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.