Arsenal 0 – 2 Villa; This could have been 4-0!

I was contemplating what to say and even if I should say anything at all, because the result today pretty much said it all for me.
But then it dawned on me that we were actually very unlucky in that we didn’t win this by four clear goals after Ollie did what he usually does, in missing some and scoring some.
Not that we can complain about him. He’s second top scorer to probably the best striker at the best team in the league after all, as much as I’ve seen some Villa fans ripping him to pieces at times.
The first half was a bit scary, because Arsenal were very dominant and creating chances, but the simple fact is they didn’t finish, while we were pretty much backs to the wall. We actually had the best chance, with Ollie hitting the inside of the post.
A funny old game indeed and the sort I was secretly hoping for, but didn’t dare to dream of.

Onto the second half then and we actually improved and started to take it to them.

As I type, I’m listening to Merse, who I’m sure is saying that Arteta didn’t have anybody to bring on. I must have heard that wrong, surely?

Whatever, you could see our belief building and the goal came via Leon Bailey at the far post.
And then blow me, if we didn’t get a second within two minutes with Ollie scoring with a lovely chip over the goalie.

So that’s a stunning result that has more than one benefit;

1 Unai and Martinez both say FU to Arsenal.
2 Arsenal get stuffed for the first time this calendar year.
3 It looks like Arsenal have blown the title.
4 We are still playing for the Champion’s league, when all looked lost on Friday.

It’s as I said.
Expect the worst and anything else is a bonus.
Because of that thinking, I’m currently ecstatic.

And then I have the thoughts of Liverpool fans at work tomorrow.

Should I laugh? Probably not, they can get the right hump if you wind them up 🙂

What a great weekend!


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  1. Bill Pearson
    Bill Pearson April 19, 2024 at 6:46 am . Reply

    BFR . Mother-inLaw you poor sod, you ok ?

    1. BFR
      BFR April 19, 2024 at 7:58 am . Reply


  2. Bum Bum
    Bum Bum April 19, 2024 at 6:50 am . Reply

    Olympiakos it is!
    Doesn’t that mean Zaniolioio will be cup tied?

    1. Hitchens60
      Hitchens60 April 19, 2024 at 7:04 am . Reply

      And will Martinez be banned in the first leg for two yellow cards?

    2. BFR
      BFR April 19, 2024 at 7:59 am . Reply

      A prestigious and historic club, similar to ours. It’ll be two battles. The chasm in quality between the two leagues should be telling. But it won’t be easy!

  3. BFR
    BFR April 19, 2024 at 8:02 am . Reply

    Unai Emery. 👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏👏

  4. BFR
    BFR April 19, 2024 at 8:10 am . Reply

    Fonseca not happy with the ref for not awarding the penalty, so I think that evens out all our gripes.
    And he quite rightly stated that our goalkeeper was the difference over both legs. Can’t really argue with that.

    1. Hitchens60
      Hitchens60 April 19, 2024 at 8:22 am . Reply

      VAR checked it and cleared it as no penalty. IFAB need to sort out the handball rule – it’s a joke with defenders having to stand in unnatural positions. The old rule was pretty clear – handball being a deliberate action i.e. the hand moved towards the ball rather than the ball just striking the hand. With VAR they should be able to work that out – surely?

      However you cut it, the ref was shocking – inconsistent and a yellow card fanatic!

  5. Bum Bum
    Bum Bum April 19, 2024 at 8:15 am . Reply

    Dunno about u guys but I’ve got a sore head this morning…

  6. Hitchens60
    Hitchens60 April 19, 2024 at 8:16 am . Reply

    Olympiakos stepped down from the Europa Cup so they’re a very decent side but, on balance, I think they’re preferable to Fenerbahce – famous last words?

    Villa clearly didn’t play anyway near their best but did improve late on. The stats make interesting reading and suggest a very even game albeit Villa had more shots on target 7 (from 9) against 4 (from 12). Be interesting to see the XG stats and what Canadian Pete makes of it.


  7. BFR
    BFR April 19, 2024 at 8:29 am . Reply

    Just doing my research and their keeper, Tsolakis, saved 3 penalties last night, with some Bosnich-esque shot-stopping. Reminded me of the Tranmere saves. Let’s put these away and avoid a shootout in Athens!

  8. Bill Pearson
    Bill Pearson April 19, 2024 at 3:44 pm . Reply

    Put me right on this, Martinez second yellow doesn’t stand because no yellow cards are permissible on shootout is that the law ?

    1. 1874 was a good year
      1874 was a good year April 19, 2024 at 4:47 pm . Reply

      Not quite. For goalies the shootout is considered to be another phase of the game and so a yellow card is not carried over. That’s why the ref felt free to give Emi another knowing that it would have little impact on the result apart from possibly quieting Emi down a little. A lot of tosh has been talked about this, about how lucky Emi was etc but it’s my take that if another yellow would have seen Emi sent off the ref simply wouldn’t have given it. Anyway the ref was nuts and, from what I saw, he gave Emi the first one for legally standing with the ball at his feet!

      On our next game, based of the now famous coefficient, the French league is at number 5 while the Greek is at 17 which feels about right. Also note that the final is being played at AEK’s ground. If we get past Olympiakos then I’d guess that we’d get a fair bit of support from the locals as bot AEK and Panathenaikos fans absolutely hate Olympiakos.
      Onwards and upwards.

  9. Gerry
    Gerry April 19, 2024 at 5:07 pm . Reply

    Bill. We now know that the yellow card has resulted in Emi being out for the next match. Crazy that there are rules like this, really important but its clear that the only person that knew it was the ref.

  10. Gerry
    Gerry April 19, 2024 at 5:18 pm . Reply

    Here is the rule that has caused the ban.

    “B. from the first match in the group stage, players and team officials are suspended for the next competition match after three cautions, which did not result in a red card, as well as following any subsequent odd-numbered caution (fifth, seventh, ninth, etc.).”

    He won’t be playing in the next match so no yellow card. He can get one in the second leg because that would be number 4 and there is just the final left. Seems unfair in another way in that the only people likely to get a yellow in the shoot out would be goalies. The chances for a goalie to getting a booking for moving too early are really high as he is involved in every one and an outfielder is only involved in 1 in 11.

    Clear as mud me thinks.

    1. Hitchens60
      Hitchens60 April 19, 2024 at 6:47 pm . Reply

      Gerry, I think yellow cards are wiped out after sf as there were mutterings about players missing the final – don’t think that applies to reds though.

      I may be wrong – anyone know?

  11. Bum Bum
    Bum Bum April 19, 2024 at 5:30 pm . Reply

    Yeah, Emi out for the first leg. Anyone seen or heard from Villa Park about last night? I’m still exhausted by it!!!!
    Bournemouth Sunday……..So glad to see Cash back.

    1. Hitchens60
      Hitchens60 April 19, 2024 at 6:44 pm . Reply

      That was my fear – Martinez suspended for the first leg of sf – that will give Olympiakos a boost.

      What’s maddening is that the first yellow card for time wasting was complete nuts and totally wrong. Martinez had the ball at his feet in play and he wasn’t delaying a restart of the game. And to yellow card a keeper in that way 30 minutes into a game we were losing – and then during the shootout smacks of a personal dislike (that’s the mild option) or a desire to disadvantage Villa in the semi final. You cannot yellow card players on reputation or because you’re in love with France!!

      The referee was a complete and utter numpty – hadn’t got a clue what he was doing and just dished out yellow cards on a whim.

      By his (lack of) standards it makes English referees top drawer.

      Absolutely fuming.

    2. Hitchens60
      Hitchens60 April 19, 2024 at 6:53 pm . Reply

      Bum Bum – re your question.

      According to Emery, Villa are ‘in conversation’ with UEFA about Martinez yellow card in the shoot out. I think they may argue it but, at present, Emery is saying he’s not available.

      If UEFA were pragmatic they would not suspend him but as UEFA is broadly anti English I can’t see them being particularly sympathetic. Just hope NSWE have wheeled in some heavyweight lawyers!!

      1. Bum Bum
        Bum Bum April 19, 2024 at 7:38 pm . Reply

        Interesting. Neither yellow should stand. Loads of players ‘shusshhh’ the opposition supporters and never get booked. And Emi was also trying to get a ball as the main one seemed to have disappeared.
        In saying that, Olsen did very little wrong and made several great stops last game if u think back…

        1. BFR
          BFR April 20, 2024 at 7:07 am . Reply

          Not only that, how is is OK for tens of thousands to abuse and berate one man, but it’s not OK to for him to ‘shush’ them? Bizarre.

          1. Bum Bum
            Bum Bum April 20, 2024 at 10:24 am . Reply

            Don’t forget throwing stuff at him from the stands too…

  12. BFR
    BFR April 20, 2024 at 6:20 am . Reply

    Martinez. Thank you Dean Smith.
    Cash. Thank you Dean Smith.
    Konsa. Thank you Dean Smith.
    Luiz. Thank you Dean Smith.
    Bailey. Thank you Dean Smith.
    Watkins. Thank you Dean Smith.
    Targett. Oh wait…

    Seriously though, Dean Smith and Purslow had vision back in 2019-2021. These players are now coming into their prime and are all outstanding. A world class coach was what was needed, and that’s no disrespect whatsoever to Deano. And there’s Ramsey, Buendia and Mings to add to that list as well. Brucie takes credit for McGinn, while that chap from Liverpool for Digne.
    But Unai is the King.

    1. Alfie Ricketts
      Alfie Ricketts April 20, 2024 at 12:01 pm . Reply

      Perfect example of why Dean Smith was amazing at recruiting players, but equally as good an example of why he wasn’t the man to take us to where we wanted to be, because look at how much Emery got the best out of his players.

      1. BFR
        BFR April 20, 2024 at 1:10 pm . Reply

        A tad unfair to Deano. They were bought very young with the idea of peaking together in a few years. Unai has inherited then at their peak. But on the flip side, as you say, no one else could have done what he has done with them. I recall calling for Ollie, Konsa and Bailey to be binned after Conte’s Spurs spanked us 4-0 in 45 second half minutes under you know who. So Unai has worked miracles.
        I recall Purslow defending the big spend on 10 players in 2019 after promotion. His words were “it wasn’t a trolley dash.” He and Smith knew what they were doing!

      2. The Ron Saunders Stand
        The Ron Saunders Stand April 20, 2024 at 7:12 pm . Reply

        Deano was stitched up by Perslips to get his mate King Bin Dipper through the door.
        All the coaches leave pre season?
        Something was afoot behind the scenes.

  13. Badger123
    Badger123 April 20, 2024 at 6:20 pm . Reply

    Emi Martínez, Matty Cash, Bertrand Traoré, Ollie Watkins and Morgan Sanson were Lange signings.
    The rest were possibly Suso?
    I don’t believe Purslow should get any credit for any signings, as his knowledge of players outside the club is less than mine, I’d say.
    He may well have given the okay to spend the money, but that’s all the credit he gets from me.

    1. BFR
      BFR April 20, 2024 at 6:41 pm . Reply

      We’re they Lange or Suso, Badger? I think Lange arrived after those players.

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