What Can Arsenal Learn From Villa Game?

As you know, Arsenal went down at the hands of Aston Villa yesterday in a 3-1 shambolic loss. It was a game full of mistakes, controversies and negativity, as Arsenal struggled to pull anything out of the bag. We started so well, grabbing an early goal and things looked promising. However soon after the tempo dropped and we became sluggish. We were under pressure and were caving in and it quickly became very uncomfortable.

Aston Villa got their chance through a penalty, which is debatable.  The referee had decided to play advantage, then when they missed the empty net, go back and reward the penalty. You can’t do both, surely? Szczesny only picked up a yellow card. Not sending off the keeper was the one and only favour he did Arsenal for the whole game.

Szczesny saved the penalty but the defenders failed to follow in and Beneteke quickly nodded past our Pole. The second half began and again we didn’t have that much control, we began to get a edge over Villa but it was quickly set back when they were awarded another controversial penalty, in which Koscielny picked up his first yellow card. Szczesny honestly couldn’t believe it and when the ball was struck, Szczesny didn’t really seem to care about diving, because he couldn’t believe it. A statement of intent or a stupid decision, I’ll let you decide. Then as we pressed on to find an equaliser, a quick breakaway gave them their third goal in what was a horrible afternoon for Arsenal fans.

So what went wrong? Or rather what went right yesterday? But first we must address the referee. It was a game he seemed to fail to control and was making wrong decisions across the pitch for BOTH sides, but all the crucial ones went against Arsenal. Everyone agrees it was a poor performance from a referee nobody seems to have heard of and the chants of “you don’t know what you’re doing” quickly ran round the stadium. The worst thing, in my opinion, was how he allowed Villa to get away with constant fouling, which has further ravaged our squad with more injuries. If we lose any more, we might have to field kids or forfeit a game.

Injuries also cost us this game. In terms of not having several key players on the pitch from the start in Vermaelen, Arteta, Cazorla and Podolski, with the latter not being match fit, certainly held us back. But then an injury to Gibbs, forced Sagna into an unfamiliar left back position, before he too became injured at the end of the game.

The red card to Koscielny forced Ramsey to play CB for a large chunk of the game and it meant we had players all out of position, in Cazorla, Ramsey, Sagna and Podolski was playing LEFT BACK at the end of the game! It shows how threadbare our squad is and it now means that Mertesacker and Jenkinson are our only two defenders available.

Wenger, too must be blamed for some very shaky decisions. There was again no plan B and what on earth was he doing telling Podolski to put his shirt on with 30 minutes to go, only for the German not to be put on until the dying minutes. There was again no speech from the side-lines to the players, only observations. Wenger needs to take the blame partly but it’s not all his fault.

Lastly the players themselves. They failed to live up to their heights and even though we were thin on the ground, nobody expected to lose to relegation threatened Aston Villa. None of them looked up to scratch and the only players I thought really were trying were Wilshere, Ramsey and Rosicky, everyone else looked lost. Who knows what to expect from this team in the near future. Arsenal is in real trouble and it’s clear to everyone but can Wenger be the difference and make the changes?