As the days pass, the taste of the thumping Villa defeat tastes worse than ever. Watching the Arsenal vs Aston Villa game again is a dreadfully painful experience, but also one where the viewer is left puzzled by the staggeringly poor, schoolboy defending.
Even more depressing was the negative attitude of the majority of players, not one player looked bothered or interested. Arsenal couldn’t even blame fatigue because only two players (Willian & Leno) played in the pointless kick about with Molde.
Arteta has been commended for his ability to instill spirit and newfound competitiveness, but that was absent during this travesty, where Aston Villa completely dominated Arsenal in every position on the pitch. Arsenal weren’t just bad, they were super bad!
Watching the goals again makes it all so much worse and each player should be forced to watch each goal and their contribution at least six times. Anyway, like a modern-day version of Burke and Hare, I’ll dwell on this corpse and give some form of analysis. If you are squeamish look away now.
Goal One: Willian, who was incredibly poor, passed to a Villa player twice in quick succession going backward. The backline formed a curious diagonal line and Rob Holding was guilty of two half-hearted tippy-tap attempts to get the ball in the build-up. Again, Holding has been found out and in my opinion, he is a squad player for another side. Certainly not good enough for Arsenal, against any form of pace or against anyone who plays direct.
Saka, who looked like the only home player sufficiently committed to keeping the ball out, unfortunately, took a Ross Barkley cross over his own line. The general collective defending was that of a club with relegation on its mind. Even when the ball came to a standstill in the net, no one shouted, flapped their arms, or looked remotely angry. They accepted the failure and carried on in the same manner.
Goal Two: It was just as bad, a direct ball over the defence from Douglas Luiz to Ross Barkley. The Chelsea loanee struck it first time across the box, with Watkins in the middle of six Arsenal defenders caught ball watching. Holding and Gabriel made no attempt to contain the Villa man and Bellerin appeared to have gone missing.
Goal Three: Grealish got the better of a lumbering Bellerin from an Emi Martinez pass. The speed and physicality of Grealish took the ball high up the pitch, leaving the Spanish right-back for dust. Holding and Gabriel again offered nothing, allowing Watkins an ocean of space to put a quality foot on the ball.
Over 90 minutes, Aston Villa looked better than they actually are, having conceded 7 goals in their last two games, Arsenal should have rolled them over. Instead, they invited them on and just opened up the goal. Disgraceful!
One thing I now know is I can’t watch that again. Not for free and certainly not the extortionate fee of £15.00 on PPV.