Arsenal 0 – 2 Aston Villa… Where do I start?

It's our fourth defeat of the season, our second at home and we're joint 4th with Villa and 9 points off the top. In reality, we have no chance at the title. No chance. Not unless Arsene sorts himself out as well as the team, because today we were woeful.

In terms of a match report, what can I write - in the first half we literally didn't have a shot, in the second we kind of mustered some sort of something and hit the post, but I can't even recall Friedel even making a save.

The formation and personnel was the same as United, but I was quite annoyed that we went 4-5-1 at home to a team we should have beaten. I can understand doing so against a big team, as we did against United. But against United, the whole team played at 100% and got forward when it mattered. Last weekend, we saw Diaby in the box like a striker on many occasions, but today we saw a complete lack of desire, a lack of penetration and a lack of cutting edge.

Today's line up was:

Almunia
Sagna – Gallas – Silvestre – Clichy
Walcott – Denilson – Cesc – Diaby – Nasri
Bendtner

And it just wasn’t right at all. Diaby and Cesc actually play in a similar position and on Saturday last weekend, their opta stats showed that they’d been too close. What did that mean? It meant that we had less movement, but if you play “defensive counter-attack” then it works. Diaby of last week was completely different then the Diaby of today. We didn’t need the “extra” man in midfield and today it was a hindranceto our game. With brings me on to Bendtner. Bendtner today had the worst performance of his whole Arsenal career. He couldn’t control the ball. He didn’t look like he really wanted it and was marshaled by the Villa defence to the point where he wasn’t really even there. So that basically meant that we had two players who effectively were a hindrance. Both players were clumsy and literally lost possessionevery time they had the ball. It was no surprise to see both go off in the second half. Their performances were terrible.

Believe me, if we had Eduardo and Van Persieup front (I’ve lost all hope with Adebayor) instead of Diaby and Bendtner, with the other nine players behind them, we’d have won this game today. But Bendtner and Diaby are short of confidence, short of sharpness and short of confidence. If Diaby had played as part of a four man midfield, he would have probably done better, but every time he got the ball, there was no one in front of him, instead all the players seemed to be sideways, with Bendtner a player who was too heavily marshaled to allow any real penetration. But of course, Eduardo and Van Persie weren’t available, so Wenger had to play the team he played right? Well, I understand Arsene didn’t expect Bendtner to have such a shocker. But really, Arsene, unless we’re playing a top team, always go 4-4-2. We need the formation in the way we play. Vela has been awesome whenever he’s been on the pitch, surely today was a case to give him his first league start?

Which brings me to Cesc – he is so out of form at the moment, it’s ridiculous. He seems to be able to muster the ability to play against the bigger teams, but today his passing was all off, he was slow, slow to pass and slow to react. His defensive game wasn’t there at all. He hasn’t had a summer break and he needs one. Arsene’s recently commented that Cesc is playing as normal and not in bad form, but his usual 80% passing accuracy rate was surely somewhere in the 30% bracket. Cesc won’t play now until the 25th of Nov as his yellow card means he’s suspended against City. Please rest, please drink some red bull, please do something.

Our defence actually looked relatively sold and I’ll go with the all French back four as a somewhat more solid backline. Today’s goal came from unusual events, an own goal by Clichy and a counter attack when literally all our players were down the other end.

Which brings me to Mike Riley. Probably the worst referee in all the world after today’s performance. He was unaware of what was actually happening on the pitch and his influence on the game was to such an extent that a referee should never have on a game. He constantly awarded Villa free kicks and not us. At one point Clichy was dragged down by Milner and then kicked when on the floor and Milner got a free kick. Absurd. They really kicked us, broke up play, but to our astonishment, at half time, somehow we had two yellows and they had none.

The refereeing decision that lead to the penalty was abysmal. On the right of midfield, Theo was dragged down, slid at and pushed to the ground. A free kick to Arsenal, without a doubt. Riley didn’t give it, for what reason, only he knows. Yes, Barry was fouled, but Theo was first and that’s just not fair. The next sequence of events saw an outraged Theo lunged into a Villa player. Penalty. Almunia saved it, and it was a warning sign that we didn’t take. For the first goal, Sagna was fouled to the point where he had to be stretchered off and Arsene says he’s out for the next three weeks. Riley failed to give the free kick and they went down the other end to score. And for the second Villa goal – Vela, through on goal, was hacked down by two Villa players. Free kick on the edge of the area at minimum, would it be a yellow or a red or was it in the area? Without a doubt, it was ruthless. But again, Riley failed to give the freekick and within 10 seconds it was 2-0.

So Mike Riley, something must give. Were you paid? Did you have a bet on Villa to win? Did you put your money on United winning the league or something? I need you to explain what the hell you were up to today. Because if you referee again in the premier league, then there is no justice in this world. And you know the worst thing? You will referee again and you’ll probably give United a couple of penalties and 10 minutes of stoppage time when we’re 2-0 up at Old Trafford later this season.

So where do we go from here? I really don’t know. Our next two games are City and then Chelsea, both away. Unless we sort this nonsense out, we’ll probably lose those games too. It’s the first time in a very very long time where defeat doesn’t sound absurd. Remember, Arsene, losing is just as much a habit as winning. We’ve lost 4 games and it’s only November.

Arsene’s comments echoed mine and most of the fans:

“It was a very bad afternoon because we were not sharp physically and beaten everywhere in the first half. I felt overall Villa were the better side. It is frustrating because we played at a kind of pace today that is not our pace. Villa played very well, but we were not sharp or incisive enough. We can play very well, but at the top level performances have to be consistent. I always say the first sign of quality is consistency, so this was frustrating after beating Manchester United.”

I can honestly say that I’ve never felt so down as far as I can remember.

Someone say something to cheer me up, the comments section is all yours.

 


 

Arsenal:Almunia, Sagna (Toure 71), Gallas, Silvestre, Clichy, Walcott, Fabregas, Denilson, Nasri, Diaby (Adebayor 61), Bendtner (Vela 68).
Subs Not Used: Fabianski, Ramsey, Song Billong, Djourou.

Booked:Denilson, Fabregas.

Aston Villa:Friedel, Cuellar, Laursen, Davies, Luke Young, Ashley Young, Sidwell, Petrov, Barry, Milner, Agbonlahor.
Subs Not Used: Guzan, Harewood, Carew, Knight, Salifou, Reo-Coker, Gardner.

Booked:Friedel, Barry, Agbonlahor, Sidwell.

Goals:Clichy 70 og, Agbonlahor 80.

Att: 60,047

Ref: Mike Riley (Yorkshire).]]>

  • Pissed off

    < ![CDATA[Dev ur good u knw that. I was kind of been harsh to myself over the loss just like u, but we shouldnt.

    Lets hope V.P help]]>

  • devday

    Watching MOTD, I may have been slightly off with the Sagna injury. From where I was sitting, it looked like a foul, but I don’t think it was. And Gallas’ defending and Almunia’s keeping for the Agbonlahor goal could have been a little bit better. My other points still stand!!!

  • Fabrez!

    I don’t know anymore devday…i mean…Utd…so good… 2day…so bad! I think its time 4 Lukasz to get a chance between the sticks…Cesc needs a rest… And we need a CDM in January to give Cesc a license to attack. Senna maybe? We need V.P. and Eduardo back. I think we stand a better chance in the Champions league at the minute. Yes we are all sad as Arsenal fans but we have to keep the faith…i really would love to have the League Cup…mite give us a boost!

  • Fabrez!

    And…i have this bad feeling Cesc will go if we have no silverwear this season…(Ade too…but can’t b too bothered bout Ade 2 honest) If that happens, there is life after Cesc! :( I think we have to be realistic

  • Paul Westwood

    < ![CDATA[Villa fan here. Sorry to gloat but you are really not doing the opposition credit here. Saw the game live where I live in South East Asia and I can honestly say you were outplayed from start to finish by a team that had greater desire than yours. Football is a relatively simple game and there is a lot of guff about positions, tactics, formations. You have some brilliant players, a great manager and usually play exciting football. Today, they simply didn't work hard enough. You came up against a Villa side that played well when they hadn't got possession. Our closing down was superb and Arsenal were not allowed time on the ball and I was amazed how many of your passes went straight to Barry, Petrov and Sidwell. Anything played long was mopped up by Laursen and Davis who can deal with long balls all day.
    I also think that Walcott promises so much but doesn't deliver. He hasn't got a clue to do with the ball when he gets into danger areas. Agbonlahor has an abundance of pace but by contrast he is lethal in front of goal. His finishing reminds me of Thierry Henry. If Walcott can learn how to play football he will become just as lethal.
    I have always had a soft spot for Arsenal and having seen them play a lot this season I think thay are lacking aggression in the central midfield positions and desperately need a Viera type of player in there to mix it when faced with tenacious opponents.
    Good luck for the rest of the season, except of course on Boxing Day]]>

  • zaheer

    spurs lost… does that make anyone feel any better?

  • Debs

    it does actually, Zaheer! A bit of consolation as they’re back in the bottom 3!!!

  • Fabrez!

    Just a bit Zaheer, just a bit!

  • unspoken

    < ![CDATA[i'm just wondering what the players have in their mind.. they know that they are capable of being the best. but... there's something missing.. the inconsistency will kill off our chances..i have little/no hope of seeing us with the epl title.. a top four finish may even be a challenge..

    goo gunnerss!!

    we need the spark!! in wenger we trust..]]>

  • Pissed off

    < ![CDATA[Wenger is tactically naive.His strenghth is based on the players he has and not his tactical prowess. He runs out of ideas if things go wrong.

    Tactically his very poor, U all have to admit.He says the problem is lack of consistency but I dont think so. Let me tell u all sth, do u think Fergie or Mourinh would ve lost the league last season, even with the injury we had?

    How culd one accept that a team that defeated Manu will lose against Villa. It doesnt make any sense. That Pat Rice should be questioned and the Stake holders should step up. Its becoming madness, just Madness.]]>

  • Nix

    hmm…i thot no1 came through a 100% today…after all the motivational psychology dat goes on..i was screaming and stood for d whole 45 mins ..my legs achin my head painin n my hopes dashed…wel..i guess v do hav 2 giv dem room..i wil nt criticize The Boss(cept for eboe midfield and bendtner lone up front) coz he said..assess everytin in may…hmm…i reall feel vl hav an amazin second half of d season..a reversal of last season…v have all d players coming back..n der will b desperation..hope dats enuf 2 help our chase for a champions league spot nw that d League is a distant dream…

  • Richiebacardi

    < ![CDATA[Guys i dunno about you but what pi**ed me off mor was the sky sports presenters....all except out own man in there big Paul.

    Yes we've had a shocker of a game (by our standards) but I'm sure we've lost less matches than other teams and we're stil in the top 10 so why are we in a crisis?

    They say the biggest result was our loss yesterday. So what happpened to other teams loosing yesterday? We loose a few matches we're in a crisis? Come on!!

    Yes we want trophies and we're the best club in the world and we know this because we've not won a trophy in two years and we're in a crisis? Hmmm

    AW is a brilliant coach and he's done a lot for us since he's been here, but we're having a little problem and I'm holding my nerve till the Jan window to see what's happens, then I'll start to panic :)

    Maybe this is what we needed to shock us and our players, especially the ones asking for more money as they don't deserve it now!

    The other thing is do you realise when we get written off, we do well?? They wrote us off against Man U.

    I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

    I'm still proud to kiss the badge too!]]>

  • TMX

    < ![CDATA[Come on every one lets not loose hope
    I know it doesn t look so good
    but we still have our chance
    and we all know that a win in the next two game will see us all happy again.
    In Arsene We trust

    Ps: First time to the emirates for the champions league match next week REALLY excited.]]>

  • LEON

    < ![CDATA[i know i being harsh but the arsenal players are not hungry enough for the title,i keep on reading about gallas as a poore leader, i feel the rest of players need his mentality, gallas hates losing,to him losing is the same as dieing and the rest of the players mentality is its disapointing but at least we played buetiful football,,its such a shame that team that has so mush ability but is not willing to what ever it takes to get the win no matter who they play.

    sorry but i dont think tactics have anything do with if you bad enough you do what ever takes to win evon if they scrap of pitch at the end match]]>

  • villan4life

    < ![CDATA[Its all about kicks up the arse!!
    Villa had a big one after last weeks defeat against Boro! Combine that with the tactics that MON used, using Gabby up front on his own and 5 in midfield was what did you no favors!!
    I thought your players were very complacent after last weeks win and the press following the brilliant performance of your second team in the Cup midweek.
    As others have said here, they were second to the ball and seamed unable to cope with Villa's constant pressure.
    Villa are not a bad team and the top 4 seem to assume that teams such as, are going to be an easy 3 points! Not the case anymore!
    As for slating the ref, I thought you were lucky last week to end the game with all 11 men still on the pitch after some of the tackles I saw on my box!!
    Still, we meet again next month so you have a chance for some quick revenge. I am not so sure you will get it though!!]]>

  • JDD

    9 POINTS NOT THAT BAD HOW FAR WERE MAN UTD OFF THE LEAD AT THIS STAGE LAST SEASON WE’VE GOT VAN PERSIE TO COME BACK EDUARDO AND ROSICKY SOON AND HOPEFULLY SOME SIGNINGS IN JANUARY(HUNTELAAR,RIBERY,YAYA TOURE)

  • Pissed off

    JDD, if Wenger will adree with you.

  • debs

    < ![CDATA[I guess it's been obvious since the start of the season that our biggest issue is complacency, and the fact that the players seem to pick what games to turn up to! One would have assumed Villa would be one of those, considering they're challenging for a top 4 spot. I've watched the match highlights, and our passing seemed off so we couldn't keep the ball. If you asked me I'd say that it looked as if the players could not be bothered. We've got a fabulous squad, but I think they already think we've lost the league title so they can't be asked to fight for points. But I guess someone needs to drill it into their heads that the season is not over until it is over. Same thing applies to matches. It's not over until the final whistle blows.
    I felt sorry for Almunia cos his penalty save was useless, really, as the team failed to build on that and there was nothing he could do about it, he being stuck in goal!
    But yeah, I always say this, but the players need to work on their attitude! I'd suggest a method whereby the players don't get their weekly paypacket if they don't turn up! But knowing footballers they'll throw a strop and leave! But on a serious note, I think a few changes are necessary- if anyone's not got their head screwed in properly drop them and replace them with one of the young players! Not all the players, but maybe one or two, jusst to let the first teamers know they're not guaranteed to start every match! But yeah, it's up to Wenger and I'm sure he knows what to do. Let's see what happens between now and January. And as Nix said, hopefully we'll have a better next half of the season as it seems the boys don't like pressure.
    But the fact is no matter how badly they play, we'll always turn up to the matches and support them, and that's the least they deserve!]]>

  • debs

    just realised that my posts are getting longer as the season gets longer and the players become more annoying! lol ;)

  • Pingback: Perspective. « The World of Arsenal

  • Fabrez!

    Y’all think Cesc picked up a booking on purpose so he wouldn’t chance missing the Chelsea game? And i know its kinda early, but i think Arsenal will beat Chelsea 4 sum reason. We turn up 2 “big” games thinkin that those alone win the league…but as i said b4…let’s keep that support going…they need it! And as debs said…let’s see what’s goin on by January…we gotta have some patience i guess :-S

  • Debs

    if he did, that’s really smart! :) We’d need him fit and fresh for Chelsea, and he definitely needs a rest!

  • HJ

    < ![CDATA[To "Mr. Pissed off" (especially) and others who r also pissed with Arsene. U really gotta be kidding me mate......u said

    "Wenger is tactically naive.His strenghth is based on the players he has and not his tactical prowess. He runs out of ideas if things go wrong."

    Well then Mr. Smarty Pants, first of all, do u have any experience of being a manager at all? Any idea.. even a lil' bit? The pressure, the players, the press, the fans, the game.. do u?Are u even a gooner? writing these comments juz show how much u care for the club. I mean seriously... we are going through a really hard time here. And instead of giving our support, MOST of our fans in the stadium are juz keeping their mouth shut or swearing on our own team during the game! Tell me, if that is doing us any good at all? Even a little? The answer is NO, Duh'! U shud know better... After all Arsene has done for the club that's how u repay him? Saying he is tactically naive and giving your own expert opinions? Go manage a club then.
    In my country, when i watch the BPL, "Mr Big Mac" (Steve Macmahon) will give his comments almost identical to yours. Maybe u guyz shud get together sometime.
    I'm writing this from Asia. And it juz hurts and disgusts me so bad to know u guys in London, who can go to the game everyweek writing these stuffs. U guys shud be thankful.. People like me who can barely go to the stadium and watch our team play?, we r jealous.. and pissed to see u
    guys doing this! What do u expect Arsene to do? Spend more money on players? Are u nuts? Do we wanna be like Leeds? Hell no! He or The Club is doing it for a reason. We r in debt! Everyone knows.. Remember that he is not just a coach ok? He is the Manager. He takes care of everything. That includes our debts, accounts etc. We are losing games not because of the players and coaches guys.. We are losing games because of us.. Not backing the team.. Not making enough noise in the stadium.. Not cheering the team.. I hate to say this, but take Liverpool supporters for
    example. We cannot and should not blame anyone in the dressing room. The quality is there.. It was proven against Man U. We just have to get behind the team guys... That is all we can do as supporters. Let them do their jobs as we do ours. Come on~~ even the Sp*rs' fans cheered louder than us the other day...
    "In Arsene We Trust", first class guys.. whoever made the banner.
    We are where we are because of him. Cheers.

    p/s: sorry for posting twice.]]>

  • Arif aka RF

    < ![CDATA[Really don feel lyk commenting after watchin da match.
    Hope keeps me Alive !]]>

  • http://no kaberuka vincent

    arsenal has let me down and had bitten manu i thought it was going to continue playing well but i dont know what got wrong against aston villa but we all trust in wenger thank you

  • LEON

    jdd youy are assuming that arsenal can go the rest of the season unbeaton,from what have seen the way play when they have fight and scrap and what it takes to win arsenal are going to drop more points the january market is far away.

  • David

    < ![CDATA[Arsenal do not have spine to defend. i don't blame Gallas for the first goal but defending mildfieder and keeper for not dealing with the ball. Amunia was there in the box but didn't cut the ball and where was Denilson? Gallas did his best to keep Young to the corner thereby giving the chance to keeper and fellow defenders to deal with the ball.

    Second goal: Amunia has problem with his left hand and he has conceded most of goals via his left side. Against Sunderland, Hull, Bimirghum last season and all long ranges are scored through his left side.]]>