Match Report: Arsenal 3 – 2 Aston Villa

Arsenal (0) 3 Aston Villa (1) 2
Premier League
Emirates Stadium, Drayton Park, London N5 1BU
Sunday, 22nd September 2019. Kick-off time: 4.30pm

(4-2-3-1) Bernd Leno; Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, David Luiz, Sead Kolašinac; Mattéo Guendouzi, Granit Xhaka; Nicolas Pépé, Dani Ceballos, Bukayo Saka; Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Substitutes: Mesut Özil, Lucas Torreira, Calum Chambers, Reiss Nelson, Emiliano Martínez, Joe Willock, Gabriel Martinelli.

Scorers: Nicolas Pépé (59mins), Calum Chambers (81mins), Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (84mins)
Red Cards: Ainsley Maitland-Niles
Yellow Cards: Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Mattéo Guendouzi, Granit Xhaka, Nicolas Pépé, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.
Arsenal Possession Percentage: 58%
Referee: Jonathan Moss
Attendance 60,331

So okay, we can all now put our hearts back into the chest cavity from whence it came, ingest that stiff drink and take a massive intake of breath. This team certainly know how to keep us all on our toes, don’t they? On paper, this looked like a breeze, in the world of cold, harsh reality, it was a lot more complex and controversial that that flippant idea.

The first half looked akin to a car crash, where you can see the accident unfold in front of your very eyes, but could do absolutely nothing to redress the issue, just hold on and wait for the impact. Nothing in this first period would suggest that we would end up eventual winners, just sloppy and poor play and tragic circumstances. After just twenty minutes, The Villains were ahead, thanks to a Joe McGinn goal scored from an Anwar El Ghazi cross that should have been dealt with by the defence. From this moment onwards, we were clumsy, indecisive and unable to hold on to the ball. Then came the incident that defined the first half, and in many ways, changed the match. With just four minutes to go before the break, Ainsley Maitland-Niles stupidly followed through on a tackle with Neil Taylor; having already been booked, referee Jonathan Moss had no alternative but to show our first red card of the season to him, much to the chagrin of the disbelieving home crowd. What else could happen on this late September afternoon?

Second half, time to breathe again. Or so it seemed. At first it was looking as if the second period would be a carbon copy of the first, but wait! In a moment of pure inspiration, Mattéo Guendouzi boldly advanced into the Villa penalty area, when defender Björn Engels sloppily brought him down, and in doing so, gifted us a penalty. In an act of pure unselfishness, our usual penalty taker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang handed the ball to Nicolas Pépé, who wasted no time in introducing the ball to the back of the net. With almost no time to take a sharp intake of breath, Jack Grealish jinked and twisted his way past three of our players before crossing the ball to Moraes Wesley, who confidently restored the balance in the visitors’ favour.
The match was looking like a defeat, until the jeered and mocked Granit Xhaka was substituted for Joe Willock (along with Lucas Torreira, who replaced the ineffective Dani Ceballos). And now things just picked up in a heartbeat. We became masterful, confident, and dare I say it, assertive. Mattéo Guendouzi continued to inspire and showed a good example to everyone around him, and it was merely a matter of time before this sparky little player would be involved in an incident or two. And so it was, with just nine minutes to go, he was instrumental in an effort that led to our second (and equalising) goal. Calum Chambers was the grateful recipient of a Mattéo Guendouzi pass, and without even blinking, put the ball where it belonged, into the roof of the net. And still it wasn’t over; with just minutes to go, our top bandit Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang grabbed the winner. Phew. Talk about a close run thing.

Okay, we won, and tonight we sit in fourth place in the Premiership on goal difference behind Leicester City; with our rivals Spurs, Chelsea and Mancheter United (whom we play next week) all losing this weekend, we have taken full advantage and seized a top four slot with this victory. But our defence is still rocky, and although the lads showed immense character today, there were times when a win seemed as far away as Christmas. But hey, at the end of the day, we won. Let’s celebrate. Remember everyone, keep the faith, get behind the team and the manager, as this season is going to be crucial for our future success in all competitions. Stick with the winners. Our next match:Nottingham Forest at The Emirates on Tuesday, 24th September at 7.45pm (Carabao Cup). Be there, if you can. Victoria Concordia Crescit.


Too Dearly Loved To Be Forgotten: Arsenal v Racing Club de Paris 1930-1962 by Steve Ingless (Rangemore Publications, ISBN 978-1-5272-0135-4) is now available on Amazon.

1 thought on “Match Report: Arsenal 3 – 2 Aston Villa

  1. Omar


    This report lives up to the “Yellow” of “She Wore a Yellow Ribbon” in that it pulls punches which are pertinent and by leaving out relevant scenes, you paint a picture which paints an inaccurate picture to not only to what took place on the field but also leaves the reader with no accurate pieces of flesh to chew and arrive at an accurate conclusion as to what took place.

    Why Arsenal again after the Watford game and seriously, yes, in nearly all games under the stewardship of Unai Emery, it is always a game of “Two Halves” as Unai Emery is a “Confused Mess”. If you recall, most games of the 2018/19 season, Arsenal never ended the first half, leading; second half Emery would change players, their positions and formation (23 formation changes in 15 games) and Arsenal would come out on top; led fans to shout from the roof tops; “wow love Emery, Wenger would not make many any changes mid game”. What the fans did not recognise was that Emery is a “Confused Mess” and Never knew himself what was his “First Team” Emery, even today does not know his “First Team” and Neither does Emery know which position each player should be played at as the players are always played out of position and these players are not performing at their best.

    Post the Watford match; Maitland-Nikles reported to the press, “The Boss[Emery] confuses me so much with his confused English that I go to Freddie Ljungberg for help”. “All the boys are bored and fedup and leave confused with the Boss’ 2 hour post match class room analyses; because the Boss’ English is so confusing and the Boss always plays me as RB when I am not a RB but a Midfielder”
    Post the Villa match; Bernd Leno, “We all had a good chat in the changing room at half time”. “We decided to ignore the Boss[Emery] confused instructions as we were 1 – 0 down and down to 10 players, lets go and fight and go all out for a Win.”

    During the Villa game and in the first half, nearly all the players including Aubameyang and Pepe were lethargic and lacked energy and commitment. All the players, playing at the Emirates were getting pushed around by the Villa Players who have this season come in to the IPL and are at the bottom of the League. The first goal by McGinn(Villa) was due to Guendouzi not positioning himself in the Arsenal Box to challenge McGinn for the incoming cross and David Luiz berated Guendouzi vehemently for the lapse but all Arsenal players were just pondering around without commitment and Villa players took full advantage as they were being given a free pass !

    The second half post changing room conference by the players, saw an energetic no holds barres full of gusto Arsenal. Yes Emery was forced to make changes as Chambers came in at RB and Saka(energetic enthusiastic no nonsense player who runs through defences) and Ceballos who again was being played out of position as a No.10 when he is best as a N0.8 (showed against Burnley- MOM) was replaced with Torreira. Torero is a high energy no nonsense player who should always play and Not Xhaka. Now we had Guendouzi taking the bull by the horn and running at and through Villa defence which caused Villa to hand Arsenal a Penalty.

    Yes the philanthropic father figure(should be the Captain) Aubameyang gave Pepe the option to take the penalty as Auba did last season to Lacazette when Laca was lacking confidence. But Auba is no mans fool; yes he wants to win the “Golden Boot” again but he also was conscious of the fact; Pepe has a 99% strike rate at penalties at Lile(Pepe last Club) and the penalty miss Auba made against Spurs may have flashed past his brain also, because had Auba scored that penalty against Spurs Arsenal would have ended last season “Top 4”.

    After all the hard work of the team and now leading 3 -2, it was the Idiot Sokratis again who put this win in jeopardy by giving the match referee and VAR referee a chance to make a choice; did Socrates handle the ball in Arsenal Box or was it unavoidable? Idiot Sokratis also messed up at the Watford game by gifting the ball to Cleverly (Watford) who was in the Arsenal Box and put it in the net.That was trying to play from the Back regardless; Idiot Unai Emery’s Instructions.

    In Conclusion; Unai Emery is a confused mess and has LOST the “Arsenal Changing Room” Time to Sack Unai Emery forthwith and may be Sign “The Special One” who is a serial winner and a tactical genius who was never defeated by Arsene Wenger.



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