Villa 1 – 0 Arsenal; Great result, superb effort.

For those of you who never heard it, I have a statistic.
Today was the first time we’ve won eleven games in a season for 10 years.
Think about that for a minute.

That’s how long we’ve been a really poor side.
And a massive indicator of how far we’ve come this season.

So while I might seem a bit critical today, my comments should be put into context, where expectations are way higher this year.

So what am I going to complain about?
Not a lot really. I keep getting this nagging feeling though, that if we hadn’t got that second minute goal, that game would have made for very uncomfortable viewing.
It was a pretty good game for the neutrals I think and it certainly had me on the edge of my seat for long periods, such was Arsenal’s domination of possession around our box. It always worries me and I always get that feeling that a goal is coming imminently.
That’s what you get when you’re used to seeing us concede weakly, week in, week out.

Today though, our defence was outstanding, with Mings blocking everything that came his way.
I don’t hide the fact that I don’t rate him in the slightest, but I’d be perfectly happy to change my opinion and say I think he’s brilliant. Today, he went some way towards persuading me.
He wasn’t alone either, which is what I found so pleasing. Konsa was solid, Cash had a brilliant game defending and going forward and I couldn’t get my head around how Targett seems to have improved. He’s nothing like the wuss we all had him down as when he first joined us. He’s much more willing to put his body on the line and there was one incident where an Arsenal player ran full pelt into him and literally just bounced off him. It actually made me laugh.

So while Arsenal seemed the much more dominant side generally, they weren’t really effective. They had a few shots but not having looked at the stats and from memory, it didn’t seem like they had many on target.

When we attacked, I thought we actually looked a fair threat, but we lacked incisiveness too. It goes back to the beginning where I think I wouldn’t have been as pleased as I am if the score was 0-0.
Did we deserve the win? I’m not sure. Possibly a draw would have been a fair result, but it doesn’t matter. We got the goal and they didn’t.

So what do I think won us the game, if I think Arsenal dominated things?
It was the effort. Putting any debate about tiredness to one side, there was absolutely no sign of that today.
All the players ran their guts out and I particularly noticed Traore getting back to help out. I never really noticed him actually do anything in defence, but hey, one step at a time and he at least was in the right sort of area to offer an option for Cash, who was overloaded at times.

Barkley was much better today and worked very hard. I’m not convinced he was very effective in the middle, but he did link up with Grealish a few times and I think he did a lot of work in hustling the opposition. The midfielder wasn’t happy when he was substituted and in fact he looked livid, which led to him kicking a bottle of water in anger.
I think that’s a good thing to see. The last thing you want is a player who wants to come off.

McGinn’s workrate was improved too and he was full of energy.
Nakamba looked mostly comfortable and I feel, a big improvement on Luiz who’s been off for a good few weeks.
Traore was excellent too, being very inventive and today was definitely one of those up times for him.
Watkins’ workrate was even more astounding than ever and one time, where he must have ran back seventy yards to help out in defence demonstrated perfectly how hard the lads worked today.

It was great to see. But it made me ask myself why, if we were able to work so hard today, were we so lacklustre in the previous two games?
Complacency? While you’d hope not, it’s certainly a possibility.
But regardless, it seemed to me that Dean Smith had had a word with them.
And they responded. In spades.
I don’t think we could have asked any more of the lads today. Which I think might have changed my mind.

Did we deserve the win?
Too bloody right we did!

Well done lads and Up the Villa!

32 Comments

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  1. Avatar
    Warrior February 7, 2021 at 8:56 am .

    Badger 123. Spot on we definitely watched the same game I agree with every comment you’ve made VTID Warrior

  2. Avatar
    Originallondonlion February 7, 2021 at 2:53 pm .

    I will come to Nath’s defence. What he meant by “if Villa did not score that goal they would have scored another” was Villa changed their tactics, as did Arsenal, once Villa went ahead early. If the score had remained longer at 0-0 Villa would have been more adventurous. Not “that Villa would have scored a second” which some replies assume.

    In our defeats this season outside Manchester, Villa’s approach to the game exuded confidence that we could beat them easily. Leeds, Brighton, Saints, Burnley, Hammers. We were picked off when our defence was thin, in most cases when our full-backs had been raiding up-field or overloaded with a 2v1 that we had not countered.

    1. Avatar
      Guest February 8, 2021 at 3:36 pm .

      I doubt we even had time to implement any tactics before the goal, let alone change them after we scored.

  3. Avatar
    DSVilla February 8, 2021 at 6:53 pm .

    Just a (slightly) negative thought. Ignoring the cup match against Liverpool we have managed 9 goals in the last 8 games. If we don’t improve that it pretty much means we need to keep a clean sheet to win. Fortunately we have done that a few times. I think we are capable of scoring more freely. We have some creative players in the final 3rd but for some reason it hasn’t quite clicked. I don’t think we make enough chances for Watkins with early crosses from advanced positions. Yes he misses a few but he will score plenty given the ammunition.

    We scored 3 against Palace in the match before that run. It would be nice to get that kind of score against Brighton, but it isn’t easy as we all know.

    1. Avatar
      badger123 February 8, 2021 at 10:19 pm .

      Ooh, that’s a great point DS.

      It’s as you say though, we do keep clean sheets.
      Boring, boring Villa, with the 1-0s?
      Fortunately, we’re anything but.
      But point very seriously taken.
      What happens if Watkins gets injured?

      The thought of having to rely on Davis scares me. As much as I like him as an attacker, he will never be a goalscorer as long as I have a hole in my proverbial. It’s just not there and can’t be taught much.

      Not messing around so much might help too. There’s only one thing worse than not shooting or passing it if you have a chance and that’s passing back to the goalie from the opposition’s half!
      Boils my piss, that last point.

  4. Avatar
    Holte66 February 9, 2021 at 3:14 pm .

    Passing back to our keeper has become more noticeable recently. Even my missus commented that we had a corner in the last game and the ball ended up being passed back to Martinez within seconds! I’m almost certain that Smith uses Citeh as a model for his style of play. They will happily go from front to back to retain possession. If we end up as successful as them I won’t complain.

    Whilst I think we are making really good progress and described as the most improved premier league team, I still think we are punching above our weight a little bit. We have been far luckier than last season with regards to injuries. As Badger highlighted, we would be in the brown stuff if Watkins got injured. I predicted a while back that Leeds would finish above us and I still think that’s likely. They are getting stronger as the season goes on and I think they could break into the top 6. As for Villa, I think we are more or less where I would expect us to finish at the end of the season, assuming we steer clear of too many injuries.

    It’s weird that we haven’t got a midweek game. The fact that Brighton have a cup game tomorrow while we can have a rest I hope works in our favour. I suppose it depends on how seriously Brighton take the cup game. It would mean that there are no excuses for fatigue in our players anyway.

  5. Avatar
    Bill Pearson.. February 9, 2021 at 5:39 pm .

    Ramsey has signed a new contract for 4 1/2 year till 2025 .

  6. Avatar
    Bill Pearson.. February 10, 2021 at 3:10 pm .

    John Terry having a interview tomorrow at Bournemouth, wish him the best.

  7. Avatar
    Bill Pearson.. February 10, 2021 at 8:48 pm .

    He won’t get it Both, I reckon Lampard dismissal won’t help as having big name players was to draw crowds and even Lampard didn’t do well. Gerrard getting away with it being a Scottish league. It’ll go to an older head person.

  8. Avatar
    Bum Bum February 11, 2021 at 9:09 am .

    Is JTs interview via Zoom?
    I wonder if he’ll turn the kitten feature on by accident???!!!

    1. Avatar
      Adam February 11, 2021 at 11:29 am .

      Hi, JT here, i’m not a cat haha…. Good luck to him. Seems like he has Claret and Blue in his blood now, if he does go i’m glad he has been with us and part of the team that has seen us progress so rapidly. I also must agree on this passing back to Martinez all the time. I dont have a problem with it until we are in a position where we could cross the ball in to the box but instead pass it all the way back for there to be no movement off the ball and then Martinez has to lump it to Traore, Grealish or Watkins only more often than not that’s when we lose possession. I get that is the way the best teams play but those teams movement off the ball is world class as is their confidence in playing this way, its just pass, move, pass, move, pass, move and they’re in space and on the attack again. We haven’t mastered this yet. It winds me up, how often we have it in defence and i’m shouting saying MOVE in to space. when I played Sunday League my manager always said, we should never be standing still, give him an option. That basic skill we sadly lack at times (not all the time) but we dont do it all the time like the best teams i.e. City. If we start moving in to space more and allowing that quick 1 or 2 touch passing and the whole team are on board we wouldn’t need to lump it as much as we do and we could retain a lot more possession. I mainly notice it when Martinez, Targett, Mings or Cash have the ball. To be honest that is my only issues with us and considering where we were last season WOW so happy with us right now. Cant wait for Wesley to come back it will be like a new signing.

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