No Arguments, Villa Thoroughly Deserved The Win

Arsenal 0 – 2 Aston Villa

0 – 1 Clichy o.g. (70)
0 – 2 Agbonlahor (80)

After the match, Arsene said:

You cannot speak about whether you will be champions or not at this stage but to be champions you need to be consistent – and we are not.

That sums up Arsenal’s current position succinctly. Despite inconsistencies, the team lie fourth, nine points behind Liverpool and Chelsea (although ten points is more accurate given the latter’s goal difference) yet on the evidence of recent games, that gap will not decrease. It might not increase either but to beat one of your closest rivals and then lose to a team who are looking to take your place in the cartel in the upper echelons of the table, is not a sign of a serious challenge.

Yesterday was quite simply a calamity. Villa came, as suspected, with a five strong midfield but they defended in packs, were solid, isolated Bendtner to the point where his performance was non-descript and once they had got to grips with the supply to Walcott, pretty much controlled the game. The better side on the day won.

Early indications were that it might not be that way. Walcott twice eluded Young on the right and got decent crosses in; the first slightly behind Bendtner, the latter too strong for him to slide onto. Both occasions highlighted the dangers of packing the midfield because there was an absence of other Arsenal players in the area; no Nasri, Fabregas or Diaby supporting and in this formation, they have to make those runs.

Once Barry moved across to snuff out the service to Walcott, the youngster’s threat disappeared, leaving no outlet on either flank, Nasri having a poor game by comparison to the previous week. Villa probed equally well, direct in their running. Young, Sidwell, Barry and Petrov could have given the visitors an earlier lead from open play, either wasteful or drawing saves from Almunia or any combination of the above. Young though spurned the best chance of all in the first half. Having bamboozled Gallas with some nifty footwork, he forced a rash challenge from Walcott, no complaints about the penalty award.

Fortunately, Fabregas’ fierce tackle on Barry left the Villa captain unable to take the spot kick. Young did and Almunia dived to his right to parry, Gallas sliding in to prevent the rebound ending up in the Arsenal net. Gallas might have been inside the area when the ball was initially struck but the margins on calling those decisions are tight and Mike Riley not brave enough to pull him up on the infringement.

The second half began much as the first had ended with Arsenal coming into the game more but as was the case previously, they faded badly. It came as little surprise when Villa took the lead, even though the chances spurned by the visitors looked as if they could be costly by dropping two of the three points they deserved.

Young set off on another direct run and whipped in an excellent cross. Under pressure from Agbonlahor, Clichy diverted the ball into his own net. It was a poor own goal to concede. Despite the close attentions of the forward, Clichy had enough visibility of the ball to direct it, at the very least, upwards but from the angle of his defensive run, he should have been able to put the ball out of play on the other side of the goal.

Chasing the game, Adebayor who had been on the pitch ten minutes before Villa scored, came closer to an equaliser than Bendtner had in his time on the pitch with an overhead kick. It mattered for nought as Laursen’s long punt upfield found Agbonlahor, who shielded the ball from Gallas and proceeded to bury it past Almunia. The goal was shrouded in controversy. Vela was clearly felled by Laursen in the initial attack. Very poor officiating because Riley should have booked the Mexican for ‘simulation’ if he felt the challenge to be fair. He did not therefore his decision not award a free kick is illogical.

That aside, blaming the official for the defeat is futile as it masks what was a poor performance. The passing game was neutered by a hard-working Villa midfield. For Arsene, the international week is both blessing and a curse. Whilst being deprived of the opportunity to work on the failings of the performance, he can only hope that those away with their countries take the opportunity to clear their heads and come back to the club stronger.

Too often in the opening third of the season though, inconsistency has reared its’ ugly head. This is a bigger problem for Wenger to address. The defence is not impregnable and the team is relying on two or more goals to win games, or even take a point. It was the same last season. It is hard to see how Wenger will solve that issue. Yes, van Persie and Adebayor were missing entirely or for most of yesterday but the forwards need service.

The inexperience of the midfield was shown up yesterday and the over-reliance on Fabregas to provide solutions is becoming worryingly like the dependency on Henry in his latter seasons at the club. With the Spaniard not at his best, the rest are not stepping up to the plate often enough.

Arsene called for eleven leaders on the pitch recently. He found mice instead of men yesterday. Even so, the title has not yet disappeared out of sight but the team are relying on United, Chelsea and Liverpool losing when they face us and then dropping points against each other. Both those scenarios are entirely plausible. Problematically, Arsenal are not winning the games against the other teams in the division on anything like a consistent enough basis to take advantage of those stumbles.

There are precedents to the current form in Wenger’s reign. It might be this season turns into a repeat of 1997/98 where a relentless run of wins is forged and the opposition worn down in a title chase. It might be similar to 2005/06 where a Champions League run comes at the expense of consistent league performances. Or it could be anywhere in between with not a pot in their hands at the end of it all.

November is always a notoriously rough time of year for his teams and there seems no logical reason why this happens on a consistent basis. Maybe Arsene doesn’t like the climate at this time of year and it transmits. I cannot think of any better reason. A team meeting of the ilk of 97/98 might be the best thing. Get everything out in the open, no holds barred, no grudges borne. Clear the air and start afresh. There is a good team spirit apparently so such words should not hurt. That may not happen; if it does, it may not work. But they need to get together, away from the manager and coaching staff, finding the solutions themselves. Whatever they may be, there is an urgent need to solve the problems.

’til Tomorrow.

140 thoughts on “No Arguments, Villa Thoroughly Deserved The Win

  1. Arse21 says:

    Frank,

    I’ll stop being vulger if you promise to stop being a moron?

    Dealio

  2. Frank says:

    Hi Poliziano….thank you. I did not think that I would have a link for a while, so I thought I would do a Mia/NyMarcus…but as I said…addiction….got my own stuff to do though….so I may not be in my ‘right mind’ to quote Arse21….who I hope has had a good shower by now.

  3. Frank says:

    Nope…can’t do that….not within my power, I’m afraid, Arse21

  4. Ateeb says:

    Arese21, It’s because Wenger is a fool and arrogant. He likes irritating and frustrating the fans. Nothing makes him happier than coming to blogsites and reading comments such as yours. Frustrated fans brings a smile on his face. Evil he is, I tell you my friend. He likes to read how the media puts him down all the time. He is a rebel without a cause. He doesn’t care about arsenal or winning, it’s the attention he gets from his unorthodox ways that pleases and delights him. He knows all he needs is a good CB and a holding mifielder, and maybe a creative midfielder. But he won’t and now you know why. He knew Rosicky won’t return early, so he didn’t get anyone. He just wanted to see you upbeat and angry, Arse21. He hates you more than anyone in the world. He has sacrificed his winning ways, just to make you sad and angry. He teases you, by winning against Manchester united. And just when you’re happy and confident that the title challenge is back on track, he instructs the players to put in a bad performance. Why? Because Arsene Wenger hates you ARSE21. He hates you. And others like you.

  5. Poliziano says:

    Arse21,
    Fugging men has never appealed to me. I know that’s an old-fashioned attitude, and might cause some people to label me unregurgitated, but that’s the way I am. I accept that you modern men like to have the best of both worlds, to mix and match, to play for man city and man utd. I just find men uniting unromantic. It’s a case of horses for courses, I suppose; and I like to stick to the straight course.

  6. Arse21 says:

    Ateeb,

    He just text me and told me he hates you more

  7. Arse21 says:

    Frank,

    Thus proving you are as smart as a bowl of red cabbage

  8. Frank says:

    …..and RvP will be the key player in the squad for years to come. AW will build his team around a number of players and RvP will be the senior player in residence…..bit different, passionate about the game and Arsenal, the most skilful and visionary player in the current first team…not afraid to speak his mind…gets stuck in when the chips are down…above all commands the respect of his team mates. Theo plays better when RvP is playing and so does Cesc…no why?…complete respect!…the one player who will tell WG to go f** himself if he doesn’t shape up….I give you Robin Van Persie.

  9. Remi says:

    WE ARE 4th IN THE LEAGUE, SAY WE ARE 4th IN THE LEAGUE!

  10. Frank says:

    …some of my best friends are bowls of red cabbage

  11. Ateeb says:

    Arse21, he doesn’t hate me. Im in his small red army. The selected few, who brings hope to blog sites, and optimism to people. And just when people start feeling better, Wenger does it again. Why do you think he plays Eboue? We can all see, he shouldn’t be playing in the PL. But he is played anyways, so that You, YES YOU ARSE21, get angry. Wenger loves it when you can’t go to sleep, thinking about the ridiculous performances that our players put in. Thinking about all the answers to our problems. Offcourse you’re right, he knows it too. But he won’t do it. Because nothing makes him happier than looking at your sad frustrated face.

  12. Alex Ice Cream says:

    I get the impression that this team really doesn’t give a s*** win lose or draw they are all pocketing 40-80k a week. The worst of all in this respect is Ade who has had 1 deceent season and thinks he’s better than Thierry Henry. His workrate and attitude have been awful this season but hey its 80k a week so who cares.

    Rumours are that we are offering RvP 80k a week also. Can someone please explain why? This guy has been injured for 2/3 of his time at Arsenal and has been very average this season. He has yet to score 15 goals in 1 season or even play 1 season so why should he get a huge rise?

    He’s 25, has acheived little in the game (ok mainly due to injury) and is still petulant as last week showed.

    Its not just these 2 though. The attitude seen this season from many players leaves a lot to be desired.

  13. Arse21 says:

    Ateeb,

    Wenger just text me again saying that you suffer from terrible B.O and that your manned from the emirates

    Frank,

    My best freind has a mango head

  14. Frank says:

    ….RvP…probably the best player in the PL…watch and learn, Mr Ice Cream…watch and learn.

  15. Arse21 says:

    Remi,

    He aint a captain though is he?

    He says stupid things in interviews and has a suspect private life

  16. Ateeb says:

    Oh AIC, Wenger hates you too. Not more than Arse21. But still, he hates you enough to give RVP the new contract.

  17. Poliziano says:

    What’s is suspect about van Persie’s private life? And why is he a rebel?

  18. Arse21 says:

    Poliziano,

    He likes dressing up as a woman

  19. Poliziano says:

    What’s wrong with that? We’re living in the 21st century.

  20. Peter Storeys Budgie says:

    Frank

    RVP best player in the prem.Do me a favour he is not even the best player at Arsenal.

  21. sarah says:

    Oh high heavens. Never did I expect this kind of reaction to my in part tongue in cheek riff about ole blue eyes Frankie boy inserting a figuative jawbreaker in his piehole. That’s what fugging oneself means fyi; the jawbreaker intended to stop some of the sarcy cow remarks and know it all attitude that truth be told isnt charming or funny nor are the arsebloggarian (great blog – lousy comment section) inside wise cracks that would do better on say a laddy talk on msn between the parties or at some less refined blog. But that’s just my opinion. Anyways if you dish out harsh words I would expect that you in turn can take a little jab in good humour. If not don’t start the hatemongering in the first place. And yes there has been some of that in here lately. Poliziano (thanks for the vote of confidence regarding my gender btw it warmed my heart) and Frank teaming up like Abbott and Costello and bullying long time posters and contributors of the blog. With that said I’m glad to see you back Frank and I’m hoping to see Mia and Nymarcus back too. The non tongue in cheek part, to explain, was fuelled by the escalating harshness of tone directing toward the less blindly optimistic posters on this blog. Who if we search our souls all were right to begin with and had some very valid points based on objective facts, knowledge of the game and clear to see flaws in our team and Arsene’s management ( I love the man – dont want him gone but do think some of his managerial decisions and lack of buying and having cover up in defense has lead us to lose out on titles that should have been ours) . And not I’m not one of the I told you sos. I’m leaning toward the optimistic and I would never like nagagooner surrender all hope at an early stage. Even though I fully understand his doing so. It’s about self preservation as much as anything else. It hurts to see a team that last term was heading for greatness and years of domination being dismantled and us taking a step back. It also hurts to see flushes of brilliance this season be interrupted time and time again but I won’t be going on about what we all know are the reasons for this. Someone did ask my opinion on what my solution is. As I see it most of the players aren’t good enough to be starters for Arsenal at present. Some of them have never been good enough. Some of them might be some day. Don’t get me wrong most of the players if not all of them I rate very highly but they aren’t good enough for a starting place if we are to contend for titles. As I see it only Sagna, Clichy and Cesc are good enough to be starters. That’s the main reason. Ade and Kolo in current form aren’t. RvP has never been. Highly overrated, one-footed, luxury player that plays for himself not the team, never tracks back and lacks defensive awareness. Furthermore bad link up play, lacks a winning mentality and is very inconsistent. An impact sub at best like he was back when Henry and Bergkamp was playing. Not someone to build the offense around. Denilson, Nasri might be good enough one day but arent at this point. Theo is good enough against teams that dont sit back and defend behind the ball but lacks technique, ballhandling and a football brain to be useful against teams that do. And I fear that is something that will be said 10 years down the line too. Diaby has the talent but is too lazy and lacks the work ethic and mentality to ever be good enough. Song is a decent in both positions used but not good enough for a starting place at a club like Arsenal. Nor will he ever be. Almunia is getting better and I do rate him more now than I used to but he can never win us titles he can ony lose them for us. That leaves us our dear capi. In my opinion he was the main reason we bottled it in the spring. After Birmingham he gave up. He stopped blocking shots, he didnt track back and so on and soforth. The reason for giving up if I’d venture a guess is that being that much of a winner and seeing his troops falling apart beside him and in his inflated mind (at that point he was dead wrong) he started thinking they weren’t good enough to win it (which some of his statements in the press after will show) and little by little he stopped trying. Why bother if you are to lose out in the end anyway? Goes without saying that having a leader, a captain. a capi with an attitude like that will infect and effect and affect the team spirit. It will effect the work every player puts in. If they see their captain not bothering not giving his all they won’t either. Gallas will only show up when he has something to prove. Like in the big games or when he has been heavily criticized. That’s the root of all evil really this season. The reason for our inconsistency. Way more so than the players I named above arent first rate. Way more so than us missing Flamini, Hleb and Rosicky. That’s plain to see. Our passing game is way slower, our energy levels has lowered, we dont have as much ball retention in areas of the pitch where it counts. Our team is missing the taca in what was our brand of the barcelonastyle tica-taca football. Anyways I will stop rambling now. I hope there’s no hard feelings Frank. My call was a general call for a warmer clime of debate at this blog. It deserves it. Let’s not drag it down to a le grovian level. That would be a shame.

    A good day to all you arses!

  22. Frank says:

    Petulant?….a word used by hacks like Myles Palmer………RvP may be petulant maybe not…who is to judge….. if he is it will be like Roy Keane…Patrick Vieira….that sort of petulant….main point is the focus of the team needs to change….the whole squad needs a slightly different orientation….RvP…there is your answer…always was…..we need that f*** you attitude ….RvP…I’m telling you.

  23. Poliziano says:

    Arse21 Wenger’s most hated person.Do me a favour he is not even his most hated person on this blog.

  24. Ateeb says:

    Arese21, Wenger says things to make you happy, only to take it away during the matches. Evil, Evil Man.

    Frank I aggree about RVP. He is only 3 inches away from hitting the targets. He’s getting there. And when he does, boy, he will fly.

  25. Arse21 says:

    Sarah,

    You’re to vague. Would you mind explaining what you mean in great detail?

  26. Arse21 says:

    Ateeb,

    Then he’ll break his left ear and be out for six months

  27. Frank says:

    It is not just about hitting the target, Ateeb..it is also the rest of his game….for example he was MotM against the Spuds..not just for scoring but with crosses, passes, marking…..the old ‘too left footed’ mantra is a very familiar refrain from right handed/footed people…it always looks starange when they see players using their left foot…so they interpret it as ‘too left footed’…in fact RvP can and does use his right foot better than most right footed players can use their left foot….get off the band wagon, AIC….stretch your mind a bit.

    Sarah….you’ve been had, son

  28. sarah says:

    Har har har. For you darling anytime. May I compliment you on your acute use of irony. It left me simply bedazzled!!

  29. Ateeb says:

    Arse21 show some respect to the lady. And I think she was quite clear. She is saying that only Clichy, Sagna, and Cesc should be in the squad. And rest of the players be auctioned this january.
    And from the money we get, we go shoping around the world for bigger players, on Abrahimovich’s yacht. She couldn’t have put it better. Arse21 you’re slow and dumb.

    And no RVP is getting his ears surgically removed, so that he never breaks them.

  30. Ateeb says:

    Frank I aggree about the left footed/right footed analysis. I also think he’s got a really good right foot. People complain that he lacks team play, but I think his link up play is amazing. And more importantly, he believes in himself, and is one of the few players we have, who can change the game on their own. Sure, he hasn’t been able to do that more often but he’s getting there. It’s lovely to see him dribble past defenders, and take a thunderbolt shot at the goal. If only he would stop missing by 3 inches. How many times has he rattled the post and the bar. Amazing free kicks.

  31. Poliziano says:

    Have we sorted out Wenger’s shopping list for the January transfer window?

    Hyypia and Maladini at centre back. We’re keeping Clichy and Sagna, so that’s our defense.

    In midfield, we already have Fabregas. Kompany is obviously essential. We also want Niko Kranjcar to play on the left. Do we have anyone in mind for the right wing?

    In attack, we need Agbonlahor. If think YW himself said that Gabby would bring an improvement to the squad. So we just need to think of one more striker.

  32. Frank says:

    …who do you think, Poliziano….Johan Cruyff maybe?…he’s good isn’t he?….read about him….saw him at the Grove couple of years ago….

  33. shango says:

    The abject negativity amongst football fans is unbelievable.
    I had the benefit of not watching the game a second time last night.
    I believe that credit should be given to the team if not for anything for effort. It is all to easy to be a critic when times are hard.
    What supprised me was the praise Villa got. Ok, they one good luck to them. But with the kind of tactics employed on saturday, I cannot see them ever breaking into the top 6 let alone the top 4.
    For all of the second half they defended so deep that our central defenders had to stay in there own half.
    The season is long, our chances of winning the league is a very slim. A lot can still happen and we can still win something.
    If the current negative climate persists, I doubt if we will win anything.

    Keep the fate people, we must support the club especially through the tough times.

  34. shango says:

    correction: I did watch the game a second time

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