Add that to the fact that the ref was our old pal Mike Riley and you have a recipe for disaster right there.
Oh, and the media had written off Villa which is never good.
We came into this game after an impressive win against Manure, hence the knee-jerk response from the media, and Villa arrived on the back of some inconsistent performances.
Wenger didn't have a great deal of choice but to field the same players that featured against Manure as no-one (except Almunia) had recovered from injury since then and that idiot RVP was still banned for being a prick.
At least Ade was on the bench as his recovery was faster than expected. Too risky to start with him though.
Sagna Gallas Silvestre Clichy
Theo Cesc Denilson Diaby Nasri
One would assume from this line-up that Arsenal were going to play the same 4-4-1-1 formation that beat Manure but actually it was more defensive than that because Diaby stayed in the midfield and almost never got forward to support Bendtner as an SS.
The 4-5-1 formation should be banned from the Emirates imo. We should start a f***ing petition.
Villa put out these wankers:
The Villa formation was supposedly 4-5-1 but in reality it was 10-0-0. Also know as B-U-S.
Villa started the game very brightly and chased down all our passes right from the kick-off.
This flustered the back four and almost immediately resulted in a chance on goal as Sagna's pass to Cesc was charged down by Villa and the talented Ashley Young stormed forward and put in a decent effort on goal which Almunia saved.
This was a sign of things to come because Villa kept up this pressure for almost the entire game, meaning we never had more than a picosecond on the ball, before being aggressively tackled by a Villain.
As good as Arsenal are, they do need some space to work their magic, and when they're deprived of oxygen they end up gasping for air like Gordon Brown on a treadmill.
What the hell….?
Me and the gooners I was with then spent the next 43 minutes trying to understand why Almunia refused to throw/pass the ball out and insisted on hoofing it up field to no-one in particular.
Almunia's throws out of goal are usually the start of a great counter attacking move and can often result in a goal. He's done it so often this season and we were stumped as to why he'd suddenly changed his policy.
Had Arsene had a word with him? No-one knew. The only conclusion we came to was that Villa were pressurising our defenders so much that it wasn't safe for Almunia to pass to any of them.
As trivial as this small detail sounds it actually had a large part to play in why the first half was so crap.
Usually we dominate possession by anything up to 80% but these long hoofed kicks were all ending up with Villa players who tried to bring the ball forward forcing us to win the ball back in the tackle instead of starting out with possession in the first place.
Our first decent chance was started by Diaby as he turned on a sixpence to confuse 3 Villa defenders and send a pass out wide to Nasri.
The crowd loved it. Was Diaby going to have another one of those sparkling games like the ones he’s had recently at AM? No, he wasn’t.
Nasri kept the ball in play and then exchanged a few one-touch passes with Cesc and Bendtner before sending in a disappointing knee-high cross to no-one which was easily cleared by Villa.
He picked up the clearance and then exchanged a few more passes before sending in another equally useless cross hoping to find Gallas.
This was a sign of things to come because our crossing was poor for the whole game as it has been so often recently.
According to recent statistics we’ve put more crosses into the box than any other team so far this season. If even half of them were accurate we would’ve won each game 6-0.
Anyway the ball eventually came out to Cesc who fired a low shot into the box but it was straight at Friedel.
The power made him spill the ball but Davies prevented Gallas from tapping in the loose ball.
That was our first decent chance and there weren’t many that followed it in this half.
To make matters worse Fabregas then picked up a yellow card for a late challenge meaning he’ll miss the next game. He could probably do with a rest as he hasn’t played well by his standards recently.
This was shortly followed by Villa winning a penalty when Sagna brought a man down in the box.
Looked like a dive from where I was sitting but it didn’t matter in the end because Almunia produced a great save to deny Ashley Young. The ball looked like it would fly underneath Manuel but he got a quick hand down to stop it and it bounced up against his chest and then our defence did well to clear the ball away from the onrushing Villa players.
Riley was distraught.
The resulting cheer was the only one that came from the Arsenal fans all day.
A few minutes later Silvestre passed to Diaby but again it was intercepted by Villa who were sharper all over the park and had far more desire.
We almost paid for that because the ball was given to Young who sold Denilson a dummy and fired a thunderbolt towards goal because no-one closed him down quick enough. Luckily the shot went inches wide of the far corner.
Moments later Villa carved out a perfect chance for themselves which Barry should’ve scored.
Again they were first to the ball when Diaby misplaced a pass and within seconds they’d mounted an attack using Agbonlawhore down the left hand side. He was quick, skilful and precise as he dribbled round players and then passed through the eye of the needle to find Barry’s late run into the box.
Barry made a meal of it though and fired it straight to Almunia. A let-off for us.
Adebayor was brought on for Diaby which was a bit of a mystery to me. Although Diaby had not had a good game he still looked more likely to cause Villa some problems than say Nasri or Denilson.
7 minutes later Bendtner came off for Vela, some fans were clearly relieved to see the back of him but sadly Vela was far worse. The strong, physical Villa defence stomped all over him with ease.
Play on or don’t play on?
In the 70th minute Sagna went down with an injury that will keep him out the side for a few weeks, but Villa played on and took advantage by attacking down the left hand side where Sagna would’ve been.
Young put a great cross into the box and Clichy headed the ball into his own net in an attempt to divert the ball wide. Almunia had no chance. 1-0 Villa and they certainly deserved it although this whole ‘play on or don’t play on’ business needs to be sorted once and for all.
Sagna was then carried off injured and Toure was brought on. With the way he played it’s a shame he wasn’t on earlier.
Moments later Adebayor almost scored when Clichy put in a good cross to the far post. Ade jumped highest but headed the ball into the ground and off the post. Another decent chance wasted.
Denilson brought the ball up the pitch with confidence and authority and slid a nice pass through to Vela who was cynically scythed down by the Villa defence.
A foul so obvious that it was visible from space but Mike ‘Stevie Wonder’ Riley saw nothing.
Villa immediately capitalised by hoofing the ball the entire length of the pitch for Abananawhore to run on to.
Gallas was the only man near him and there was only ever going to be one winner in that race. A cool finish from close range beat Almunia. 2-0 to Mike Riley.
Wenger was justifiably furious but it was a waste of energy.
Villa’s goal celebration was bordering on hardcore gay porn as Young and the Whore dry humped all over the corner flag. Get a room guys, you’re on camera.
Mike Riley then made an absolutely game-changing crucial decision and booked the Whore for time-wasting.
This was the second booking for time wasting that Villa received in the game.
Nice to know that in those crucial high pressure situations Riley is always ready with the card.
The game was as good as over by now so Villa relaxed for a few seconds allowing Toure to go on one of his runs down the right wing and slip a ball into the box for Vela but it was just slightly to fast for him to catch.
Clichy with his ‘never say die’ attitude then went bombing down the left wing and put in a huge cross which found no-one at the far post but Theo somehow nicked it from Davies and then slot in a great ball through to Cesc who was running into the box but he blazed over the bar from very close range.
Our best chance of the game, wasted.
What the hell…..? (Again)
That was pretty much it and very disappointing.
So what went wrong here? What happened to the brilliant Nasri who killed off Manure last week?
Where was the elusive Diaby who usually plays so well as an SS? More importantly where was the invincible team spirit they’d shown?
Can’t blame it on tiredness as they didn’t play midweek. Denilson was the only player who had a good game for me, everyone else was somewhere between average and mediocre.
The team raised their game for the big boys and then significantly lowered it again for some reason. One explanation is that Manure are easier to play against because they actually come at you and attack you leaving space for counter-attacks whereas Villa were happy to park the bus and would’ve been delighted with a 0-0.
Personally I think the 4-5-1 was a mistake. Bendtner was left totally alone with strong determined defenders. When he did win the ball he had no-one to flick it on to.
O’ Neill got his tactics spot on again and knows exactly how to cope with us.
This fixture last season was also frustrating as we were 1-0 down for the whole match until Bendtner saved a point by scoring in the last second of the game.
A worse result this time meaning we’ve actually gone backwards.
Mike Riley is an absolute disgrace and should be banned from football but we can’t blame it all on him as we couldn’t get our game together. Villa were too good for us and that shouldn’t be the case.
If O' Neill has got the hang of us why haven't we got the hang of them?
It aint over ‘til the fat lady sings as they say but this will seriously damage our title hopes as our rivals romped to easy victories. Can’t see Chelscum dropping more than 9 points and even then we’d have to win every game from now on which on our current form seems just a little far fetched.