Villa 1 – 0 Arsenal; Shattered, but the lads dug it out.

The post will come later, hopefully.
Immediate thoughts.
Invincibles? More like untouchables, given the amount of frees they were given. How easy do they go down?
I’d suggest it’s nearly as much as Carra does on any of the top 6 clubs. What a tool he is.
Very importantly, they had two penalty shouts and they weren’t given.

Right, it’s okay, I’m back to finish my thoughts.
Generally, after a home game, the SIL, my daughter and the grandsons come round and we discuss the game. (It’s a good excuse for a drink, really) and that’s why I didn’t finish the post last night.
And there is one point that was interesting. My first comment was that I thought the crowd was a bit subdued, probably because of nerves?
He assured me that it was every bit as loud as Wednesday night and an excellent atmosphere. “Just like going back to the eighties” was his actual reply. It surprised me, but it was nice to hear. I much prefer how Amazon set their sound up, but hey ho.

The universal opinion was that the players are obviously shot, both physically and mentally and it’s why I’m putting this victory maybe on a par with the Man City one, albeit for different reasons. If you were to try and convince me that this was actually the better performance, purely because the lads managed to somehow keep going and hold on against the team that were top of the table, you wouldn’t hear any argument from me.

I was asking for fresh legs, as you could see we were struggling with the pace of the game, even though I didn’t think it was quick. But it wasn’t just that; there was a lack of zip to our passing and it was getting us into more trouble, purely because we were constantly giving the ball away at one stage.
Fortunately, the lord Emery was all over it and saw it too. Diaby came on at half time and I suspect it was because Bailey was feeling a bit of an injury, which was perhaps convenient, because he’ll have no reason to complain about being subbed.

Ramsey came on, followed by Cash, Dendoncker and Moreno and I thought it didn’t take long to show the benefits of an injection of fresh legs.

I think it was also fairly obvious that Arsenal looked jaded too. Not as much as our lads and the extra day’s rest had no doubt helped them, but even so, I didn’t think they looked fully on it. The Luton game took a fair bit out of them, I think.
Not that I’m making any excuses for them.

The penalties were correctly not given and that’s an area where I like to think I can always give a fair honest opinion, even if it goes against us. I’m not going to discuss why they weren’t given as it’s irrelevent. Not that Arsenal fans in the comments I’ve read elsewhere agree. To pretty much a man, they think every decision went against them and there’s a massive conspiracy to do the club down.
Er, tin foil hat alert lads! Every club outside the “Big 6” has been thinking the total opposite for decades!
A lot of them also think they were fouled off the park too.
Fortunately, many also agreed with me that they’re just a diving bunch of out and out cheats, in my opinion and it’s disgusting. I read a comment that Jesus said he “felt a touch on the back of my leg”. No doubt he’s using that to justify the fact that he went down and should have been given it.
Listen, my friend. A touch on the leg is not a reason for a foul to be given. Football is still supposed to be a contact sport and it’s this sort of view that is ruining the game. Grow a pair, get up and crack on with the game.
Rant over.

What was also interesting in the dozens of comments that I’ve read, was that many actually thought we were the better side, mostly because of the way we controlled the game and mostly stopped them playing.
It’s an interesting view, but I don’t think I could go that far. Arsenal had a lot more possession and while I’m a big exponent of the “possession means nothing” theory, it did mean I thought they dominated the game and looked the bigger threat, on balance.

Still, possession doesn’t win games. Goals do and ours was excellent.
The ball from Tielemens to Bailey, then his good work in supplying McGinn, who finished with great Dalglish-like aplomb.
Something came out of McGinn’s post match interview which says it all about Emery and his coaching team’s ability, I thought. McGinn said that normally he would have hit that with his right foot, but he’d been told it’s better to turn and hit it with his left, which is what he did.

I think we’re in a very good place now and it’s not just because we’re sat third in the league and two points behind the leaders, not far off the halfway mark.
We’re also equal top in the last 5 games current form table too, with our four wins and a draw only equalled by Liverpool and Bournemouth. As has been mentioned, our draw against them looks a lot better than I thought at the time.

15 games on the trot at home, a new record for the club. We’re just breaking them all the time it seems. I’m sure we broke one for Arsenal last night too, but I can’t think what it was.

Whatever, we can’t afford to dwell and it’s onto the next game (I think Emery’s even rubbing off on me too) which is Mostar on Thursday.
I wouldn’t normally encourage it, but having seen the lads so drained last night, the manager is going to have to seriously change it up.
But that’s for Thursday.

I’m still not at a stage where I fully expect us to win every game, but I’m getting there a little bit more every time.



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  1. Badger123
    Badger123 December 15, 2023 at 6:43 pm . Reply

    Re Arsenal, I was talking to one of their fans yesterday. Born in Leeds, then had a stint in London, where he liked Ian Wright, so supported Palace.
    He then followed Wright when he went to Arse, so supported them ever since.
    I couldn’t get my head around what he was saying, because it just bamboozled me. “You followed a player, as opposed to the club?” is all I had in mind.

    Anyway, I mentioned about Emery being better than Arteta as a manager, but he wasn’t having it. Arteta is his god.
    The really mad part is he’s just happy with them challenging.
    I was just thinking, “that’s our aim and you’re supposedly above that ???”
    “What about the fans’ disrespect for Emery then?” I asked.

    “Well, he couldn’t speak very good English, could he?” he replied.

    And I ended the conversation as fast as I could, thinking “what a total knob” and from my experience, a typical example of a modern day Arsenal fan. The old school Arse fans used to be great too. Good banter and very much on a par with us, as I’ve often said 🙁

    As for Potter going to Man U, that surely can’t be serious?
    He’ll never be able to control that lot without a serious clearout, which is surely what Ten Hag wants?

    Toxic club and agreed, on a very slippery slide, imo.

    1. The Ron Saunders Stand
      The Ron Saunders Stand December 15, 2023 at 7:17 pm . Reply

      Badger, you leave our Ten alone mate, he’s doing an absolutely sterling job matey. 😊
      As for the wandering Gooner, do you expect any more?

    2. The Ron Saunders Stand
      The Ron Saunders Stand December 15, 2023 at 7:43 pm . Reply

      Does anyone have any idea how the Europa Conference league works from here on?
      I get that the winners go through to the last 16 and the runners up play third placed from the Europa league proper but what then is the format?

      1. Hitchens60 o
        Hitchens60 o December 15, 2023 at 8:45 pm . Reply

        RSS – OK this is my understanding.

        Teams finishing top of the Conference League tables go through to the ‘Round of 16’ so consisting of half that round.

        Teams finishing second go into the ‘Round of 32’ and have to play off against teams who finished third in the Europa League tables. The titles make no sense as there is actually 16 teams in the ‘Round of 32’! Anyway the 8 winners of that round on a knockout home and away basis join the 8 Conference League Winners in the ‘Round of 16’ – hope you’re still with me!

        So to the crunch – all games in the Conference are now knock out on a home and away basis. Villa go directly to the last 16 and don’t have to play a qualifying game. Villa’s next game is in March and I think we will learn our opponents in late February.

        Hope that helps!

        1. BFR
          BFR December 15, 2023 at 8:59 pm . Reply

          In other words, the Villa are 3 ties away from the final, correct?

        2. The Ron Saunders Stand
          The Ron Saunders Stand December 15, 2023 at 9:08 pm . Reply

          In Last week’s episode of Conference League, Villa, unable to beat Zrinjski but still qualified for the last 16. Fortunately Villa don’t have to play in the qualifying games.
          Now a competition called a league now becomes a knockout.
          Confused? You won’t be after this week’s episode of Europa Conference League .

          Cheers Hitch, I’m with it now.

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