What a game of football Aston Villa and Arsenal dished up. It really did have everything. A Hollywood actor in the stands, handbags on the pitch, hefty challenges, four fantastic goals and two more late in the second half which were comical. The time wasting efforts of Emi Martinez bit him on the backside in the end. Talking of comical, I thought Mikel Arteta’s impersonation of referee Simon Hooper was rather good. If not a little naughty.
Mikel Arteta being Mikel Arteta on the touchline. 😂❤️ https://t.co/uyiTC6e0tp
— afcstuff (@afcstuff) February 18, 2023
Mikel Arteta made two changes to the eleven which started against Man City with Leandro Trossard coming for Gabriel Martinelli and Ben White back in for Takehiro Tomiyasu.
Within five minutes, Aston Villa were ahead. Arsenal were in Villa’s half when Matty Cash nicked the ball off of Olesksandr Zinchenko, a bit too easily in my opinion, then hoofed his pass into the path of Ollie Watkins who shook off William Saliba with ease before firing his shot past Aaron Ramsdale and into the back of the net. All three Arsenal players could have done a whole lot better. Ramsdale was faffing around in possession a bit too much and nearly paid a heavy price for dawdling on the ball but thankfully, he got away with it.
Then we equalised thanks to a wonderful strike from Bukayo Saka. Mings headed a Ben White cross clear, at least he thought he had, but it landed at the feet of Saka. One bounce, a left footed rocket and Martinez was well beaten.
Just as I thought the players would settle, take control of the game even, Villa scored again. Arsenal’s defensive skills weren’t exactly at their best but the goal was very good. Passing, pace and a fine finish. The kind of goal Arsenal were scoring before the FA Cup fixture in Manchester.
Half-time came and went and Arsenal were desperately in need of an equaliser at least but as the players left the pitch for their slice of orange, I couldn’t see where one was coming from. The players looked lost, down and definitely out.
Eddie Nketiah hit the woodwork with a header begging to be buried into the back of the net and then we were awarded a corner. Bukayo Saka played it short to Martin Odegaard, our captain then played his pass to Oleksandr Zinchenko who was in acres of space on the edge of the box and he took a chance. A second wonderful strike by Arsenal from distance which was not only on target, but left Martinez with no chance of saving. Surely to goodness we’d hold on for a point at least.
We should have taken the lead before we eventually did though. One of the rare moments Eddie Nketiah did something really good was when he nicked the ball off of Konsa out wide, squared the ball for Captain Odegaard who had the whole goal to aim at but somehow, he dragged his shot wide of the post. He looked devastated. Villa then had a chance to take the lead through Bailey who first controlled a high ball really well, drove towards goal and rifled a shot towards goal. Ramsdale somehow got a touch to tip the ball onto the woodwork. Brilliant.
The 90 minutes were up but time wasting meant there’d be an added six minutes. Three minutes into the six, Jorginho hit a shot from twenty yards out. It smashed against the woodwork and as the ball rebounded, hit Martinez on the back of his head before landing nicely over the line. Welcome to Arsenal Jorginho!
We had one more goal in us. Villa had a corner, Martinez, against his manager’s plans, decided to go up the pitch for it. We headed it clear, Fabio Vieira picked up the clearance and ran with the ball before playing a lovely ball pass into the path of Gabriel Martinelli. He ran, and ran, and ran…
2 – 4 and Arsenal went home with three massive points in the bag….
Arsenal weren’t at their best, the defending wasn’t always very good, our attacking play unimaginative and for large periods of the game, Aston Villa looked the better team. But, when Arsenal were down and looking out, they didn’t give up. They fought long and hard, and despite looking totally devoid of confidence they earned, and I mean earned, three very big points. The players showed character and determination and as much as I love seeing Arsenal win games a lot easier than yesterday, I think that performance and result will do the whole squad a world of good.
Later in the day, Nottingham Forest scored late to draw with Man City and Chelsea dropped three more points at home against Southampton. Brighton were beaten at home by Fulham, Brentford were held to a draw by Crystal Palace and Newcastle Utd lost their match against Liverpool.
Next up for Arsenal is a trip to Leicester City.
Catch up in the comments..
Morning Rico and all,
I was relieved when we scored our first goal, as I wasn’t too confident, we would come back if it was 2 nil.
Whatever Arteta said to the players worked as slowly got on top. The one concern I had during the match, which I think Rico raised was leaving Saka on the field after getting his ankle strapped.
Great report rico, that clip is so funny of Arteta! Maybe the FA can charge Arsenal for taking the mick😀
After the game, I read the BBC live feed. The amount of people texting in during the game, laughing at Arsenals demise, Artetas failure, their Spursyness, bubble burst etc. Hope they felt stupid at end. One Arsenal fan even wanted Arteta sacked if we don’t make top four. How could they write that during a game, and at a time we are where we are in the league? I’m more sure than ever we will now be top four, minimum of third, and there are too many people reacting high and low of our position. Anything better than third is a huge bonus, and our football at times is the best in the last 10 years. Saka is a warrior, the way he carried on, and Jorginho a great buy. Again I recall Arsenal fans on Twitter who said they will never support him at out club, what twats.
Morning Geoff, Andrew.
First half, I honestly thought we were in a really bad place. Confidence look shot to pieces and our football was really average. Whatever Arteta gave them at half-time worked. Lol
I think the Jorginho fear was he’d be another Gallas, Willian etc etc but clearly, his standards are a lot higher. He might just prove to be the best signing Arsenal made in January. If Jakub Kiwior can have a similar impact then even better..
Andrew, I think a section of fans overreacted when we were top of the league. That’s not a criticism but I never really thought finishing top was possible because of the squads other managers have. For me, top four was the minimum or most realistic, purely because it would be an improvement on last season and give the club more money to spend on players etc.
The fact that we’ve been top for so long and had a great first half of the season, has been a big surprise to me but I’m loving it.
I loved the game yesterday too, but only when Martinelli scored our 4th. 😂
Rico, with all due respect, Gallas was an excellent purchase. He had to play through the height of the anti Wenger/pro Ferguson media and almost led us to the title in the 08/09 season until you know what happened.
Yusuf, we’ll have to agree to differ.
Just to clarify things, the fan who said sack Arteta was not me, I even ate my humble pie in January. 😀
Ha ha Geoff.
Good morning fellow Gooners.
To continue the theme of Rico’s headline, I would like to nominate two candidates for “……. of the season” awards.
1) Missed goal of the season. Erling Haaland for his attempt against Forest yesterday when he put the ball over the bar from four yards out which ensured a two point loss for City
2) Headed goal of the season. Emi Martinez for his blinding goal yesterday to gift Arsenal three valuable points.
You’ve missed off Odegaard’s miss of the season from yesterday too. 😆
Cicero EMI Martinez is having a good weekend, yesterday I gave him man of the match for helping us with 2 goals and receiving a yellow card. And now you have awarded him headed goal of the season. Boy what a year he is having
In the context of the two games Rico, our captain’s blooper fades into insignificance. 😉
Let’s hope we’re not one goal short on goal difference in May then Cicero. 😂
Don’t forget to add Eddies misses the last 3 games.
I refer my honourable friend, Geoff, to the answer I gave above (11.20 am). 😉
Afternoon Rico and All,
Yesterday was a day that just kept giving. Arsenal won an amazing game , Martinez made an arse of himself, Forest did us a great favour and then Liverpool beat Newcastle . I must admit ,I have no nails left and I can’t say I enjoyed watching the match until the 98th minute, but what a day.
Very concerned about Eddie and our finishing though !!!
Early days I know but Jorginho is looking a smart piece of business.
For the money they spent on Haaland, his miss yesterday was shocking but it did bring a smile to my face.
Looking at the video clip above I guess that’s another Christmas card Arteta will not be getting.😂
Afternoon Mike, icing on the cake would be a Leicester and West Ham win today..
Yeah Rico, I don’t like the way Man U are quietly catching up.
Kev, he looks a great bit of business so far. Really pleased for him yesterday, he’s played well for us but with disappointing results until now.
I wish I wasn’t such a dinosaur and cold re-post things, but my son sent me a video of the players celebrating the Martinez header and somehow Xhaka is on the pitch with them even though he’d been subbed..
Really made me chuckle.
Just a lucky patch Mike. 😆
Mike, I saw a vid taken from the away end and you can see the Martinelli goal from behind the Arsenal goal at the other end and as Vieira slides his pass to Gabby he raises his arms and both Saliba and Holding do likewise.
I love the ‘everyone is against us’ mentality that Arteta has created.
I would like to nominate the first half of today’s game between Spurs and The Hammers as the most boring 45 minutes of the season.
Glad I’m not watching then…
Rumours online suggest Potter could be sacked with Mourinho returning to Chelsea. That would be hilarious.
Kev ….. Me too, it’s great to see. There are no prima donnas in this team.
So the FA are looking into another possible fine for one of our coaching staff’s behaviour against villa, boy if this keeps up, we will have no money left, to buy players at the end of the season. 😀😀
I love it, we ain’t no softies anymore, it’s an ‘over my dead body attitude’ and the usual suspects hate it because it doesn’t suit their tired old narrative of Arsenal being on the point of imploding.
Nobody likes us but we don’t care etc.
Mo Elneny has signed on for an extra year..
there is any number of people sticking their oar in .
Let’s all laugh at Liverpool 😁
Aston Villa are willing to listen to offers for a certain Argentinean World Cup winning ‘keeper after he blotted his copy book against the Glorious Gunners last weekend.😉
Ole, ole, ole, ole, ole, Liverpool stuffed 2 – 5 at Anfield. One of those “great European nights” they liked to boast about? 😁
With him out for the rest of the season, when his contract expires, it is remarkable that Arsenal have extended Elneny’s contract. Not many clubs would reward loyalty so generously.
Just of soccer for a minute, just watched the skit on the internet from tv show South Park taking the piss out of Harry and Meghan very funny,
Morning all. I can’t laugh at Liverpool just yet… lol
New post up now