A dominant first half and an overall resilient performance: Arsenal wins at Villa

Arsenal absolutely dominated Villa in the first half on Saturday. Dominating in the midfield, creating chances, playing good football and nullifying Villa’s attacking threat. It was definitely a big first half from our team and we did get a well-deserved goal from our own Saka, who just terrorized Villa until he was subbed off.

The second half should have seen us score a second but clearly Villa came back with more purpose, intent and physicality and when we did have good opportunities to put the game away, Saka and Laca chose the wrong option instead of laying a good ball to Ode who was in a better position to score…That inability to score the second goal put us under pressure and Watkins nearly scored on a deflected shot and in the last moment of the game, Leno provided a good save to keep the clean sheet.

We showed resilience and team spirit and it is nice to see the team celebrate after such a win – it means they care about winning and they care about our club whether Young likes it or not. Ashley Young should have been sent off by the way – his tackles on Saka were just awful to watch. What a F…..G idiot!

So here are the ratings (feel free to disagree)

Leno – 7, a good save at the end but overall, he did not reassure me

Cedric – 6, another day at the office

White – 7, good game.

Gabs – 7.5, our rock

Tiereney – 7, good game overall but needs to rediscover his crossing effectiveness

Partey – 8.5, what a great first half. One of his best performances for us – is he the new Vieira or the new G.Silva? Not sure yet but he is putting together a good string of performances. I hope he remains fit.

Xhaka – 6.5, a disciplined display but should do a bit better when he has the ball.

Saka – 9, what a game! The guy was unstoppable yesterday

Ode – 7.5, had a good display and was unlucky not to be served by his partners when in a good position to score.

ESR – 7, willing and trying but not decisive. Nice to see him start though.

Laca – 7, same as ESR and what a hard worker he is! Should have done better in the second half when Ode was ready to score…

Arteta: 7.

Subs: No rating but Pepe and Nketiah did not help their cause…

COYG! The games against Chelsea and Tottenham are going to be huge for the Top 4 finish. Beat Chelsea, and you can dream of Top 3 but lose to Chelsea and/or Tottenham and the 4th place may even slip from our grasp…

We gotta hope that Tomy comes back soon, that Leno does not fudge up, that Gabs-White-Partey-Xhaka do not get injured and that Saka, Ode, Martinelli – Laca do not tire too much…

Our starting XI can compete but our bench may be a bit thin…

21 Responses to A dominant first half and an overall resilient performance: Arsenal wins at Villa

  1. RC78 says:

    Meanwhile Guendouzi and Saliba are in the French squad and so is Giroud. Guendouzi from the on-set, Saliba as a replacement to Pavard and Giroud as a replacement to Benzema.

    Aubameyang scored a double again for Barcelona yesterday but against Real Madrid. He is back to his normal self – maybe he just needed another challenge and some change of scenery. I think he will convince Dembele to stay on, shame as I d like Dembele to come to PSG 😛

  2. RC78 says:

    Villa plotting 71 Mln EUR move for K. Philips – I hope we also make a bid for him. I think Partey-Philips or Partey-Rice would be a very tough midfield to beat…

  3. pbarany says:

    I think Arsenal wants to take the piss against Aston Villa. The Kalvin Philips rumor could be also related, but our gossiped move for Coutinho must be some inside joke or messing with Villa, otherwise it’s a total madness.

    As for Dembele, even though his form is improving recently I don’t see him staying at the Nou Camp. They have Ferran Torres for RW as well as an option to buy Traore for a reasonable price, and I just don’t think Barcelona would need a third A-class player for the same position. PSG would make a good deal with Dembele.

  4. RC78 says:

    Coutinho is not a bad player at all but would he come to replace Lacazette? We already have Ode and ESR to play in the hole and we have Martinelli on the left wing…

    I agree with you that Dembele would be a good acquisition for PSG but apparently, he is keen to stay there together with Auba. Xavi would then have Torres, Fati, Traore and Dembele as his wingers/attacking midfielders and then Auba + 1 other CF (Depay may leave…) so he has got his work cut out up front and then in the middle, he is also secure with De Jong, Busquets, Pedri (or Gavi)…

    Ultimately, he just needs to upgrade his defense and Barcelona would be challenging again…

    Ter Stegen – ?, ?, ?, Alba – De Jong, Busquets, Pedri – Dembele, Auba, Torres

  5. Mike M says:

    Probably only disagree with Cedric, I’d give him a 7. Thought he did well especially towards the end with Pepe ahead of him. We did what we had to do. If I’m being a little negative, I’d say a better team would have punished us. I only say that with games at Chavs, Spuds, Newcastle and Palace away to come. Broja at Soton could also pose us some problems. It would be nice to score the second goal (or in the case of the Liverpool game, the first !!) but I still have to go back to what poor shape we seemed to be in after the first 3 games, then the Everton defeat, yet each time we seem to respond. Let’s also face it, whatever Auba is doing at Barca is probably more to do with their style of play and experienced players in key positions that us. I don’t think for one second he could have done it for us. So we’re still playing without a goal scoring striker, maybe we should accept these games will be a grind. We’re in for a tuf time to finish 4th given Spuds run in, but I have faith in this group to at least give it a go.
    Let’s continue to get behind them !!!!!!!!!!

  6. RC78 says:

    Hi Mike – Cedric is always a tough one to grade…I miss Tomy though…We have found attacking groove but at the expense of defensive shape/cohesion at time and so we are conceding quite some chances…We have tough games so we gotta give our best but Spurs will be hard to put away in the Top 4 race. The point is to win against the squads that we need to beat (including Newcastle, Palace, Southampton…) and then do not lose to Chelsea and Tottenham…We still need another 18 – 21 points from the remaining game, not going to be easy but that’s what it takes to get to CL level…

    As for CF, we do need a striker but what is the profile required? Are we looking for a Firmino/Coutinho/Muller/Dybala/Izaak type of player or more like a Vlahovic/Nunez/Schick/Watkins/Calvert-Lewin type of player or more like a David/Osimhen type of player….? And if we get one of these players, do we keep Laca or do we shake hands with him and wish him good luck? What about Nketiah and Balogun?

    For once, I believe we should definitely make an offer for Philipps and Rice in midfield and then up front, why not try Watkins or Calvert-Lewin although I believe that the ones that could help us out the most could be Schick and Nunez…

    Anyways…COYG!

  7. RC78 says:

    Just a little parenthesis as today is Ronaldinho’s bday. He was really a wonderful player – I saw him live when he came to PSG. What a fn player. Not happy that he was part of the Barcelona team that beat Arsenal in the 2006 CL Final but from 2003 to 2006, there not a better and more exciting player on this planet.

    Para Bens Ronnie!

  8. RC78 says:

    For the tennis fans amongst you, Ashley Bartey retires at age 25! Shame, she was such a fun player to watch with her sliced backhand and game full of variety…

  9. RC78 says:

    Saliba keen to stay one more season in Marseille, at least….Confirms talks between the clubs and himself will take place end of May – beg of June…

    Shall we extend him and then extend his loan? Or do we just sell him? If we sold him, his value would be between 30 and 45 Mln…He is a French international at the moment and among the Top 8 CBs playing in the French league…

  10. pbarany says:

    You are still optimistic, RC78. While the correct value for Salba would be around 40M I doubt if we are going to get 25M if sold. See our debate on Leno’s price in the summer, where you predicted 16-20M (if I’m not mistaken) and I expected below 10M…

  11. pbarany says:

    Nevertheless I hope you time will prove you right and not me.

  12. Mike M says:

    A lot depends on how he does for club and country between now and the end of the season I’d guess.

  13. RC78 says:

    Meanwhile…Italy is out of the World Cup…what a shock!

  14. fred1266 says:

    Seeing Pepe scoring for Ivory Coast really grinds my gears

  15. fred1266 says:

    Ex arsenal player with Ivory cost goal

    Ex Arsenal player with France goal and assist

  16. RC78 says:

    Hi Fred – Pepe was playing well yesterday -he was playing in his favored forward position as we have been saying all along. When pushed further up (like he was in Lille), he can be quite devastating as we have seen in a few games last year. He makes good runs, has a decent dribble on him and a decent shot too…

    As for Giroud, I think he will take part in the WC2022 for France. He will take Ben Yedder’s spot because Nkunku will defoe be part of the squad and he can make similar movements as Ben Yedder while Giroud adds this aerial threat that can be so useful…

    Regarding Saliba and Guendouzi – Saliba is growing to be a good CB. Whether we will ever see him in an AFC shirt, Lord knows…But truth is that White-Gabs have a good understanding and to dislodge them would be hard and at age 20, Saliba wants to play – he is a regular at Marseille, captained under 21 team and has now made his international debut – he will want to have playing time…And Guendouzi is doing well in the French league and for France when he plays – he still needs to learn a lot about pacing the game, defensive discipline but he is so brave with his passing and running with the ball that he can often create something for his team. Shame he did not get along well with Arteta.

    If you look at Arteta’s record with French-speaking players, we have: Auba out, Guendouzi out, Saliba out and Pepe half-frozen in the team…It could be that the French-speaking players do not have the same level of intensity or discipline required by Arteta – who knows?

    The only French-speaking player having some playing time with Arteta is Lacazette – that is already good I suppose.

  17. RC78 says:

    One player that we should definitely look at is Tchouameni – the kid is literally the next Vieira/Essien. He is so good but I think he will join another club than AFC – I hope PSG but he could be on his way out abroad.

    When I think that France have Kante, Tchouameni, Pogba + Rabiot, Camavinga, Guendouzi, Veretout, Tolisso, there is depth in these critical midfield positions…

    In our 3412, we would most likely play:
    A:
    Lloris – Kounde, Varane, Kimpembe (or Hernandez) – Pavard, Kante, Pogba, T.Hernandez – Griezmann – Mbappe, Benzema

    B:
    Maignan – – Konate (or Saliba), Upamecano (or Zouma), Hernandez – Clauss, Tchouameni, Rabiot (or Camavinga or Guendouzi), Digne – Nkunku – Dembele, Giroud

    + Areola

    Deschamps has options also to take less defenders to beef up our midfielder and forward lines…

    If we play with the right attitude and have a decent draw, I think France could be on his way to the 1/4 finals of the WC2022…We just have to hope our starting XI is fit, especially Mbappe, Benzema…

    COYG! Allez les Bleus!

  18. RC78 says:

    Oh crap…I forgot Coman 🙂 So I think a CB will be sacrificed for Coman, rightly so

  19. fred1266 says:

    Please explain the pepe playing higher up comment cause the amount of shit pepe playing for us it literally just can’t be because he playing higher up

  20. RC78 says:

    If you look at his best performances in Lille, AFC and Ivory Coast…he plays as a forward. If he plays deeper, he is still good but not as lethal. I think there would be no harm trying him up there with Laca at some point…He knows when to make runs behind the defenders and he is quite fast so it opens options for him but anyways, he still needs to do and be better for us and meet the demands of our team and system.

  21. fred1266 says:

    I think your mistaken ivory coast plays 433

    Gradel/zaha. Haller. Pepe

    Which isn’t to dissimilar to our 4231

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