In a very weird and entralling game, we managed to somehow draw with Villa 2-2 having been 2-0 up with half am hour to go. In a starting eleven which saw Clichy, Djourou, Cesc, Eduardo, Walcott, Adebayor, Bendtner, and more unavailable, we started with the following team:
Sagna – Toure – Gallas – Silvestre
Eboue – Song - Denilson – Nasri
It was a little bit defensive, but not by choice but by the available players. Van Persie was deployed as a lone striker, and Diaby was positioned in the hole in front of a midfield four of Eboue, Song, Denilson and Nasri.
With Clichy rested, Silvestre slotted into left back and was a focal point for the Villa attack. Villa started brightly and the support were behing them in an overwhelming manner. The twelth man was certainly there. Song was deployed in the defensive midfield position and he really had a lot to do in the first 10 minutes. Although we did manage to go forward, Villa looked like the main threat and Agbonlahor and Young looked dangerous, supplemented with the craft of Milner playing on the right wing.
The first half was a tense one and it was more Villa than us in all honesty. But we managed to take the lead through Denilson just before half time, when the Brazilian robbed Reo-Coker and slotted past the keeper to make it 1-0. As soon as the second half kicked off, it was Diaby who managed to score the second after playing a 1-2 with Eboue and duly smashing in the second.
And it looked at that point that we’d go on to win the game and we had chances to score the third. But Villa never gave up and with half an hour to go, Gallas up-ended Agonlahor in the area and the home team were awarded a penalty. Barry duly struck the ball past Almunia and it was 2-1. With the tension mounted and the score poised for an emphatic finish, it was in injury time when Villa equalised through Zak Knight, rifling in a Petrov cross.
Somehow, we’d managed to let a 2-0 lead slip and suddenly it was 2-2 with 0 minutes left.
Time to reflect tomorrow, but for now, let’s just sit back and reflect on what happened today.
Aston Villa: Friedel, Reo-Coker, Davies, Knight, Luke Young, Milner, Sidwell, Petrov, Barry, Ashley Young, Agbonlahor.
Subs Not Used: Guzan, Harewood, Delfouneso, Salifou, Shorey, Gardner, Osbourne.
Booked: Agbonlahor, Reo-Coker, Petrov, Barry.
Goals: Barry 65 pen, Knight 90.
Arsenal: Almunia, Sagna, Eboue, Toure, Silvestre, Song Billong (Ramsey 43), Denilson, Nasri (Clichy 82), Diaby, Gallas, Van Persie.
Subs Not Used: Fabianski, Vela, Wilshere, Bendtner.
Booked: Song Billong, Toure, Diaby, Van Persie.
Goals: Denilson 40, Diaby 49.