Aston Villa 1-0 Arsenal: Tough Night at Villa Park

Aston Villa 1-0 Arsenal: McGinn goal hands Unai Emery's side vital win over  Gunners - Businessday NG

Match Report – Match Highlights – Post-Match Press Conference

Final Result: Aston Villa 1-0 Arsenal (McGinn 7′)

Arsenal XI (4-3-3): Raya; Zinchenko (Nelson 94′), Saliba, Gabriel, White; Rice, Odegaard, Havertz; Martinelli (Trossard 70′), Saka, Jesus (Nketiah 82′)

Arsenal knew that Aston Villa were certainly no pushovers, with Unai Emery’s side coming into the game high in confidence after their impressive showing against the defending champions, Manchester City. 

However, the Gunners began the contest well with Gabriel Martinelli swinging a cross to Bukayo Saka’s direction but the Starboy’s control failed him, as the ball crept away from his feet. Aston Villa opened the scoring early on, and it proved to be the match winner when Leon Bailey kickstarted an attack from the right with Oleksandr Zinchenko out of position. Bailey received the ball from Youri Tielemans and bore down on goal with Gabriel tracking back instead of going for the tackle. Bailey’s cut back found John McGinn that had acres of space in the six-yard box before blasting the ball home.

That was shambolic defending at best with Zinchenko, Gabriel and Ben White culpable for the goal conceded.

Kai Havertz won the ball further up the pitch and fed Saka for a good chance, but the winger hesitated before firing a shot that was blocked by Diego Carlos. Shortly afterwards, Saka created a half chance for himself and curled the ball to the far corner, but Emiliano Martinez was on hand to make a routine save.

With Aston Villa keeping a high line, Gabriel dinked the ball over the defense to the path of Martinelli that lobbed an onrushing Martinez but neither Jesus nor Saka was close to the danger area to attack the ball. The offside flag spared their blushes anyway. The biggest chance for Arsenal fell at the feet of captain, Martin Odegaard, that received a first time pass from Jesus in the penalty spot and chose precision ahead of power, allowing Martinez to make a diving save. 

Late in the first half, Jesus fired a shot that was saved by Martinez. Early in the second half, Jesus was clearly impeded in the box but Arsenal’s penalty claims fell on deaf ears. Saka swung in a corner that left Martinez scrambling as he parried the ball to Ollie Watkins’ back, but luckily for the Aston Villa goalie, the ball ricocheted to the post before he smothered it. A few inches and it would have been an embarrassing own goal. 

Aston Villa soaked a lot of Arsenal pressure and managed to come out of the blocks when Lucas Digne fashioned a chance for himself but David Raya made the save. Arsenal put the ball at the back of the net when Saka responded swiftly to a diagonal ball, chipping the onrushing Martinez and guiding the ball to the unguarded net but the goal was rightly ruled out for offside. If Saka had timed his run well, that would have been the well-deserved equalizer.

With Arsenal going for broke, some spaces were left at the back as Moussa Diaby drilled a cut back to Watkins that hit the ball hard but Raya made a good save. Late on, there was some VAR controversy as a cross deep into the Aston Villa box was attacked by Havertz and Matty Cash, but a free kick was awarded to the home side after the review. Following the goalmouth scramble, Havertz had poked the ball into the net, but it was ruled out. 

Added time was not enough, as Arsenal failed to return to the top of the table, after ousted by Liverpool’s narrow victory over Crystal Palace early in the day. Aston Villa’s win also put them on an impressive 35 points, one behind Arsenal and two behind Premier League leaders, Liverpool.

Mikel Arteta rued the missed opportunities in his post-match presser and the captain wants out heads to remain held high. Unlike the Man City game at Villa Park where they were outclassed with Aston Villa having 22 shots to their two, Arsenal had 12 shots to Aston Villa’s 10, four big chances that were not taken and a whopping 62 percent possession.

However, the most important stat was the one on the score board, and at the end of the day, it was three points dropped in a tough night at Villa Park.


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Aston Villa Preview: Another Thriller at the Villa

Aston Villa v Arsenal player ratings: Mings 5, Coutinho 7; Saka 8, Jorginho  8

Aston Villa, under the tutelage of Unai Emery, has gained massive reputation for having one of the best home records in the Premier League, winning 14 consecutive games at Villa Park. This run started in March 2023 with a narrow win over Crystal Palace (1-0), and what followed were wins over Bournemouth (3-0), Nottingham Forest (2-0), Newcastle (3-0), Fulham (1-0), Tottenham (2-1) and Brighton (2-1), which saw Aston Villa finish in an impressive seventh place at the end of the campaign.

Aston Villa’s mazy run of 10 victories from their last 15 Premier League matches of the season was a great feat, as it allowed them to qualify for the last available European spot ahead of the likes of Tottenham and Chelsea. A run so good, that they have replicated the same form this season, qualifying for the next round of the UEFA Conference League with a game to spare.

Unai Emery and his Aston Villa side continued their home winning streak this season, starting with a 4-0 win over Everton, and followed up with victories over Crystal Palace (3-1), Brighton (6-1), West Ham (4-1), Luton (3-1), Fulham (3-1) and the most impressive victory of the run, the 1-0 win over Manchester City that saw them have 22 shots, to Man City’s two, which was the lowest ever recorded from a Pep Guardiola team in his 595 matches managed thus far.

Guess who defeated Aston Villa at home before this unprecedented run started? Oh, you guessed right – Arsenal.

Arsenal’s last match at Villa Park in February 2023 was pure cinema, starting with Ollie Watkins scoring early in the game. Bukayo Saka equalized for the Gunners, but some poor defending from Ben White allowed Philippe Coutinho to put the Villans ahead going into half time. The second half saw the Gunners rally with Oleksandr Zinchenko scoring the equalizer, which turned out to be his maiden Arsenal goal. Late on, a Jorginho shot bounced off Emiliano Martinez to win it for Arsenal. The points were secured when Gabriel Martinelli scored from a counter after Martinez went to attack a corner.

Both Aston Villa and Arsenal have gone into the new season in very good form, with the home side currently in third place, which is a testament of the great things Emery is doing in the club. They are a far cry from the tactically inept team that languished in the lower echelons of the table under Steven Gerrard.

To team news, Aston Villa would be looking to welcome Bertrand Traore back to the fold after a lengthy spell out of action, while their long term absentees, Emiliano Buendia and Tyrone Mings, are still recuperating from knee surgeries. We could see the likes of Matty Cash and Moussa Diaby return to the starting XI after missing out on the Man City game for tactical reasons. Arsenal, on the other hand, has a fresh injury concern, with Takehiro Tomiyasu set to miss at least four to six weeks following a calf strain. Arsenal are already without Jurrien Timber, Thomas Partey, Fabio Vieira and Emile Smith Rowe.

Arsenal will go into this game with Mikel Arteta on the stands after garnering three yellow cards, but I’m certain he will still be able to communicate with the coaching staff in the dugout, as he watches the game from there. Arteta will know that he has a fight on his hands today following the quotes from Unai Emery in his press conference,

“I’m going to be very deeply analysing how we can face the match tomorrow, hopefully being better in our performances individually and collectively. How we finished the match on Wednesday is very important because they did an amazing effort, but a hard effort. 

“If you want to play at this level, playing against the best teams in the world in the Premier League, the challenge is very hard. Our ambition is for an exciting moment with our supporters with the rivals we want to face and how we can face them. Tomorrow is another step ahead, playing against maybe the best team in this season in the Premier League.”

This is certainly going to be an exciting match and I trust the fans to brace themselves for some quality football on display.

Aston Villa and Arsenal Predicted Lineups

Aston Villa: Martinez; Cash, Konsa, Torres, Digne; Kamara, Luiz; Tielemans, McGinn; Bailey, Watkins.

Arsenal: Raya; White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko; Odegaard, Rice, Havertz; Saka, Jesus, Martinelli.

Injury / Suspension Updates

Aston Villa: Tyrone Mings, Emiliano Buendia (knee)

ArsenalJurrien Timber, Emile Smith Rowe (knee), Thomas Partey (thigh), Fabio Vieira (groin), Takehiro Tomiyasu (calf)

Form Guide

Aston Villa

  • Last Five Games: W D W W W
  • Last Result: Aston Villa 1-0 Manchester City (Bailey 74′)
  • Leading Goalscorer: Ollie Watkins (13)

Arsenal Form

  • Last Five Games: W W W W W
  • Last Result: Luton Town 3-4 Arsenal (Osho 24′, Adebayo 48′, Barkley 56′ | Martinelli 19′, Jesus 44′, Havertz 59′, Rice 97′)
  • Leading Goalscorer: Bukayo Saka (8)

Gooner Daily predicts a 2 – 1 win.

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A Tale of Touchline Bans and Another Spurs Loss

Fans 'lose their heads' over Mikel Arteta getting ban just for celebrating  at Luton - Daily Star

The Premier League continued to serve its drama as Spurs found themselves on the end of yet another loss at the hands of West Ham United. Just like the previous games against Chelsea, Wolves and Aston Villa, Spurs scored first and ended up with the L. That has to be a record. 

They started well with Pedro Porro swinging in a cross that was headed by Cristian Romero past ex-Gunner, Lukasz Fabianski, to put Spurs ahead, but the equalizer arrived when Mo Kudus fired a shot that ricocheted off two Spurs defenders before falling kindly to Jarrod Bowen’s path. The winger picked his spot and smashed the ball to the roof of the net while Gigi Vicario scrambled on the ground to make a save.

The match winner was pure comedy as Destiny Udogie gifted a pass to Bowen but Vicario surged forward and blocked the West Ham striker. However, the ball went to James Ward Prowse whose initial shot clipped the post but he rebounded the ball to an empty net to put the game beyond doubt.

After flying high early in the season and winning three consecutive Manager of the Month awards, Ange Postecoglou, or Poste-No-Clue, has continued to maintain his gung-ho football approach, refusing to adapt and has had the well-deserved losses to show for it. The Chelsea game that started the rot was quite unfortunate with Spurs losing Romero and Udogie getting sent off, and it was a double whammy as the club lost two talismanic players, James Maddison and Micky van de Ven to injuries.

The Wolves game was funny really, with Brennan Johnson scoring early and the visitors having full control of the game but a late rally saw Spurs concede two late goals. You can attribute bad luck to the loss against Aston Villa with Heung-Min Son scoring three goals that were ruled out for offside.

St. Totteringham’s Day looking very realistic and long may it continue.

Elsewhere, Arsenal will be without their charismatic manager, Mikel Arteta, in the touchline against Unai Emery in Villa Park after he picked his third yellow card of the season for his exaggerated celebrations in the dugout following that sweet Declan Rice goal right at the death against Luton Town

“I could not be seated in my seat, unfortunately. I left there, I had no special awareness at all. It was pure emotion. If that’s a yellow…okay, that’s a yellow.”

Apparently, there is a lower threshold for coaches, with three bookings earning them a suspension, which will be challenging for Arsenal, as they visit one of the most feared grounds in Europe, with Aston Villa winning 14 consecutive games in a row in Villa Park. Arsenal’s last visit to Villa Park was a thriller, with the Gunners running out as 4-2 winners. 

I’d preview the Villa game tomorrow.


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