Aston Villa vs Arsenal: Instant Reaction
The bounce back starts here
Straight into it.
Headline: Arsenal overcome the hangover
That first half was painful.
Arsenal had all of the ball but really it felt like none of the threat. Everythng seemed slow and labored. Aston Villa were not especially good defensively but still were able to keep Arsenal from doing too much beyond have the ball on the edge of the area.
Arsenal looked hungover and out of it. The early match Saturday has a tendency of doing that to teams and it looked like it had bitten Arsenal here and it was compounded by what I am sure was a pretty dour mood in the camp after a deflating loss and the gap at the top of the table whittled away.
It didn’t help that Aston Villa scored two goals from what were fairly marginal chances. This was the first time Arsenal had conceded two goals in the first half and it is pretty surprising that it happened here where they didn’t really concede much. At halftime, things looked very dire both on the pitch and on Arsenal Twitter.
Thankfully the team woke up and shook it off.
Arsenal started creating chances and pushing Aston Villa back.
Arsenal got a big chance that fell to Eddie Nketiah from a really good Ben White cross that he just couldn’t get down (headers are hard). There were three more decent Nketiah chances (0.13, 0.18, and 0.17) but they just couldn’t get them in but it did turn into a corner that was well struck by Oleksandr Zinchenko.
Arsenal almost took the lead right after with a very good through ball from Martin Odegaard but Nketiah’s touch took him a bit wide and the chance didn’t come.
In the 77th minute I thought the chance at all three points was gone when Nkekitah pressed well to force a turnover and then found Odegaard alone at the penalty spot where he ever so slightly miss kicked it and pulled it wide.
There was another good chance from a free kick (again Odegaard) in the 84th minutes that Gabriel couldn’t get down (headers are hard) and I thought again it was over.
Until we got this thing of beauty.
You have to give credit to Emi Martinez here, that’s a great header.
This was a really good performance for Arsenal. The scoreline and lack of urgency at halftime were worrying but also a bit of a fluke. This was very close to a classic footballing performance where Unia Emery’s team got points that they in no way deserved. I am so very glad it wasn’t the case.
Stock rising: Odegaard’s second half
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial