Arsenal brought back to earth by Aston Villa

Inconsistency plagued Arsenal yet again on Saturday in their 0-0 away draw at Aston Villa. It was another pair of valuable points dropped to one of the Premier League’s lesser lights. It wasn’t a bad game, but it wasn’t a great one either. The Gunners played some attractive passing football at times, but didn’t really create many scoring chances inside Villa’s 18-yard box.
After coming off of 5-2 and 2-0 wins over Tottenham and Montpellier in the Champions League, more was expected from the team at Villa Park. Some will question manager Arsene Wenger’s team selections as Kieran Gibbs and Carl Jenkinson were brought in for the back four while Jack Wilshere was left out of midfield for Aaron Ramsey. Villa was without their top marksman in Darren Bent and to be honest, they don’t have a very strong squad to start with. Man City ripped them to pieces last week with a 5-0 thumping.
It looked like Arsenal didn’t work hard enough and may have just taken a win for granted. Too many layers had mediocre games and the substitutes, Gervinho, Andrey Arshavin and Francis Coquelin didn’t have much of an impact at all. Lukas Podolski didn’t have one of his better games, but he’s still a goal scoring threat when on the pitch, as is Olivier Giroud, and when the team needs a goal to earn points, they’re probably better left on the pitch. It was understandable why Wenger took Podolski off yesterday in the 70th minute though and replaced him with Gervinho. However, with the team desperately in need of a goal, Wenger took Giroud off with just four minutes to go and replaced him with a defensive midfielder in Coquelin in a head-scratching move to most fans.
This was a game, that going into it, Arsenal should have taken all three points. But the team’s inconsistent performance meant they didn’t earn them. Villa hasn’t beaten the Gunners at home since way back in 1998 and most supporters figured it would be a routine victory. The game just goes to show that players always need to put their best effort in or they will pay for it by dropping crucial points. The football crossed the goal line just once in the match, and fortunately for Arsenal when Villa striker Andreas Weimann deposited into the net, he was ruled to be offside.
The Gunners best chance fell to defender Laurent Koscielny in the 43rd minute, but his shot went sailing over the crossbar from about five yards out. Anyway the match is over now and there’s no point moaning over it with a huge game coming up during the week against Everton. Let’s just look at how Arsenal players fared against Villa though before focusing on the next match
Wojciech Szczesny-7
The Polish international keeper didn’t have much to do, but he was there when called upon. His best save was tipping a wicked Brett Holman shot over the crossbar late in the game to keep his clean sheet and earn a point.
Carl Jenkinson 7
Jenkinson played well in the wet and windy conditions. His main job is defending and he performed it well enough.
Per Mertesacker 7
Another solid game from the German international. He kept Villas’ Gabriel Agbonlahor in check and was steady all the way through.
Laurent Koscielny 6.5
He didn’t have a great game nor a bad one. He was average on the day and didn’t make any big mistakes. Sent his shot over the bar in the first half with one of arsenal’s best scoring chances.
Kieran Gibbs 7
The English international Gibbs played pretty well and made some nice runs. He has something to offer when he’s healthy.
Mikel Arteta 6.5
Arteta’s definitely a skilled player, but he was more or less invisible against Villa most of the time.
Aaron Ramsey 7
Ramsey takes a lot of stick from some fans, but he played well enough. He put in a good effort and tried his best to be creative.
Santi Cazorla 6.5
It wasn’t one of the Spaniard’s best games. He played some nice football, but not as much as supporters are used to.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain 5.5
The young and speedy English international didn’t really add anything to the attack at all. Was subbed in the 77th minute.
Olivier Giroud 7
The French international centre forward is proving to be a pretty good player in the Premier League. He still squanders too many chances, but has improved greatly since the start of the season. He’s still got a way to go to reach his peak, but at least he’s heading in the right direction. Was subbed in the 86th minute.
Lukas Podolski 5.5
The German international simply wasn’t in the game against Villa for whatever reason. He’ll need to bounce back with a good game against Everton though. Was subbed in the 70th minute.
Gervinho 70th minute
Didn’t add anything to the team and hopefully he’s not just an early-season wonder.

Andrei Arshavin 77th minute
Had an average performance.
Francis Coquelin 86th minute
Not even sure why he was brought on.

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