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Aston Villa Nearly Turn A Corner In Home Defeat To Arsenal

Given Aston Villas' propensity for conceding goals from corners it would take a mischievious slant on Villa's fourth home defeat of the season to draw conclusions about the game from the 87th minute header by Yossi Banayoun that gave Arsenal all 3 points.

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Indeed, Arsenal had gained 15 corners during the game with 11 of them coming in the second half and it was from their final corner of the game when they managed to actually breach the Villa defensive line, up until this point Villa did appear quite solid defending set pieces.
While much has been made of Villa's inability to defend set pieces with a zonal marking system that is more attuned to a science class than the reality that is premiership football, there has been a lot wrong with how Villa have set up their side all season and the Arsenal game is a prime Jeckyl and Hyde example of what Villa do good and bad.
Arsenal turned up at Villa Park looking to atone from a second Manchester league defeat this season but the first 15 minutes belonged to Villa with their wingers looking to exploit the Arsenal full back injury jinx that has struck them this season.
With Alex Song suspended Arsenal were not their dominant selves in the first 15 minutes with Ciaran Clark playing like a boy possessed by winning every tackle and header in the centre of the park.
Then it all changed for young Clark as he impetulantly fouled Theo Walcott in the box for a blatant penalty and with Robin Van Persie duly despatching the ball into the roof of the net Clarks confidence drained and he imposed himself less for the remainder of the first half.
The BPL is a cruel unforgiving league and Arsenal were displaying uncharacteristic weakness and looked like a team low on confidence until their goal, up until then I sensed they were there for the taking.
The remainder of the half saw Villa huff and puff but they allowed Arsenal way too much space at the back and I envisaged another all too easy defeat to be inflicted without even a murmour of fight; And this on the hallowed Villa Park turf is not easy proposition to stomach.
With the introduction of the Arsenal substitutes the pendulum swung towards The Gunners but Villa still had their moments on the break before they succumbed to an undeserved defeat.
The second half saw a Villa team much higher up the pitch and pressing Arsenal. Villa's defence, marshalled superbly by Dunne on the night, squeezed the space at the back so they were closer to the midfield and more importantly Agbonlahor and Albrighton were chasing down every ball around the Arsenal back four and this resulted in forcing Vermaelen into an error upon which Albrighton capitalised and it was 1-1.
All of a sudden the Holte End found its voice and Villa dominated the next 15 minutes and put Arsenal under immense pressure. I am pleased to report that Villa actually played some entertaining football and showed something that has been missing all season, a concerted team effort to attack the opposition!
I did think Arsenal would fold but I must pay them respect as they defended exceptionally well and the ever astute Mr Wenger realised he had to make a change and replaced the hapless Frimpong with Rosicky who made an immediate impact to Arsenals possession football.
Yes Villa did lose but there were many positives to take from this game and if Villa can play similar to this for the remainder of the season then they will be ok.
In the first half Ireland worked his socks off and looked determined to re-establish himself in the team.
In the second half nearly everything creative Villa did went through Barry Bannan because he was playing in his best and most influential position as an attacking central midfielder.
In the second half Villa pushed up onto Arsenal which actually gave them their foothold in the game.
Dunne was magnificent marshalling the Villa defence.
Clark looked great until the penalty dented his confidence, he will learn and be a better player for it.
Albrighton again showed his tenacious determination with a commanding wing performance that terrorised Vermaelen.
N'Zogbia is starting to show his class with some sublime skill.
Alan Hutton got sent off so is ineligible for the next game.
Aston Villa vs Arsenal
Positive Villa Points From Todays Game
On that last positive, I am hoping that Herd can recover from injury to replace Hutton and Clark can retain his place as defensive midfielder for the next game.
In fact Villa desperately need Herd to play that well to force McLeish to never again pick Hutton as right back. That, coupled with the impending arrival of left back Enda Stevens could transform this Villa side into a compelling force.
It is noticeable in every game that Villa play that Hutton is allowed space to play as it can only be perceived that the opposition do not see him as an attacking threat and unfortunately they are right.

I'm sure the Lynch Bloggers will again have the knives out for McLeish but some credit is deserved today after this much improved Villa team performance against Arsenal.

Arsenal-Management-Team

Arsenal-Management-Team

Clark-Tackles-Arteta

Clark-Tackles-Arteta

Arsene-Wenger-Arsenal-Manager

Arsene-Wenger-Arsenal-Manager

Clark-Fouls-Walcott-For-Arsenal-Penalty

Clark-Fouls-Walcott-For-Arsenal-Penalty

Aston Villa vs Arsenal Dec 21st 2011

Aston Villa vs Arsenal Dec 21st 2011 Reviewed by Michael Joseph

With the introduction of the Arsenal substitutes the pendulum swung towards The Gunners but Villa still had their moments on the break before they succumbed to an undeserved defeat.

Given Aston Villas' propensity for conceding goals from corners it would take a mischievious slant on Villa's fourth home defeat of the season to draw conclusions about the game from the 87th minute header by Yossi Banayoun that gave Arsenal all 3 points

Aston Villa Rating: 3.5
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Arsenal Rating: 3.5
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Arsenal Line Up

  • GK Wojciech Szczesny
  • RB Francis Coquelin
  • LB Thomas Vermaelen
  • CH Per Mertesacker
  • CH Laurent Koscielny
  • RM Theo Walcott
  • LM Gervinho
  • AM Mikel Arteta
  • CM Aaron Ramsey
  • CM Emmanuel Frimpong
  • CF Robin Van Persie
  • Sub Manuel Almunia
  • Sub Sebastien Squillaci
  • Sub Alex Chamberlain
  • Sub Marouane Chamakh
  • Sub Yossi Benayoun
  • Sub Tomas Rosicky
  • Sub Andrey Arshavin
    Aston Villa Line Up

  • GK Brad Guzan
  • RB Alan Hutton
  • LB Stephen Warnock
  • CH Richard Dunne
  • CH Carlos Culler
  • DM Ciaran Clark
  • RM Marc Albrighton
  • CM Stylian Petrov
  • LM Charles N'Zogbia
  • CF Gabriel Agbonlahor
  • AM Steven Ireland
  • Sub Andy Marshall
  • Sub Fabian Delph
  • Sub James Collins
  • Sub Barry Bannan
  • Sub Derrick Williams
  • Sub Nathan Delfouneso
  • Sub Andreas Weimann