Wow, what a game! I’m exhausted just watching it.
It’s no wonder people all over the world love the Premier league, as this encounter typified what it’s all about.
It really did have the lot in debatable penalty decisions, injuries, bookings, sendings-off, a first look at Hawkeye and most importantly, goals.
Where do I start?
Well, for the first quarter of an hour, I really feared the worst. Arsenal started the brighter side and took the lead in pretty quick time with a goal from Giroud, that had the Villa defence at sixes and sevens. We really should have coped with the ball from the wide left, but after Vlaar had been caught out while impersonating a midfielder, we were a man down at the back. No comment from me about that and I’ll leave it there.
We didn’t capitulate though and far from being over-awed, we started to hold our own. Not enough to say we were the better team, but we were at least making it a bit more equal.
Then Gabby picked up a through ball and turned on the after-burners, leaving a defender for dead and making the goalie grab at his feet.
A clear penalty, which the ref decided wasn’t a scoring chance, as Gabby was going to his right. What else he was supposed to do, I don’t know, but I wasn’t complaining too much.
Benteke elected to take it and I have to say it was a shocker. It was hit with very little pace, enabling the goalie to get to the ball quite easily. Fortunately, it bounced high in the air and Benteke was quick enough to pounce for the goal.
1-1 then and we were slowly starting to look a bit better. Arsenal still looked the better side technically and often looked dangerous but they couldn’t live with our voracity. We quite frankly ran them ragged, hassled them to death and never gave them a moment on the ball.
Good tactics, which resulted in our second penalty.
It was another tackle on Gabby and not so clear cut, but the view I saw told me that Laurent Koscielny didn’t make contact with the ball, so it was justified. Just to prove I’m pretty fair minded though, I don’t believe his first booking was correct, so he was somewhat unlucky to be sent off in my opinion.
Benteke took the penalty again and this time it was much better, planted hard to the left.
2-1, but still nowhere near in the bag for me.
With Arsenal down to ten men, it always looked like an uphill struggle for them and while they obviously have the guile, they definitely don’t have the graft.
They still looked very dangerous, especially after we started to sit back more and more (something that really annoys me about the Villa), but fortunately we held on.
Does anyone have any confidence in our defence when it’s being pressed hard?
Whatever, Arsenal pushed just a little too hard and got caught out when Luna got hold of the ball just over the halfway line, leaving him to run at goal and make the goalie think he was going left, while actually shooting to the low right. A perfect start for him and one that will definitely go down in his memory.
3-1 then and a great game to watch.
I actually recall saying just the same to myself after about an hour, where I was thinking we might still lose.
A really good game and if it isn’t the starter on MOTD, I’ll be surprised.
Gabby MOTM for me, more because of his outstanding workrate which showed the team the way to go, than the penalty incidents.
Chelsea up next isn’t it?
I predict they’ll be a bit shocked this time, as we are not going to roll over like we did last season.
Anyone got a spare ticket they’d like to sell?
I’m in the smoke and would love to see this game.
Just to add to the talking points, Wenger to be sacked this season?
It certainly seems the fans want it.