Arsenal 0 – 3 Villa; Stonking result, but it’s still all quite strange.

I don’t think I say it enough, but I’m going to now;
We did really well and fully deserved that. Indeed, we could have won by more and that’s always a great thing to say when you’re playing Arsenal away.

While I think Arsenal were incredibly poor (and late on they looked more shambolic than any time I can ever remember them in the Premier league) it takes two teams to make a game and Villa performed very well.

But how can Arsenal go from performing so well against Man Utd to performing like that?
And conversely, how can we go from performing as we did in our last two games to how we did tonight?
As I keep saying it’s all quite strange.
But it’s exciting too, because it means any team might end up at least challenging if the season continues as it is.
And that means you never know. We are certainly capable of scoring goals after all.

So what happened?
The truth is I don’t have a clue.
I said in the preview that Villa’s game revolves massively around our midfield.
There’s no new theory there and it’s not rocket science I’m talking about.

But Barkley and McGinn were different players today and I struggle to see how that can be.
They played well and everything else just followed.
It’s just crazy how things work.

But when the pre-match talk was about changing it up, most of us had a feeling that Smith wouldn’t because he knows his best players.
He was certainly justified in picking the same team (Traore apart) today, wasn’t he?

And while McGinn and Barkley played well, with hard work and at least some skill, so they gave Jack Grealish the chance to weave his magic.
He was head and shoulders above anyone else. Again.
And he does it so often I’m sure I think massively less of him if he doesn’t have a great game.
In fact, I’m sure many a Villa fan think the same as me. And that’s major pressure on his shoulders.
It’s also incredibly unfair, especially when he’s getting slated for not having at least an 8 out of 10 game.
Whatever, Andy Townsend couldn’t talk highly enough about him and it was pointed out that Jack has now contributed to 8 goals in 10 games. That’s impressive.

How good was that game for Martinez?
He’ll be well happy having kept a clean sheet while Leno conceded three and may well be thinking he’s joined a team on the up and left a team on the way down.
That’s how things struck me, for what it’s worth. Arsenal just don’t look to have any desire.

Talking of conceding three goals, McGinn’s whopping strike, that I thought had broke the net, raised questions about it’s validity.
My immediate reaction was that Barkley was in front of Leno’s sight and hence interfering with play.
But Andy Gray made the very good point that Barkley wasn’t directly in line between McGinn and Leno and there was no chance of Leno stopping it anyway.
I can see both sides and while it doesn’t matter today, if that had cost us points in a relegation struggle, I’d be fuming.
Whatever, if we didn’t have VAR, I’m pretty convinced the goal would have been given, without question.

There was a mention that something like eight out of ten fans surveyed want VAR scrapped. It’s a view that I tend to agree with.
But then I think about the years of bitching that made the game introduce VAR in the first place.
I think Townsend called it right in saying the priority is preventing VAR stopping the game for too long. His point that allowing the ref to have a look and keep the decision on the pitch, being wise, is one I agree with.

I’ve rattled too much and I’ll leave you to comment more about the performance.
But it didn’t take any mechanical means to say we romped that game, did it?

Happy days and long may those type of results continue.



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  1. Avatar
    Bum Bum November 9, 2020 at 8:32 am . Reply

    England have a history of misusing their most talented players. Gazza, Rooney, Le Tiss, and it seems Southgate is from the Bert Millichip school of punishing flair players.

    1. Avatar
      DSVilla November 9, 2020 at 8:20 pm . Reply

      Alan Hudson, Tony Currie, Frank Worthington. Even Trevor Brooking until Ron Greenwood had a caretaker manager role. Wasted talent and part of why England have been mediocre for most of my lifetime.

  2. Avatar
    John November 9, 2020 at 8:56 am . Reply

    I loved Ian Wright’s comment on MOTD. “If Villa were walking down the street, they’d be John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever.”
    And Shearer almost burst an artery in gushing praise, saying how stunningly brilliant Villa were.
    Happy days.

  3. Avatar
    DSVilla November 9, 2020 at 10:04 am . Reply

    Fabulous performance and great result. I can understand Smith sticking with the same team as the subs are not up to the same standard. Some top performances yesterday but what a refreshing change to have a striker like Watkins who will get bucketloads if we supply the chances.

  4. Avatar
    Adam November 9, 2020 at 11:09 am . Reply

    Absolutely fantastic team performance. We keep that up consistently and we will comfortably be top 10 and if the players keep top form and we don’t suffer key injuries then this group of players can really take us forward. Such a refreshing start to the season. We have had 1.5 bad halves of football so far. Its starting to feel great being a villa fan again. The only annoying thing is when we win particularly against the top 6/8 the response in the media and opposition fans is as if we were a national league team! Wake up everyone Villa are back and we are only getting stronger. UTV.

  5. Avatar
    Bill Pearson.. November 9, 2020 at 11:32 am . Reply

    That game beyond doubt was first class football, I’m not a fan of tip tap football that Southgate wants, it will take a side like Villa to destroy his game. Every player gave 100% and Targett up his game and proved he can be part of Villas set up. Piers Morgan a prat of the first order, one day he’ll talk sense when Villa gets its well deserved position in football like European games, VAR is defiantly ruining the game, that was a goal and I won’t be told otherwise. Well done my Football team ,I’m proud of you all.

  6. Avatar
    OriginalLondonLion November 9, 2020 at 12:03 pm . Reply

    Though the Liverpool result will live longer in the memory, I agree with you, this was our best performance. After conceding 3 goals from deflections Liverpool realised they were jinxed. Arsenal were still in the game at 0-1 though Villa Villa were bossing it.

    We got the improvement from all the players who needed to raise their games from the Saints match = the entire midfield, Konsa and Watkins. If we can raise our game like that against every big six team we could beat the lot.

  7. Avatar
    Hitchens60 November 9, 2020 at 6:43 pm . Reply

    3 or 5 substitutes? The argument about player welfare is, imho, a red herring.

    The bigger clubs have sufficient squad depth to rotate their teams so Joe dies the number of allowable sure affect player welfare? What it really does is give a massive advantage to the clubs with the bigger squads.

    Why aren’t we hearing an argument for dumping the hated international breaks as part of players welfare and using those weeks to allow rest periods for the players?

    Self interest that’s all it is – top marks to Dean Smith for standing against it (Villa being one of three clubs with low substitute usage because we don’t have the squad depth – and the injury argument – how does 5 subs help Villa if they suffer a number of injuries?)

    Rant ended 🙂

    1. Avatar
      Hitchens60 November 9, 2020 at 6:50 pm . Reply

      ‘Joe dies’ 🙂 which was entered as – how does – predictive bollocks! And – ‘allowable sure’ put in as allowable substitutes.

      Modern technology?

  8. Avatar
    Holte66 November 9, 2020 at 9:06 pm . Reply

    If the Nations League isn’t bad enough, why on earth does there need to be a friendly beforehand? It would slightly make sense if there were fans and revenue was raised towards the over budget Wembley. But it seems to all of us that there are more and more international fixtures introduced every year. Once upon a time getting an international cap was the ultimate achievement. Unfortunately it has been belittled with average players who have just left school getting games. Remember how many caps our English players in the 1980-1982 era got? Not many despite their success at club level.
    Nowadays getting 100 caps will be commonplace and ordinary players will be compared with the likes of Billy Wright, Bobby Charlton etc.
    I don’t know many fans who care about England games other than the Euros and World Cup actual tournaments (not qualifying)

Right or Wrong? What do YOU think?

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