. Is it in his Contract? It makes no sense. Comes on takes 2 extra touches then goes backwards. Lost the first all in our half with a simple pass to make and they get a chance at goal. Not going to comment on the rest. Europa League and Tierney coming back is our only hope. I don’t ever want to see Willian play another match but I’m sure he will continue to feature and serious questions have to be posed to Arteta why… Read more »
What’s the XG for a clubs whose tactics are to pump crosses into an empty box?
Based on today I would say. Willian.
I like MA, but if he thinks bringing on Willian to try and get back into a game is the answer than God help us. And Cedric was absolutely shocking. We lost today down to his shitness. U can’t mitigate for that in your planning…
Oh and to comment on the match report and not just the game – I don’t agree much with that assessment at all. Looking forward to seeing the numbers because 1-1 felt like the minimum we earned
Pretty disappointing how often we lose possession by misplacing 5-10 yard passes. Pepe plays with his head down and only looks to shoot when there are better options available. Only plus point was a decent performance from the new goalie after going a goal down (Cedric mistake) inside 2 minutes. Looking like a top 6 finish will be tough now.
And our captain on the day is a regular in this area.
My head hurting again at watching Mikel bringing up Willian again. Have nothing good to say so won’t say much, except: B*llocks
It’s like going down to 10 men, isn’t it?
We lost all momentum as soon as he stepped on the pitch and started doing that thing he always does when he turns and dribbles backwards.
Maybe we should have sent him on loan and kept Willock, who just scored on his debut and has more goals this season than Willian.
Mat Ryan MOTM on his debut.
Emi made the save of the season
Pepe is selfish and has bad decision making.
Bellerin has laughably poor technique.
Cedric isnt good enough.
Putting on Willian instead of Martinelli is dumb.
Putting in crosses when we have no target man is dumb.
A pathetic, toothless performance.
We were dreadful in the final third and never looked like scoring. Pepe awful. Absolutely knew that Martinez would keep a clean sheet.
Our PL season is effectively over. Shame we threw away the FA Cup. Our season is the EL now.
Pepe was the only player trying to make things happen. Auba and Laca played much worse than Pepe!
Max allegri we are waiting for you, Arteta out
Fuck that. I’d rather watch this than an allegri team.
Arsenal are playing an enjoyable football under the “disciple” of Pep ???
ARTETA OUT bringing on Willian instead of Martinelli
Arteta its time to go!
It’s frightening that we can’t score with the attacking players we have. People’s eyes will be turning towards the manager…
How nice of Arsenal to check our expectations and remind us that we are, in fact, shit. A long way to go but all the teams above us are better with more discipline and players willing to work.
Cedric is back up ONLY, major improvement needed. On both full backs.
On the positive side, I’m glad Matt Ryan was able to shut all the people up were claiming the only reason we got him from Brighton is ’cause he’s a bit shit; that goal was entirely on Cedric.
Partey going off, then moving Pepe to the right, and Willian on the left, unbalanced us.
We were starting to get on top.
Not much between the two teams, which is the reality about where we currently are as a team
Hopefully Partey hasn’t picked up another injury.
Easy to get disappointed but the positive point is the consistency of performances that Pepe is providing.. Easily one od the game’s best two players along with Grealish..
We go again, not the end of the world..
No, but pretty much the end of our hopes this season. 😔
Yes but Partey is injured again so it’s beginning to feel like the end of the world!
Every other week:
Arsenal: Let’s be okay but not quite good enough, and lose again.
Me: AARRRGGGHHHH, this is so frustrating. I’m gonna go online and seek solace among fellow Arsenal fans.
Fellow Arsenal fans: EVERYONE MUST DIE! BURN THE UNIVERSE!
A very cowardly performance from the team today. The standout performer today was Mat Ryan, who made at least 8 saves. The outfield players lost so many individual battles. Aubameyang anonymous once again. Holding and Bellerin looked very poor defensively today. Watkins and Grealish won so many duels against them today. The less said about Cedric the better. Saka when he played at RW couldn’t beat his opponent today, clearly fatigued. The one time he did beat someone, the ref only gave a yellow. I don’t think Pepe had one completed cross or a shot on target today. Today wasn’t… Read more »
We should be making cute little videos about ourselfs all day long, going out to fashion shows or dispensing plush Gunnersaurus-babies to the kids, instead of immitating that we are “fighting” in the lague…
I seems like the phrase “Agility” is banned at London Colney
Could be an unpopular comment, even I don’t like the idea of it, but the way some of our lads get straight up after some serious fouls have started to feel annoying, especially when opponents try to milk out every piece of wind they get hurt by ..
Grealish acts like a diva as of no one should even touch his shadow .. but Saka should have given some of the rolling back ..
It’s a terrible idea, but that’s how the refereeing works these days
Oh no, I’m with you there, we need some shithousery, quite often we’re too soft and naive.
Martinez pulled Lacazette’s shirt badly .. and he didn’t even appeal, I can imagine Luiz pulling an opponent’s shirt like that in our box and boom – penalty
Yeah it’s amazing VAR didn’t have a second look at 2 handball incidents and that Martinez pull on Laca.
It’s hard to sympathize with this Arteta guy when he clearly likes to play his crony Willian over young talents like Martinelli. And it’s not like Willian offers anything useful
It could be in willians contract 🤔🤔