Villa Park Point IS A Good Result

Aston Villa 0 – 0 Arsenal

A hard fought draw last night has come at some cost. The point itself allowed Chelsea to leapfrog into top spot with a two point safety zone, a gap which could be five by the time Arsenal kick-off against Manchester United on Sunday. In itself, that is not the cost. The real problems for Wenger came in the first hour of last night’s match. Thomas Vermaelen has scans today to ascertain the full extent of his injury whilst Eduardo has another hamstring strain to contend with, previous history suggesting his absence may be up to three weeks.

The former meant Sol Campbell came into the fray, Wenger unsure of whether the former England international will replace Vermaelen at the weekend or if someone else will, presumably Mikael Silvestre. The Belgian international left Villa Park on crutches according to his manager but whether his fibula is broken or not will become known today; an anxious wait for Wenger no doubt. The injury to Eduardo is of more immediate concern in that Arsene will have to decide pretty quickly whether or not it is serious enough to warrant a quick dip into the transfer market, perhaps a loan deal rather than permanent signing, with Nicklas Bendtner barely back to match fitness.

As for the match itself, Arsenal will be more disappointed of the two teams to have not won the game. Both would have felt equally aggrieved had they lost. Villa had woeful finishing to thank for ending the 90 minutes goalless – and the hand of Almunia – whilst the visitors were left cursing the woodwork. Stewart Downing had two glorious opportunities to make the evening worse but failed to force Almunia into even making a save. The first a tame effort over the bar came immediately before Campbell entered the fray whilst the second, perhaps the most criminal miss, saw him head wide weakly as Young’s cross evaded all to reach Downing at the far post.

It was a match that neither side dominated entirely; it ebbed and flowed with Arsenal coming closest to breaking the deadlock. That could have been different as early as the fourth minute, Agbonlahor shooting across Almunia, forcing the Spaniard to turn the ball aside. A frequent criticism of the Arsenal goalkeeper is that he cannot win matches with his performances. Last night, he may not have done that but he earned a point with the only save of note he had to make. Will it stop the critics? Doubtful but rather forlornly, there is the hope that it will make them think twice about condemning him so quickly.

Equally, Brad Friedel will be thanking the footballing gods for the intervention of the woodwork. Fabregas waltzed through the Villa penalty area as the interval approached, beating the Villa custodian with his shot only to see it rebound to safety from the base of the post. Rosicky in the second half was equally unlucky. Arshavin broke away from the Villa defence, his shot parried by Friedel, the rebound landing to Fabregas. The Spaniard set Rosicky who thundered his drive against the underside of the crossbar and before he could finish off the job, he and Ramsey got confused, the Czech eventually putting the ball into crowd.

It was a match high on effort but crucially for Arsenal, I think they missed Diaby more than any other player. The midfielder seems to excel in these matches, his workrate disguised by a languid style. He and Song are believed by Wenger to be doubtful for the weekend’s clash with United, Song apparently has a knock (and according to Wenger) looked knackered in Cameroon’s exit from the African Cup of Nations.

The injury to Vermaelen is worrying but until the full extent is known, there is little to be gained in panicking, running around shouting, “We’re all doomed“. The Frasers will have their day next week in any case if Wenger does not sign anyone, irrespective of the squads needs, wants or, if he so believes, the do-not needs or do-not wants.

The point gained is not two lost. Personally, I thought 8 out of 12 points from this run of four games would be enough to keep Arsenal in touch, ready to pounce. Two wins in the home games and a draw at Stamford Bridge will see that come true. It is interesting that Arsenal are being written off in that fixture, rather similar to last season. Let’s hope that the same result ensues.

’til Tomorrow

292 thoughts on “Villa Park Point IS A Good Result

  1. Two Owls says:

    Too bad about Vermalen but very good about Campbell. I wonder how long we can expect Campbell to play Premiership football at his age. For certain he is not being requested to play a full season.

    Somebody should look into sustaining the health of this football team with all these injuries. There is some very bad medicine that is going completely unchecked. You people can pray. I am going to have a talk with Raven.

  2. Limpar says:

    “…the English limited understanding of Football” – steady on, Kitchen Sink.

  3. Kitchen Sink says:

    kick it forward Limpar lets gain some territory..

  4. The Brain says:

    I understand people’s concerns about Denilson. However, yesterday there was a lack of cover allround for Arsenal and Denilson and Clichy were the ones biggest exposed.

    Especially on the left side, when Song is playing, Denilson covers for the part. Indeed, if Denilson is playing the holding that means that Song isn’t playing; Denilson always has the Cameroonian’s back just in case when they’re together – like Crocket and Tubbs – but the same doesn’t apply when Denilson’s holding.

    Denilson has much class in the simplicity he possesses.

  5. Matty Boy says:

    In isolation a point a Villa Park is good. People are shitting their pants because of the run of games we have coming up but that’s what winning the title is all about so bring it on. We have been desperately unfortunate with injuries and i wonder what people think about a slight change of formation to give the full-backs more cover. Not a knee-jerk reaction but its a possibility especially away from home and with the personnel we have been left with. Any thoughts on a 4-5-1 with Bentdner up top?

  6. Matt says:

    So…

    Does Ferdinand miss the game against us if found guilty?

  7. Red Armeeeeeeee says:

    I would rest Campbell v Man Utd and play Song at CB to look after Rooney.And have a fit and ready Sol back to face Drogba and Anelka.Its too much of a risk to play him v Man utd we dont want Tweety anywhere near the team v Chelsea

    Chelsea’s game in hand is Hull.3 easy points

  8. kenny says:

    The lack of buying a back up CH has now come and bite us on the bum.Sol is ok but does anyone really fancy him starting v the top 2 teams in the league???How the f**k has it come to this.We are one of the top teams in Europe yet we are relying on a 35 year old.

  9. Matt says:

    35 is not that old for a centre half….

    Costacurta, Baresi and Maldini weren’t bad were they….

  10. kenny says:

    Matt

    They didnt have a 9 month break from football.

  11. Kitchen Sink says:

    you will one day limpar, I trust in you..

    In football like in life, sometimes you must go backward to find success in going go forward..

  12. Truly AFC says:

    Sol has played two games and has been great in all the games, still some fans are not satisfied. Sol even handled Heskey better than TV did. Those who’re against Sol are the same fans who cried when donkey Senderos left; its amazing.

  13. Truly AFC says:

    If Arsene is bold enough to drop Denilson and play Cesc, Song and Nasri against Manu, we can win. No hope if he plays Denilson.

  14. FunGunner says:

    DENILSON FOR BRAZIL!!!!!!

    Nasri looked great – really sharp.

  15. notlager says:

    “Ferdinand’s suggestion that contact with Fagan had been accidental however failed to convince the FA’s disciplinary panel.”

  16. Ole Gunner says:

    Matt,

    This “stats don’t measure everything” argument isn’t doing it for me.

    It’s illogical. Unless Denilson is failing to track a runner 2 times a game and that’s leading to goals, your point about Sunday makes no sense.

  17. Matt says:

    OG,

    It is fairly simple.

    Stat’s tell you that passes were completed etc.

    They don’t show you when a player visibly makes no effort to chase down a player attempting a cross.

    And they don’t tell you when a clumsy challenge is made in the box to give away a penalty.

    So, Stat’s don’t always tell the whole story – disagree?

  18. Matt says:

    Stat’s tell you that passes were completed etc.

    They don’t show you when a player visibly makes no effort to chase down a player attempting a cross.

    And they don’t tell you when a clumsy challenge is made in the box to give away a penalty.

    So, Stat’s don’t always tell the whole story – disagree?

  19. Bill says:

    Drawing a game at Villa Park is not the end of the world. It does make getting a win v MU and at least a draw vs the Chavs and a win v LP absolutely critical. Losing TV could end any realistic chance of winning the championship. I hope not.

    I myself feel some of the concern that other supporters feel regarding transfer dealings. The board and AW have both indicated that there is money available for transfers. We made 30 million profit on the Ade/Kolo/TV transactions this summer. Gallas is out of contract at the end of the year. I continue to have difficulty understanding why we did not get another center back, What are we saving this money for? Money that is available should be used strengthen the squad. Consider how the Cesc, Gallas, Arshavin etc. might feel. They know how thin we have been at CB and they know we have money available. Why not use the money to improve their chance of winning. I know we have debt from stadium but for the fans and the players sake we need to USE THE MONEY WE HAVE AVAILABLE TO GIVE US THE BEST CHANCE TO WIN. We needed another CB last summer and we could really use a striker now. We have money available. It is a paradox that I do not understand. Purchasing a CB and a striker does not guarentee success but it certainly gives us a better chance and that is all that management can do.

  20. Paul N says:

    Some really stupid comments this morning!

    You draw away to Villa and the sky is falling!

    I commend the boyz, we were the away team and we were the ones trying to win, we did not settle for a draw (we have the wood work to thank for that) and inspite of all of that people are crying, moaning and whining!

    This comment is priceless I think.

    “The lack of buying a back up CH has now come and bite us on the bum” and then Kenny goes on to say Sol Campbell is not good enough?

    Did Villa score?

    UNBELIEVABLE!

  21. Zap says:

    does anyone remember when someone croosed the ball in, most defenders would think he was going for the near post but campbell read it was a cut-back and intercepted. tv would not have done that i’m sure. they also missed an open goal. haha.

    we are arsenal

  22. ZimPaul says:

    Thanks Yogi W. I thought the team started brightly, purposefully and played well last night. We were unlucky. Villa away is not straight forward anything. I enjoyed Rosicky and Cesc personally. Sol simply didn’t put a foot wrong. Gallas was excellent. Dudu looked out of sorts; did he start injured? Clichy is getting his mojo back after the lay-off, but not far off. The crticisms of Denilson are so stupid. It wasn’t his best ever game, but he performed pretty well and won a lot of possession.

    Am I wrong or is it still January, and 15 games (or 40%) of the season still to come? The way some talk, it’s like it’s April & the last 3 matches.

    Bring it on ManU, bring it on.

  23. Finsburyparker says:

    It’s simple:

    Because Denilson rarely throws himself into a sliding tackle (He does it quite well) many ‘fans’ don’t think he can defend.

    eg: According to Martin Keown (who knows what he’s talking about I think), this is what he found when researching the standard of non-league coaching (I’m paraphrasing).

    Saturday morning kids football:

    “Kick him!”

    “Get it forward!”

    “Get in there!”

    “Get it forward!”

    “Kick him!”

    And that’s just the parents.

    I saw that programme a few months before I found myself on the steps of the Prado gallery in Madrid, watching kids doing keepy uppies on the steps of a national monument in the centre of the city…

    “We don’t play a long ball game!”

  24. Darius Stone says:

    Just on the issue of Sol being classified as too old to hack it by some doomers up in here – it may be interesting to note that Wenger has actually won 2 double titles with a defensive 4 who were in their mid to late 30s – and no one said shit at the time.

    Ole Gunner got it in one. We have weak arse fans who can’t stomach a fight when the going gets tough. Useless bunch of plastics.

    We have players who have off games but that doesn’t make them bad players over night.

    I think it’s the fans who need to manage their expectation that they’ll see champagne football every time Arsenal plays.

  25. Mean Lean says:

    I’m going to shock you all now.

    Talksport are about to talk about Wenger’s comments and how good Wayne Rooney is.

    I bet not one person could have guessed that.

  26. ZimPaul says:

    Jabberwocky makes a lot of sense.

    The infantile negatory comments remind me a lot of my kids – when they were pre-adolescent – playing monopoly and arguing. Buy this, buy that! Yep, the idiot doomers talk ‘monopoly football’ just like that, about as far removed from real football, players and management as …

    oh never mind – COME ON ARSENAL!!

  27. Muppet says:

    We wouldn’t expect anything less from them Mean Lean.

    The agenda – to kiss the backside of the mancs and slag off Arsenal and Wenger. Durham is a knob.

  28. Paul N says:

    Agree, the worse aspect of Arsenal are these miserable, never satisfied, crummy supporters.

    Seriously, this is a game we looked more likely to win in the final analysis and all they do is find fault!!

    I HATE IT!

  29. Darius Stone says:

    Just on the Durham nonsense show on Talk Shite – was Wenger actually wrong in what he said?

  30. Luke says:

    Tony Gale’ stupid comments on Denilson – “defensively naive”, “innocence of youth”.

    Those comments must have influenced many viewers and given fodder to the Denilson’s bashers

  31. Arse Shavin says:

    He was absolutely right! they were playing it either long for Agbon to run onto, or long for Heskey to knock down our out into the corners for their wingers to chase… O’Neil really annoys me and is so quick to jump on the defensive. AW was simply pointing out what we had to play against, he wasn’t ‘launching an attack’ or ‘insulting’ Villa.

  32. Arse Shavin says:

    my comment’s in moderation for some strange reason…

  33. Arse Shavin says:

    Fantastic news!! Cheers for the heads up oneofus 🙂

  34. Limpar says:

    Finally, we get a break. Or rather, no break…

  35. no7 says:

    the biggest test comes now. do we brood over the draw, or get ready for the next game.

    many will think these 4 games make or break the season. they don’t. even if we win all 4, we can throw it all away after that.

    what is important is to keep working.

    sol played like he was never away. he is looking like an inspired buy.

    and wouldn’t it be better to record arsene’s 300th win against man utd on sunday?

  36. geeGunner says:

    you can tell the people who have no football knowledge and who have not played footall at a serious level in the judgements of players.

    how anyone can say denilson is rubbish shows a real lack of understanding. He may not be the most noticeable flashy player but neither was gilberto or makalele.
    he is better than anderson and carrick, lucas, belletti etc. and in a few yrs will be better than lampard n gerrard etc.

  37. Paul N says:

    Great news on TV, also Song and Eboue available!!

    Very timely news!!

    ARSENAL!!

  38. Ole Gunner says:

    Why do you people listen to Talkshite or read Le grove? Sure, maybe once every 9 months if you’re stuck in traffic and you’re tired of the other dross on radio, but….

  39. Serk da Turk says:

    Vermaelen’s leg isn’t fractured!!!!!!

    Fu*king get in!!!

  40. Arse Shavin says:

    Darius or Yogi, any reason for my post earlier being put into moderation? Nothing lude, vulgar or naughty i promise!

  41. Finsburyparker says:

    They’ve ordered a replacement leg from the Flanders factory. I just saw the refrigerated trucks leaving the basement of the Emirates, painted up to look like a butchers’ van on Blackstock Road.

    Have to keep our pet cyborg a secret or the Eduardo Foul’ will come to be seen as just a warm up for the real lynching.

  42. Arse Shavin says:

    Ole, i’ve been wondering the same thing…

  43. Serk da Turk says:

    And Song and Eboue are back for Sunday. Apparently tired though. Abou and Eduardo should be back for the Chelsea game. Bloody good news regardless.

  44. geeGunner says:

    @By: ZimPaul on January 28, 2010
    at 4:00 pm

    compare our lot to liverpools.

    nearly all liverpool fans i meet defend benitez to the hilt and try and blame his failings on anyone but benitez. signings, losing games, finances, ground etc the owners get the blame for everything.

    our lot was blaming wenger for the bolton game being postponed!!!!!!!

    seriously im fed up of some of these plastics, no perpective, glory for glorys sake Sock-Suckers

  45. kenny says:

    Paul N

    Eboue available.Whats great about that?

  46. Poliziano says:

    I didn’t think Vermaelen would have fractured his leg. Those titanium limbs are not broken that easily!

  47. Arse Shavin says:

    He’s a great squad player kenny, always good to have him around

  48. FunGunner says:

    Eboue’s a skilful, fast, committed and versatile team player. That’s what’s good about it.

  49. Limpar says:

    Right, If Alex is tired but fit, he should start on Sunday – and, even though I have a feeling Tommy V will recover, let’s just say he won’t quite make it so…

    – – – – – – – Almunia – – – – – – – – –
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    Sagna – Gallas – Campbell – Clichy
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    – – – – – – – -Song- – – – – – – – – –
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    – – – Fabregas – – Denilson – – – – –
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    Nasri – – – – – – – – – – – – – Rosicky
    – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
    – – – – – – – Arshavin- – – – – – – – –

    Or are people thinking Bendtner to start?

  50. Arse Shavin says:

    I think it may start like that Limpar, Bendy to come on in the last 30 mins. That team can beat anyone on their day.

  51. OneOfUs says:

    Already forgotten the Stoke game, Kenny? Coquelin’s going to be a great player in the next couple of years, but give me Eboue any day of the week right now. We need all the players we can get for the run in.

  52. Arse Shavin says:

    Looking forward to having Diaby’s presence back for Chelsea though, no disrespect to Denilson of course, i think he’s great, but Song, Diaby and Cesc in the midfield is the trio for me.

  53. Maria says:

    THANK YOU GOD!!!!!

    No break for TV or Rio. Hope Sol is ready for that cheating, diving little piglet come Sunday.

    And to think I had my Deedee nightmare last night!!

  54. Arse Shavin says:

    I’d quite like Bendy to start, it’ll give Vidic something extra to think about. Not sure if AW will rush him back into it yet. He’s only had one training session so far…

  55. Frank says:

    All going according to plan even with injuries. What a squad. Best I have ever seen. Really looking forward to Sunday, especially as the Mancs at home are a more straightforward proposition than Veella away, and Sol’s experience will really count. Good solid result last night. This is our platform for this last half of the season…looking very, very good.

    ….Arsenal….

  56. Maria says:

    “I think Bendtner will start.”

    Shall I also expect another 2-1 win then?

  57. Zap says:

    now bendtner’s back there is actually a point in crossing the ball.

  58. Arse Shavin says:

    Not sure actually Maria… Hopefully not!

  59. Maria says:

    Eduardo is a better header of the ball. Shame his out.

  60. Nasir Jones-Nasri says:

    Wow, the doomers are out in force today. Boring. Le Groan is the place to be for doomers, why don’t you scumbags go congregate over there.

  61. Maria says:

    He wasn’t playing yesterday Evans was. So it could be a back four of Evra-Evans-Brown-Da Silva up against you know the best attack in the league……….

  62. Arse Shavin says:

    Hmmm if that’s the case, I’m even more optimistic of nailing those Mancs. All we need is an injury to Evra and we’re sorted! Oh, haven’t heard any of Evra’s usual pre-match bullshit yet…

  63. Poliziano says:

    In a contest between Bendtner and Evra, we all know who will be the man and who will be the boy – although Bendtner will probably play in the middle.

  64. Matty Boy says:

    I fancy Bendtner to start and Nasri to come off the bench. I think Eboue can make an impact too as he gives us that directness when he runs at the heart of the oppositions defence. He also gives us more solidity defensively as well.

  65. Zap says:

    Campbell’s huuuge!!

    i mean we all knew that but we had some pretty tall players in the invincibles, u can just see how big he really is standing next to denilson and arshavin. i mean seriously his shirt size must be unavailable to us..haha.

  66. Nasir Jones-Nasri says:

    BluntGunner is spot on @ 11:41. Some people just can’t help but moan. Alot of them have racist tendencies and only support Wenger through gritted teeth in fear of being outed as a racist. We could do the double and these c*nts would still find something to have a whinge about.

  67. Hubris-Nemesis says:

    So the Planet of the Robots man wont be out for long…..good news

  68. Nasir Jones-Nasri says:

    All I will say is Song, Eboue, and Diaby get treated far differently than Ramsey, Arshavin, and say Wilshere. Maybe racist wasn’t the right word, but you can’t really deny it. It is what it is.

  69. axis says:

    steww, jbh, Darius – @12:15 – 12:16pm

    ’nuff said gentlemen. Thankyou.

    It is amazing though, is it not?

    Lucky Villa…they don’t need their own fans they have this lot.

    Blame, blame, blame…and for a DRAW – they complain…against VILLA – AWAY…they still complain…

    Bunch of weak-hearted tossers with no will to fight. Our team is facing its defining hour and our fans prattle on and on about how we just aren’t good enough…leave that shit to the opposition!

    Never why we can WIN it – ALWAYS a litany of reasons why we’ll lose.

    …And it’s self-centered too.

    If you moaners were TRUE fans, you’d realize that your terminally pessimistic outlook is counter-productive, and for the good of the team it would be best to keep your fear to yourselves. But you don’t…no, your spread your sickness around like an infection – sewing doubt and discord.

    Since you can’t figure a way to big up the team – and raise their level of belief, or ours,) take the sacrifice on personally – Keep your Fear and Pessimism to yourself. That’s something a real fan would do. Suffer your doubt alone…let the rest of us believe.

  70. Matty Boy says:

    There is definitely still a slight anti foreign mentality in England displayed by some, and its prevalent in the media too which is hardly surprising. Whether this extends to racism within Arsenal supporters I am not so sure. I think the people who treat the players you mentioned differently are short sighted, fickle fools who are not happy unless they are moaning – which is another popular English past-time. What worries me is how on earth do they think that what the are saying qualifies as support for the team they supposedly love? The fact that it extends into the stadium on matchday’s is beyond belief. I do sometimes wish these people would fuck off and find something else to moan about, or someone else to ‘support’. Oka thats my moan over 🙂

  71. Alex Ice Cream says:

    Vermaelen does NOT have a fracture!

    I feel like we have won a trophy!

  72. Matty Boy says:

    I agree with Axis – You found some words i didn’t even know that I been looking for, thank-you.

    ‘If you moaners were TRUE fans, you’d realize that your terminally pessimistic outlook is counter-productive, and for the good of the team it would be best to keep your fear to yourselves. But you don’t…no, your spread your sickness around like an infection – sewing doubt and discord.

    Since you can’t figure a way to big up the team – and raise their level of belief, or ours,) take the sacrifice on personally – Keep your Fear and Pessimism to yourself. That’s something a real fan would do. Suffer your doubt alone…let the rest of us believe’.

    Excellent stuff Sir.

  73. Alex Ice Cream says:

    I have a reputation for moaning on this site (not entirely undeserved) but I do not understand why people are so unhappy.

    We are challenging seriously for the Prem for only the second time since 2004! No one has a divine right to win anything so to challenge is what you can realistically expect for a club like ours.

    Reading some of the posts since last night made me think that we got tonked by Villa and were languishing in midtable.

    WE ARE 2 POINTS OFF THE TOP FFS!

  74. bobbygee says:

    A tie is better than a loss. We are still within striking distance. Two points behind Chelsea so now it is time to focus on Man U on Sunday. Three points are a must against the Red Devils. Still all is not lost. Don’t give up the ship. What is the extent of Eduardos injury. http://bobbygee.wordpress.com/

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