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Arsenal’s 3-0 Loss To Villa: “Who could Have Predicted This”?

Ozil playing Fortnite at home while Arsenal is trashed by Villa

Let us not beat around the bush. Arsenal were trashed by Villa yesterday. From start to finish the Villans put the Gunners under attacking pressure, whenever they gained possession. They put the ball in the back of the net within 46 seconds of the game starting, which was eventually disallowed by VAR, and deep into the additional time Ross Barkley forced a defensive block and a Leno save from goalbound shots.  It could easily have been 6-0 given their numerous shots on target which were stopped by the hand of fortune including a magnificent clearance off the line in the 72nd minute by Ceballos.

But the pundits and, I daresay, most Arsenal fans seem surprised by this result. Even Uncensored’s ShardGooner was somewhat optimistic in his match preview, breaking a pledge he made last season, and making a prediction of an Arsenal victory. But Shard did warn that Villa has enough talent at their disposal to cause us serious problems. Furthermore, despite his optimism. Despite his optimism, Shard only expected at best 60 minutes of “good football” under Arteta’s regime.

Even in his worst nightmare, I doubt Shard expected so convincing a Villa margin of victory.

While this blog and a few others, especially my good friend George at PositivelyArsenal.com, have warned repeatedly that Arteta’s brand of football is too defensive, rigid, structured and dependent on Arsenal accepting that it is 2nd best to more attacking teams, almost all mainstream pundits have been willfully blind to the defects in Artetaball. Nobody is more representative of this lazy, mainstream thinking than Ian Darke, Skysports commentator, who was again on my broadcast feed (Andy Townsend being his usual accomplice). After virtually fellating Arteta throughout much of the 1st half, highlighting Arsenal’s victory over Man United last week and the two cup wins last season, poor Mr. Darke was so surprised and flabbergasted by Villa’s dominance, at the 72nd minute mark, he asked, with all profoundity and seriousness, “who could pave predicted this”?

Poor Townsend gave his usual anodyne, clichéd response; “they are worryingly flat.”

Glossing over the negatives and blocking-out Ozil

Although Arsenal had a historic win at United last week, almost all  mainstream media glossed over the fact that Arsenal has been poor at creating shots all season and this was evident ever since Arteta went into that low block, defence-first football since Project Restart. So bad is Arsenal at creating shots, at United we only had 7 shot attempts with 2 on target. The media downplayed the fact that the only goal we scored was not from open play but a penalty caused by a ridiculous tackle by a so-called big-player, who would be expected to use better judgment. In fact Arsenal has gone 4 straight PL games without a goal from open play.

Most of all, while mainstream media heaped well-deserved praises on Arteta for his clever tactics at United (being disciplined, energetic, keeping it tight, yadda, yadda…), they maintained their continued blackout of any discussion as to how and why Mikel Arteta and his bosses have excluded and failed to register in their playing squad, the PL’s best attacking-midfielder, Mesut Ozil, letting him sit at home playing Fortnite, while the team struggles to create chances.

No wonder Ian Darke and his cohorts are simply useless at giving any coherent explanation of the struggles Arsenal will face when they play any decent mid and upper table team who will let them have the ball, especially at home. If such a team can create chances and score on the counter-attack, Arsenal is virtually guaranteed to lose the match.

This is exactly what Villa did. Possession was 59% – 41% in favor of the Gunners who did fook-all in creating chances, unless you think flinging crosses in the box in the hope Lacazette will get a decent header is a significant threat to Emi Martinez, who loves them high, or to Tyrone Mings who apparently drank mother’s milk on defensive headers. Final stat was Villa 15-shots, 6 –on target. Arsenal, in contrast, had 13-shots, only 2-on target. At home we are outshot. Fooking hell.

Midfield dominance

There was a time when Arsenal used to field swarms of attacking midfielders versus Villa, dominating possession and creating chances, forcing the opposition deep into their defensive 3rd, desperate to win the ball back for a counter attack. I even remember a year in the noughties when Villa were in their pomp, desperate to get top-4; we went to their place with Hleb (and Fabregas) running riot over them and despite him getting a kicking we left the midlands victorious.

Yesterday the tables were turned 180 degrees. It was Grealish and Barkley running the rule over the Emirates. Grealish usually started out wide on the left and coming inside to combine with Watkins. Barkley did most of his work on the inside. Clearly we got the wrong Chelsea player. Obviously Kia Jaroobchian is not his agent.

The key point about the Grealish-Barkley combo is, while Villa strengthened with two attacking Midfielders, Arsenal picked up a worn out second-hand Willian to play the role and for “footballing reasons” decide to bin Ozil from the squad. Instead our central midfield is dominated by two destroyers who tackle and distribute. Poor old Elneny was then expected to carry the ball forward and create, something he’s never been renown for in his entire career. Who ever thought the DM combo was a good idea playing at home?

None of the foregoing facts Ian Darke or the well paid frauds, acting as experts on NBC-Peacock, are prepared to discuss in a fair, balanced, uncensored fashion. No wonder so many Arsenal fans couldn’t have predicted a Villa victory. Unfortunately, if we keep playing this Artetaball, we may get a big result here and there but I predict more upsets by teams we are expected to beat.

Dollars for donuts is my bet.


  1. Rosicky@ArsenalNovember 9, 2020 at 3:01 am

    I am speechless Shotta.As I am from an Asian country and the time zone does not allow me to watch the late Arsenal matches .I was not expecting a loss to the villains at our home ground.
    It is getting from bad to worse now. Are we seeing another Emery in the guise of Arteta?

    But Kudos to you and George for highlighting the mistake Arteta is doing since the season started.
    The other blogs kept on with their anti Arsenal and Anti Wenger agenda but you were right that with this defensive mind set we will be midtable at best.
    We may win some matches as we surprised the top clubs by winning the FA cup but our league form will remain poor with Artetaball.

    I was wondering if Freddie left the club because he could not cope with Arteta way of playing football. Your take on that shotta?

    Will the idiot fans who made fun of Wenger and called 4th place is not enough accept their mistake of saying that once Arsene leaves the club we will win the league in a canter.

  2. Not even in my worst nightmare, much less Shard’s warning in his preview, did I foresee such a demolition even though I expected a good game from Villa. But then despite my conviction that Emery was bad, I didn’t expect it to go downhill so fast in his 2nd season. This is exactly the same as Arteta I fear. Most fans are still in denial though.

  3. Rosicky@ArsenalNovember 9, 2020 at 4:46 am

    Did we ever lost to Villa at home during Wengers 20 years regime?
    I think never….

  4. The writing is on the wall.

    The whole season of poor, insipid performances, peppered by uninspiring wins against teams even worse than us, has led still not clicked to the many who hope and pray that Arteta will save us , and have misled themselves into believing that he is a wonderful coach/manager with great potential.

    We have experianced game after game of nil creativity and pathetic numbers of shots in the vicinity of the goal and yet there are so many still giving 7s and 8s to undeserving players when assessing their contribution to the sorry catalogue of pathetic displays.

    I have no doubt that what we are seeing is relegation material, which could become a reality if those teams even worse than us buck up whilst we don’t.

    Arteta is becoming Emery with a better English accent.

    Even though the players may understand him better, the message he is giving is cleary as defective as his predecessor’s and is leading us to disaster.

    The omission of Ozil for “foortballing reasons” looks even more ridiculous now than it did when Arteta found himself forced to make fool of himself to say it.

    The future is not bright and getting dimmer by the day.

    Whilst I appreciate that I am a pessimist, but what is there here to make me feel anything else.

    • I don’t see this as pessimism, these are my sentiments exactly. The whole thing is jacked up. This IS a continuation of Emery. Arteta comes across as if he thinks he is the smartest man in the room, his press conferences are rubbish with the none sense he spouts, he throws his players under the bus, he is defensive minded, it all about “effort” and he cannot manage flair players.
      Hardly anyone on the team looks good! there is no way that that is down to the players. These are some talented and accomplished players that are being coached down, again, just as with Emery!

      We are only Arsenal by name at the moment.

  5. sean vassalloNovember 9, 2020 at 11:11 am

    I actually thought Arteta was going to be the “don’t tell me what to do with my team” kind of manager but in actual fact just does what the board tell him to do.I remember people saying give him everything he needs otherwise he will leave!!Based on yesterdays gave he can leave whenever he wants.If you’re going to accept being a punching bag for the board then just get out.Wenger used to defend the club because he loved it.Arteta just defends the board so he can keep his job.

  6. The Kroenkes will hang unto Arteta as long as they can. Only when the fans protest against this downward slide will they let him go.

  7. Can’t argue with a word. We are an awful team.

  8. I think the kroenkes have already hung him out to dry with the ‘footballing reasons’.

    Having allowed himself to be used like that once, how long before he has had enough?

    Perhaps the question is how long before the kroenkes have had enough?

    It may be that the situation behind the scenes is more fraught than we realise.

  9. Was not going to comment as it only seems i comment when we lose but people seem to think that now Arteta will start using his plan B of releasing all the forwards and attacking midfielders at once and abandoning his emery imitation. Deluded. People wont even recognise that he has as bad a record or worse than emery at this time.

    Sad to say the spirit of Moyes has settled deep within that one and my respect for anything he has done in the past is out the window for him saying that it is his decision and for footballing reasons that our best and most creative player that is getting paid a fortune is not even registered to play football.
    Then he wants to moan about creativity.

    He is worse than emery in my eyes as he had the history of playing at Arsenal, he had experience of the Arsenal class, the playing style, expectations etc and he still served us this bullshit and threw Ozil under the bus.

    I see a still image from last nights game of 9 players on the edge of our 6 yard box against Villa like we was playing Bayern Munich – WTF!!

    If this is all from the board then he is spineless and stands for nothing and falls on his knees every time the board say drop.

  10. Sorry that should be *penalty area not 6 yard box.


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