Arsenal (1) – (3) Aston Villa
The Emirates Stadium, London
Barclays Premier League
It’s the morning after the night before and I am still absolutely furious.
What can you say about that? Before kick off this was an game that on paper we should have won comfortably – we were at home, against Aston Villa who struggled last season and even though we had a few injuries we had the quality in the line-up to really pick up the 3 points.
But what followed once the first whistle was blown quickly turned into a shambles.
I’m trying not to overreact but the emotions are still raw. So I’ll try and be as honest as I can about the match.
First of all, the referee was poor. Not that was an excuse for the poor performance and defeat, but it did make a difference. The first penalty decision was correct – Szczesny was far too reckless and got nowhere near the ball when Agbonlahor was sent tumbling and there is absolutely no argument with that decision. The second penalty decision however was incorrect. Alan Shearer may have the luxury of multiple action replays and slow motion but in real time, it was never a penalty. Technically it was a penalty but there’s no way in real time that the referee could have been 110% Koscielny didn’t connect with the ball first. Even the linesman didn’t give it. I try to base decisions on what the referee saw (and not action replays show) and I can’t see how he could have given that decision.
Then the Koscielny sending off. It was a reckless swipe but he didn’t connect with Weimann and for me it wasn’t even a booking even if there was a touch. The referee was far too eager to dish out the second yellow and he made a lot of mistakes in the match.
But would it have mattered? We can only speculate. The fact was Arsenal were sloppy, lethargic and didn’t deserve to win the game. Aston Villa may have parked the bus but they were decisive, direct and deserved all 3 points.
And that is indisputable.
And if we weren’t injury ravaged enough before the game, we managed to pick up even more injuries yesterday as well. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Bacary Sagna and Kieran Gibbs all picked up injuries and it is unclear how Tomas Rosicky and Jack Wilshere will be for next week. There are also concerns about Aaron Ramsey after he picked up a kick on his ankle.
And with Laurent Koscielny about to be suspended, we really are working with a threadbare squad.
If that wasn’t frustrating enough, Arsene Wenger said after the game after being asked why no money had been spent:
“I can return your question. Could we have won the game with the players that were on the pitch today? That’s for me the real question. And I say yes. After that, if we do not spend the money, it’s because we do not find the players.
“I’m not the only one to work on that. We are a team who work on that. We are ready to buy the players if we find that the players are good enough for us. That’s all we can tell you.”
Well clearly the players on the pitch couldn’t win the game could they Arsene?
You could ask the same question after we lost to Blackburn Rovers in the Fifth Round of the FA Cup last season at home? And how about when we lost to Bradford City in the Capital One Cup as well?
This is turning into one pathetic joke.
We don’t have any new additions to the squad, we’re making the same old stupid defensive mistakes (what happened to the solid form we had in the last 10 games of last season), the fans are increasingly frustrated and the players we do have aren’t performing at the level they should be.
After a decent pre-season, why did we look so lethargic against Aston Villa?
If anyone can explain why we are in this almighty mess, please enlighten me.
The post-match interview with Jack Wilshere was devastating to watch. Clearly upset, he urged the fans to back the team and see how they do over the next few months. But he, more than anyone, knows the disappointment all the Arsenal fans feel. He mentioned fans paying to see the team and it’s obvious that Arsene Wenger has let the club down. When you see Jack Wilshere desperate for quality players to come to Arsenal to make them real competitors then you feel for the kid, you really do. He deserves to be playing in a top quality team that can seriously compete for honours.
The only positive we can take from this, is that Arsene Wenger might get his finger out and actually make a fucking signing.
If Aston Villa can rip us apart in our own back yard, then what are Fenerbahce capable of?
It’s too scary to even think about.