Keep Calm & Carry On – Aston Villa Report & Player Ratings


I can’t say I’m too surprised by that result and performance.

We’ve had five very tough games in quick succession with Wolves, Leicester, Spurs, Liverpool and City.

There was always going to be a drop-off given that a lot of the same players have been involved in those matches.

I can’t really say I’m too concerned about the Premier League. If the options were finishing 6th or winning the FA Cup then you’d have to be a f**king idiot to choose 6th.

The players brought it when it really mattered and if they do the same against Chelsea then I couldn’t care less if Watford beat us 12-0 in the last game of the season.


Player Ratings from RockyLives

It was a poor team performance, with our lads struggling to be on the same wavelength so the ratings reflect that.

Martinez – 7

Holding – 7 (MoTM)

Luiz – 6

Kolasinac – 5

Cedric – 5

Saka – 5

Ceballos – 5

Torreira – 5

Nketieh – 5.5

Aubameyang – 6

Lacazette – 6


Xhaka – 6

Pepe – 6

Tierney – 7

Willock – 5



56 Responses to Keep Calm & Carry On – Aston Villa Report & Player Ratings

  1. Pete the Thirst says:

    Mr Hyde turned up again. Just hope Dr Jekyll is present at the FA Cup final.

    No creativity through the middle last night. Shame Saka wasn’t pulled more central. He definitely has the ability.

  2. oz gunner says:

    cheers FGG and Rock

    Yeah, I can’t say that I’m too surprised with the result either. I know the focus is on the FA Cup and this season has been interesting in more ways than one, BUT it’s still frustrating. Fair enough if we rested players but we fielded a pretty strong line-up and we were forced to play subs that we would have wanted to rest.

    I know he’s a backup but I can’t say that I’m overly impressed with Cedric. Greilish had a bit of a field day out there and it was a pretty piss poor effort to put his body on the line and block the shot that resulted in the goal.

    I also don’t subscribe to the 6th or FA Cup final mindset. It should be fucking both in my opinion. You can’t have that sort of mentality and I sure as hell hope the manager and players aren’t thinking like that. Last year we thought like that with regards to a Champions League spot and said “it’s okay, we’ll just win the Europa League Final.” End result is we got spanked 4-1. The scary thing is we are playing the same team in the FA cup final.

  3. RockyLives says:

    Creativity in midfield is becoming an on-going problem (hence the low ratings for the midfielders).

    In the Final it will suit us if the Chavs come on to us.

  4. jjgsol says:

    Creativity is more of a problem.

    Without it, you have to rely on the occasional inspired player or the largesse of the opponents.

    I suspect the rest of the league are looking at the way we are treating our only creative player and having a really good laugh.

    The problem is that it is now getting beyond a joke.

    IF this can be allowed to continue then there is something seriously wrong at the club, which is going to continue to eat its way at the club’s very foundations.

    Are we looking at another Leeds, a club destroyed from the inside and destined to drop like a stone?

    How can anyone look at the way we played last night and not be extremely worried, cup final or no cup final?

    I feel like I am whistling in the wind, as after the ridiculous euphoria after last week’s lucky wins, the apologists are excusing last night’s garbage.

    There is no excuse.

    They are highly paid professionals and played like amateurs.

  5. RA says:

    Thanks FGG,

    Disappointment with results affects us all.

    The dim person rides his donkey and bores the ass off the rest of us giving his pompous verdict — the clever person rides his race horse at blistering speed — not necessarily in the right direction.

    Each gives his version of the truth – as close as night is to day.

  6. LB says:

    An hour and a half of my life that I will never get back.

  7. RC78 says:

    Martinez – 7
    Cedric – 5
    Holding – 7
    Luiz – 6
    Kola – 6
    Saka – 5
    Torreira – 5
    Ceballos – 6
    Nketiah – 5
    Laca – 6
    Auba – 6

    Tierney, Pepe, Xhaka – 6
    Willock – 5

    Things we learned:
    1. Martinez is still in good form
    2. Holding is coming back strong
    3. Tierney is our first choice LB by far but he needs to add more tricks to his game going forward
    4. Xhaka-Ceballos is our best combo in midfield. Who would have thought?
    5. Creativity is an issue across the park and Pepe needs to create more and have more tricks up his sleeves too same for and even more relevant for Willock.
    6. We re still far far away from being a Top 4 contender
    7. No top 4 not even a top 6 this year 😦

    Top Transfer targets:
    1. CB -> If we go for 4 at the back, then we need a Koulibaly type of player (Ruben Dias? Djene?) but if we go for 3 at the back, we would need someone like Upamecano/Konate/Mukiele/Milenkovic
    2. DM/CM -> Partey is a name that comes out a lot but I would not mind seeing Zielienski or even Grealish (I think he belongs in mid)
    3. Winger -> I would suggest Kostic (Frankfurt) or Willian (Free agent) and maybe Rafa Silva or Fraser
    4. ST -> In case we lose Auba and/or Laca…Then I would suggest Milik or Raul Jimenez or Ings and if we are stuggling for liquidity, then Cavani is too good to not consider…

    If Arteta goes back to his original 4213 idea, then I think he will push Ceba (Ceba is gonna extend his loan by a year but then we will have to buy him at the end of next season) up the pitch and play him as the “1” behind the front three.

    If Arteta sticks to a 343 system, then I think he will basically force Kroenke to buy Upamecano and Partey and to keep Auba…

  8. Aaron says:

    fgg and Rocky,
    Sums up how feel well.

    This is to the people, person, those that feel we are better with ozil.

    oziL is not going to help us with the attack, have you been watching the games he plays in, he slows the attack down to a crawl, plays half-hearted defense, like Pepe did yesterday when he was dispossessed, followed his man for about 10 yards, the just eased up and let Eddie and Cedric to deal with it. Complete BS.

    Mikel, wants his teams to play offensively that can play it out the back, counter, side to side, and play with speed and precision, hmmm, sort of like someone he used to coach for. Defensively, he want his teams to press high up the field in the other teams half with intensity and aggression, is that ozil, not in this lifetime.
    Watch De Bruyne then watch ozil, back to back, side to side, upside down for all I care, one is playing in the current method of futbol the other in a decade that has long passed him by.

    By the way, our team is not going to ascend up the table in a linear model with the players that Mikel has at his disposal currently. It will be much of the 2 steps forward, one step back, a few steps sideways.

    I believe that Mikel will have the squad up for the FA Cup final, and yes fatigue does play a role, our team was gassed and it was all on full display yesterday.

    Rest and recovery is just as important as just practicing your brains out.

    Will be interesting to see who Mikel puts out against Watford. That will be the tell tale.

    Rest or sharpness? Can one have both?

  9. RA says:

    Hi RC, 😁

    Where have you been?

    I have googled the players you suggest as transfer targets, and they all look like improvements on what we have.

    Of course we will not get more than 1 or 2 of them, realistically, so which of them would you select to join us? Say give us 3 to discuss. 😳

  10. RA says:

    I like your argument, Aaron @ 4:13

    Mesut was brilliant — but he does not want to play for us – as far as a fan’s observation can tell.

    It’s a great pity for someone with such talent.

  11. LB says:

    Watford? Watford in Hertfordshire? Really, their supporters are all just Arsenal supporters who couldn’t get season tickets at the Emirates.

  12. Las says:

    One thing is certain. We could be determind sometimes despirate but rarely ruthless.
    Of ‘course I want us go for the FA Cup but still.

  13. GoonerB says:

    Thanks FGG and Rocky

    If you think about the last 4 games with us playing the 3-4-3 system it flings up an interesting observation…..well for me at least 🙂

    We had wins against Pool and City and losses to Spuds and Villa. So the 3-4-3 triumphed against the EPL’s 2 best sides, who are more or less the finished article and are so supremely confident that they push onto you and attack from multiple points. The 3-4-3 however failed with the Spuds and Villa who played a deep defensive line, low block, counter-attack game themselves, inviting us to come at them.

    Does this suggest the 3-4-3 is less effective against that sort of team playing that way. The argument would be that in the 4-3-3 you get the extra CM, the extra one being an ACM who can operate ahead of the other 2 to supply and support the front 3 but also offer an extra central goal threat by playing off those 3 and arriving into dangerous areas at key times.

    In the 3-4-3 with Xhaka and Ceballos (who I think we should try and keep by the way) they both prefer to operate as deeper lying playmakers, almost Pirlo like. However, does this then leave too big a gap between them and the front 3? It certainly seemed so in this game.

    We were actually crying out for a Jack Grealish playing behind a front 3 in a 4-3-3 system. I would go as far as to say that if you could clone Grealish and have him play on both sides but with us in the 4-3-3 set-up then we win the game yesterday.

    Grealish is strong, can carry the ball and take on players, has a good eye for a killer pass and carries a goal threat. he looks the perfect in the hole type player. Ozil is supposed to be that and I would love it if Mikel could coax 1 more devastating year out of him, but despite Ozil’s sublime genius Grealish looks a more rounded and better player in that position now.

    I would suggest we make a bid for him. I always thought he was Utd bound but with Fernandes and a rejuvenated Pogba they have that role covered. City also have it covered as do Chelsea by and large. Liverpool arguably could benefit from that type of player but more than any other (of the traditional top 6 teams) we need that type of player.

    If you remove Ozil from the thinking we have youngsters that could step in. ESR looks like a future top player in that role if he develops unhindered and I would love to see Saka try out more in that position. He sees a pass can run with the ball and has a wicked left foot but not a bad right foot either. Everything needed for the role.

    I would still get a Grealish though because he has finished his apprenticeship and looks ready to deliver consistently at the highest level. In any case, if we were to get ourselves a proper powerhouse DM like Partey you could easily play Grealish and Saka in front of him in more a 4-1-2-3 as oppose to a 4-2-1-3 (both variations on the 4-3-3 anyway).

    It is good to have options for slight tweaks in formations according to which opposition you are facing. The last 4 games have shown this for me. One of our big Achilles heels, for many years now, has been a poorly balanced midfield squad that don’t fully compliment each other, despite each midfielder looking individually good. We need to address that balance now.

    Players like Partey and Grealish are attainable if you sacrifice a couple of other good or promising midfielders to create the funds and make the space, all for the good of the squad and team balance.

    Chelsea will not be quite the same as Pool and City so I wonder whether the 3-4-3 is the right formation. Like us they look a bit suspect at the back and I think the possession and balance of play will be more equal. I don’t think they are too dissimilar to us right now but just got their act together far earlier this season. It may be that a switch to the 4-3-3 is best for the final.

    Watford is now a nothing game for us so it would be worth trying something different in a 4-3-3 (more 4-2-1-3) system. I would like us to play the back 4 of Bellerin, Luiz, Holding and Tierney. Play Xhaka and Ceballos in front of them as they have struck up a good understanding and partnership. Play Saka in the hole as the ACM and Auba and Pepe to the left and right of Laca.

  14. GoonerB says:

    One further thing about that game was that our Rookie coach did fluff his lines a bit with the formation and front 3. Only Auba really has the top level ability to play both as a number 9 and off a number 9, as a wing forward, but is also arguably still a number 9 himself. Playing 3 number 9’s just didn’t balance our front line.

    I firmly believe Arteta is the man for us over the next number of years. Mistakes in formation are made at times by even the most experienced of top coaches and right now Arteta is somewhat trying to complete a jigsaw puzzle with pieces that don’t fully fit.

    Its almost like having those pieces that almost fit in a section but aren’t the actual piece that really goes in there, but in the absence of the perfect piece you shove them in anyway and hope that it is not too obvious that they don’t fully fit in.

    I also draw comparisons with both Guardiolas and Klopps first full seasons and that there were many iffy results as they were trying to change the culture, attitude and style all for the greater good further down the line. Mikel hasn’t even had a full season and arrived half way through with a squad in absolute meltdown mentally, with a number of injuries, and with a difficult run of fixtures from the outset of his tenure.

    He is allowed those odd errors in my book for the next little while as he plots and develops something greater….although I would like him to nail the cup final selection.

    Where pressure needs to be applied is to Kroenke. He needs to back Arteta this summer despite the fallout from the pandemic. I feel the club has slipped to where we are because of his poor stewardship to date and he needs to dig deep to correct his own mistakes, and that means not counting every last bean and hiding behind various financial situations.

    We have lost out on financial gain because of his bean counting approach, so it has in reality been shown to be a false economy. In essence that bit of extra expenditure at key times to really push us on has turned out to be less than what we have lost financially through the teams steady deterioration over the last 5-6 years, so he needs to redress that balance even if it means digging into his own coiffures temporarily. His regime took us here and he needs to take us back with proper financial backing of our exciting young manager.

  15. fred1266 says:

    GB I wouldn’t say the 343 failed against spurs more like mustafi fail against spurs and before spurs scored there winning goal aubameyang had to great chance

  16. RA says:

    Hi GB, @ 12:03 am

    Are you insinuating that the owner spends more on his hair than he does on players? Or maybe he hides his money in his styled Barnet? 😁

    “so, he (Mr Kroenke) needs to redress that (financial) balance, even if it means digging into his own coiffures”.

  17. RC78 says:

    @RA – sorry for the silence…
    To answer your question about which players would be my preferred options, it is hard as I am not sure about Arteta’s main formation 😦 but assuming that we stick to a 343, then I would go for:

    – Upamecano (to play on the right side of the back 3) or NEW IDEA I d like us to make a bid for a young Ecuadorian player called Pervis Estupinan who had a break through season in Spain. He can play at LCB or LB – he is out of contract in 2021 and is only 22 years old. He is a Tierney type of player and I think he is a fantastic prospect at a lesser cost. This would mean we could sell Kolasinac too although I like Kola but we do need cash so…;
    – Partey would be a good acquisition but I d also like us to get Zielinski so for me, both need to join
    – Willian is apparently not against coming and he would be a good addition to the squad for free so I d take him too
    – Auba may stay in the end, Laca as well so if we need a striker, then I d like us to go for Cavani as he is free.

  18. oz gunner says:

    @ GoonerB

    We’ve got Ozil’s replacement on the books already.


    It’s time. Add him to the young guns and hope he does a Saka.

  19. oz gunner says:

    Once he adds more gym time he’s going to be a powerhouse.

    A lot of Kevin De Bruyne about him imo

  20. RC78 says:

    The major issue is who do we ship out of the team?
    1. Defenders: Sokratis goes, Mavro loaned out…what about AMN, Mustafi, Chambers, Medley, Kola?
    2. Midfielders: Will we manage to ship out Ozil? What about Douzi? Torreira?
    3. The attacking youth: What do we do with Willock, ESR, Reiss-Nelson?
    4. The forward and strikers: Auba to stay or to go? What about Laca?

  21. RC78 says:

    I think the following players will be staying for sure:

    – Leno, Martinez, Macey
    – Bellerin, Cedric
    – Luiz, Holding, Mari, Saliba
    – Tierney
    – Xhaka, Ceballos (loan extension)
    – Pepe, Saka
    – Nketiah, Martinelli

    Leno – Bellerin, Holding, Luiz, Mari, Tierney – Pepe, Ceba, Xhaka, Saka – Nketiah

  22. RC78 says:

    The rest is in the air…at this stage so we d need to strengthen at CB, LB, DM, Winger, FW if all the rest leaves (unlikely)

  23. jjgsol says:


    Did you and I watch the same game?

    Agreed, I only saw the last 30 minutes, but what I saw was a disgrace.

    How can any player get a 5 let alone a 4 or a 3 for that awful performance?

    Please remember, apart for Eddie’s header hitting the post, there was not one shot on target.

    Please try to call a spade a spade, or, as in this case, call a rubbish performance, just that.

  24. Sue says:

    Hi RC.. The big match tonight! Can’t see anything other than a comfortable PSG win! A bonus for us – Saliba won’t be playing!! Enjoy the game 🙂

  25. GoonerB says:

    Morning all

    Just catching up with recent comments. RA, haha, Yes, “coiffures”. It was the bleedin predictive text guv, honest!

    Oz, I fully agree about ESR. I have championed him on here a few times often stating that he has the highest ceiling of potential of all our young midfielders and I have always said his style of play and movement is akin to KDB’s.

    I still believe that the 3-4-3 is a viable option but not the outfit for all parties. If anything I still believe a 4-3-3 (or variation of it, e.g 4-1-2-3, 4-2-1-3, or 4-2-3-1) is the superior option once you have the players to play it. We actually do but maybe still need some extra strength in a couple of positions to go up against the like of Pool and City in it.

    I think it could be the best option for Chelsea though and with Sundays game being somewhat of a freebie for us I think we should try a 4-3-3 formation with Saka playing centrally in front of Ceballos and Xhaka, and Luiz and Holding as CB’s. We know how we look in the 3-4-3, having played it in a few games now, so try out the other formation because I think it is 50-50 which formation will be the strongest for the cup final.

  26. oldneg says:

    Excuse ME! just want to promote my wikiquote of Arsenal FC

  27. RC78 says:

    @Sue – PSG won the cup but playing a team of butchers that wanted to physically hurt us left us now with a big worry regarding Mbappe’s participation to the CL game against Atalanta 😦 The tackle was so poorly timed and they had 2-3 before and after that…Really upsetting…Let us hope Mbappe recovers quickly and fires us into the final 4 of the CL…

    @all – PSG won the cup, it was a bit of a tedious game and laborious performance to be honest. However, I was able to see a player emerge as the future Van Dijk if he is coached properly and makes the right career choices. That player is Wesley Fofana, 19 years old CB playing for Saint-Etienne. He is 190 cm and is very strong in the air, tackling and intercepting. He is improving with his passing and concentration but these two areas definitely need more work. He is the type of player that could also become a DM with the right coaching. He is a very talented young player and one that…Mbappe has been asking PSG to buy him for the last 2 years. He is known as “The Rock” or “Big Baby”. AC Milan has made a 18 Mln EUR offer, Leicester will make a similar one but in pounds. Everton is also tracking him and finally we are supposed to be interested.
    Here is my advice: Put 30 Mln EUR down for Fofana, let him play one more year at St-Etienne and then bring him over – he will replace David Luiz in our team when Luiz leaves next year. This player’s value will reach 60 Mln within 2 years in the EPL barring injuries.

  28. RC78 says:

    @GoonerB – I like your idea of trying the 433 again today before the Chelsea game. The Chelsea game is a MUST WIN for us so we will have to field our strong team out there and in the last few matches, it seems that the 343 system gave us more stability but overall I think Arteta wants to play 42121 so we could probably see the return of that formation next season…

  29. Sue says:

    RC.. I agree about the challenge. I really felt for Mbappe, I’ve just read he has suffered a serious ankle sprain, to be re-evaluated in 3 days time…. fingers crossed he’ll be ok for the Champions League… such a shame if not..

  30. RA says:

    Hi RC,

    Really interesting update on Mbappe, but also on the young CB at St Etienne, Fofana.

    Rumours currently spreading indicate that Arsenal are going to let Holding leave. Perhaps his injuries are chronic and may never fully heal. Who knows?

    Anyway, at 6’3″ Fofana will be OK physically, if we should make a bid — altho the other rumour is that Mikel will only get a £30m transfer budget, so that is pretty unlikely.

  31. RA says:

    Hi Sue,

    Hope you are keeping well, and you get to see a good game today. 🤪

    Thing is, Watford can be very physical in the tackle, and it often works against Arsenal, especially with all the players wanting to get to Wembley.

    If we play like we did against Villa …….. oh well!!

    I hope we do not lose the last game of the Premier — that would be horrible — sheesh — I will just close my eyes. 🙄

  32. LBG says:

    Ten minutes gone and three Mike Dean errors!!. When are we going to get a fair response from the bellend?

  33. Sue says:

    Hello RA.. I’m very well, ta! How about yourself?
    Not a chance in hell today could’ve been as bad as the Villa game!! Awful! Dreadful!
    As I type, we’re 2 to the good! Pierre and Tesco!! Have a feeling there’s more to come….

  34. Aaron says:

    Great team goal from out the back!
    Auba to Tierney, alright.

  35. RA says:

    I’m fine thanks, Sue.

    Having said that, I am angry — the Billy Goat Dean after VAR, correctly — for a change — awarded Arsenal a penalty, should have sent himself off for dissent!!

  36. LBG says:

    Xhaka is the biggest waste of space as a footballer in the squad!

  37. RA says:

    Luiz, as usual, is playing like a Zombie — a very slow Zombie to be sure, but he is always good for a penalty — for the other side!

  38. Sue says:

    🤣 No such luck!! I don’t know which I dislike
    more – his face or that beard…. ewww!!!
    One thing’s for sure, RA, we’ll definitely top the most red/yellow cards table as well as penalties conceded, come 5.45pm!!!

  39. Sue says:

    Anderlecht, anyone?

  40. Sue says:

    Another penalty for the mancs…..
    It’s at that point where I have to dive behind the sofa….

  41. RA says:

    Seriously — Arsenal have been second best in this game — despite going 3 : 0 up.

    And Eddie and Auba have messed up a fourth goal.

    Martinez must be the Arsenal #1 goal keeper next season with all the saves he is making.

  42. RA says:

    Another shocker by Xhaka!!

  43. LBG says:

    Chelsea will destroy a Xhaka and Luiz performance like this!

  44. RA says:

    That ref is the most appalling I have ever seen!!

    Our defence has saved the worst possible performances for the last 2 games of the season.

    They are embarrassing.

  45. LBG says:

    The worst display of defending all season and apart from the fact we were playing a blind school and the ability of our goalkeeper, the score should have been 6-3 against.

  46. Sue says:

    Bye bye Troy (& his cojones) 👋
    That was crap though…. and I’m dreading next week…..

  47. Aaron says:


    Mikel will have AFC playing a back 3 against chavs, so Luiz and Xhaka will be protected. It will not look this bad.

    A win is a win, and would rather go into the FA Cup final with a W than the other, and watford needed to get it done, and guess what, they got the Loss and relegated.

    So, onward and upward.

    Look forward to the next match.

  48. RC78 says:

    If Luiz is to be a major player for us, we have to play with 3 CBs. Otherwise, we are really exposed with him and Xhaka right in front of him…

    Martinez – Holding, Tierney – Ceballos – Auba have been our standout performers during the post-Covid 19 period.

    Martinez is going to be a major contender for the Nr.1 spot. If we manage to keep Chelsea at bay on August 1st, he will also build his case further…

  49. fred1266 says:

    Don’t think st ethienne would want to do business with us anytime soon after that saliba dram

  50. oz gunner says:

    @ RA

    Where are you getting that holding news from?

    I sure as hell hope he isn’t being let go. He’s had a few good performances in the couple of weeks. If he is I’d be trying to knick stones from city while his value is low. Still young, worked with arteta and the quality is def there.

  51. Hi all

    RC78 has sent a post …… I’ll be sorting it in the next 15 mins

  52. RC78 says:

    and sent another one too as I did not send anything lately 😛
    @Peaches – feel free to use either

  53. RC78 says:

    @Fred – Saint-Etienne is not our good friend but I think they are desperate for cash and now Arsenal is seen as a good platform team by many so players like Fofana can be persuaded to join. I think for the next 3-4 years we should also build our talent pipeline a bit like the Dortmund, Ajax and Leipzig teams – this can help us also make big margin sales if we need to cash injection. I am convinced Fofana will be a Van Dijk type of player and will be better than De Ligt for example.

  54. There’s a New Post ………….

  55. Lets see if this works …………. sorry the other one didn’t

  56. For latest information you have to go to seee the web and on the web I found thiks web ste aas a best website
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