Tag Archives: Aston Villa

The Emile Smith Rowe Derby

Over the summer, Aston Villa fans tried to manufacture some sort of rivalry with Arsenal over transfers.

It probably originated a year before when Villa signed Emiliano Martinez.

Villa fans saw this as them poaching one of Arsenal’s best players. The reality was they had signed our back up keeper who had played just 15 league games in the previous 10 years at the club.

Martinez played well and Villa best Arsenal twice. But at the end of the season Arsenal fans were disappointed with 8th whilst Villa celebrated 11th

Then we had their fans odd behaviour this summer.

It started with their signing or Emi Buendia.

Arsenal were linked with the former Norwich City midfielder in the press. When Villa sainted him, they bought into the “Villa beat Arsenal to midfielder” story.

The way they saw it, they had signed one of our best players and beaten us to our number one target.

Buendia was never Arsenal’s number one target. It was always Martin Odegaard.

I started to see Villa fans claiming that not only were they rivals to Arsenal, but were now a better proposition to players.

They pointed to their owner whom they said was one of the richest in the Eagle and capable of bankrolling the club to glory. They pointed to the signings of Martinez and Buendia. They were in not doubt that they were a better option for players.

And it all culminated in their signing of Emile Smith Rowe.

They had returned to Arsenal and signed one of their own. A London lad who had been at the club for a decade. One of Arsenal’s best young prospects.

On top of all of this, Jack Grealish was going now where. So they would have a 3 of Grealish, Smith Rowe and Buendia. It would be enough to see them push ahead of Arsenal and challenge for top 6.

Only they did not sign Smith Rowe. He signed a new contract. And then Grealish left for Manchester City.

And despite Arsenal’s poor start to the season, we are still ahead of Villa. Not that they matter to Arsenal fans.

It was a very odd summer.

Ultimately the stature of your club is beyond a short term league position.

Regardless of where they finish in the league, Arsenal are one of the “Big 3” alongside Manchester United and Liverpool. Those are the 3 biggest clubs in England. There is no debate.

I have seen similar behaviour from Leeds United fans. From Crystal Palace and recently Newcastle fans.

The Newcastle situation sums it up.

With the action taken on sponsorship, they have used Arsenal as to “how much a club not in Europe can get in sponsorship”.

Arsenal’s sponsorship deals are not based on us being in Europe. They are based on us being massive.

So enjoy the Emile Smith Rowe Derby tonight. Fingers crossed we get back to winning ways!



Death, taxes and Emiliano Martinez talking about The Arsenal

Is Emiliano Martinez the most boring fan in football?

It is now becoming so predictable.

There’s an international break and out trots Martinez in another interview to talk about Arsenal again.

I will begin by defending Martinez a bit. He can only answer the questions he is asked. And if a journalist is asking him about Arsenal, he can politely answer.

It probably shows how gargantuan Arsenal are that on every international break, journalists want to ask him about Arsenal and not Aston Villa.

Very few in England, let alone Argentina care about the 2nd club in England’s 2nd city.

This time it was some bollocks about him not wanting to join Arsenal in the first place.

A fair enough comment considering he was 18 when he joined us; and had to uproot himself from his family to move to a new continent.

But ultimately it was his decision and if Arsenal as as bad as he made out, why did he sign 3 or 4 contracts?

Only the most agenda driven Arsenal fans still side with Martinez – those that would agree with any critical comment about the club regardless of who says it. The “anti-fan”.

The majority call Martinez out for what he is. An obsessed, disgruntled former lover.

Let’s remember, Arsenal wanted Martinez to sign a new deal. He was promised that he would start the season as number one. He wanted a guarantee that he would remain number one.

Football clubs can not issue those guarantees. Especially to a player with just 15 Premier League starts to his name. So he left.

So good was he at Arsenal that when it came to him leaving – for a £20million price tag that was considered a steal – it was only Aston Villa that were in for him.

Villa finished that season 17th. 1 point off relegation.

According to some, “Martinez was the best keeper in the league last season” before “being key as Argentina won the Copa America”. And yet he is still at Villa.

Maybe his bitterness comes from regret?

Taking into account Bernd Leno’s form, Martinez would have started as number one and probably remained it for the entire of last season. Then this season he probably would have been given the number one jersey.

Instead he jumped ship and hoped after a good season a top club would come in for him again. No one came knocking.

There was talk at the beginning of the summer that Barcelona wanted to bring him in, reuniting with Lionel Messi. That was never going to happen.

So Martinez is now 29. His chances of ever being a regular number one at a top club dwindling. The best he can hope for is Aston Villa stay up and then in 3 years time, when his contract runs out, a top club sees him as a viable, cheap, home grown option as number two.

Maybe he will even return to Arsenal to cover Aaron Ramsdale.

For now, Martinez needs to stay quiet. Concentrate on his football, and stop obsessing about The Arsenal.

I look forward to his autobiography.


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.