The win against ManU stopped the rot in the PL for Arsenal, and the midweek win against Ole’s old team was pleasing especially for the way young Joe performed. The world was more concerned with Ol’ Joe this week, but there is talk of Willock starting in the PL. I hope he does but I wouldn’t hold my breath just yet. Arteta is looking for more consistency and it seems to me he has an established order in the squad that he will not disrupt easily. I can accept that, even if it hasn’t exactly made for exciting viewing so far.
I feel like we’re gradually improving our performances though. Some individuals still feel out of place and, of course, there remains the frustration with some individuals being left out. But for the moment this is how things are, and as long as we get top 4, there shouldn’t be much to complain about. The table is really weird at the moment. We’re in 10th but only 4 points from the top. There’s really no point worrying about all the permutations at this stage. Just take it game by game and look to stay within reach of the top.
Aston Villa are a weird opponent at the moment. They seem to blow a bit hot and cold at times but have enough talent at their disposal to cause us serious problems, as anyone who watched them destroy Liverpool knows. We have the stingiest defense in the league at the moment but will need to be careful and switched on. Jack Grealish remains their main man, but Ollie Watkins is a striker who wins his aerial battles and can score goals. Looking forward to seeing him up against Gabriel. Ross Barkley is another who can turn up on his day, and you just know somehow it will be. Still, we have Partey now and I am confident we can claim the midfield with him and Elneny/Xhaka. Tyrone Mings will be their rock at the back and a threat from set pieces.
And as I say that, I just remembered a stat I saw, we are yet to concede from corners thus season. Which is great, although I seem to recall not feeling particularly confident when facing them. Emi Martinez was a big presence for us, especially aerially, and as much as he loves Arsenal, you can bet he’ll be extra motivated to get a clean sheet and a win against us. Of course Leno is our No. 1 and he has done well, so this is no slight on him. I did really like Emi though. I also hope he has a real stinker.
Although, maybe. I should be wishing for a blinder from Auba instead. It feels like a while since he scored for us from open play. I can’t even be bothered to go back and check. But at his best he is a real handful for any defender and scores with some beautiful finishes.
Maybe it’s just a projection of how I’m feeling right now, but despite my dark memory of Villa Park, I am going to say Arsenal will pick up a win and do it playing at least 60 mins of good football. Huh, what do you know? I actually made a prediction. Now let’s hope Arteta and the team can make it come true.
Written by Shard aka @ShardGooner