Aston Villa 1 – 2 Arsenal: Match Thoughts And Individual Analysis

What a result! Tough game, battling performance, well-earned points. Not vintage but victorious nonetheless.

I was surprised to see Coquelin in the starting line-up at Right Back as Arsene has said in the past the youngster doesn’t isn’t suited to the role. Perhaps it was due to Miquel’s errors at City. Did Wenger expect N’Zogbia to play on the left and feel the Spaniard would struggle against him? Whatever the reason, Arsenal had two young players in defensive positions and that gave Villa a good chance.

In the first half, the Gunners controlled a lot of the ball but most of the attacking moves were coming from the hosts. A number of balls flashed across the Arsenal box as the visitors struggled to defend their flanks. But the fact that Villa didn’t have any other attacking options except this ultra-low percentage wing-play meant that Szczesny wasn’t seriously troubled in goal. Only one save from a header from Agbonlahor comes to mind.

Arsenal’s defence also deserves credit for their tackling/pressure in the box which meant Villa didn’t get any free shots on goal. For instance, Ramsey did superbly to thwart Agbonlahor in the 11th minute when the hosts broke forward from an Arsenal corner. There were a number of other blocks/clearances/interceptions from the Gunners that protected Szczesny and the goal behind him.

Tactically, Arsenal were struggling to cover the flanks and the overall defensive shape wasn’t very good but the players made it harder for the hosts in front of goal.

Arsenal’s opener came against the run of play to an extent. Villa’s goal hadn’t been threatened by the 17th minute. Walcott deserves credit for his quick thinking and nifty footwork that allowed him to beat Clark and get into the box. The Villa midfielder pulled Theo back quite blatantly and there could be no arguments about the penalty that Van Persie smashed high into the net.

A minute later Arsenal had another great chance as De Kapitein put Theo through. Walcott’s early lob was deflected away by the onrushing Keeper’s shoulder. That was the first time the Gunners got in behind Villa who were playing a relatively high line.

After the goal Villa pushed forward but their goal-threat was limited to crosses and shots from distance. Wenger’s men were holding firm.

At the other end Arsenal got a couple of excellent chances but Ramsey produced a disappointing finish and a poor through-ball. First, in the 32nd minute, one-touch play from Gervinho and RvP, put Ramsey clear on goal. Dunne was coming in to tackle and Walcott was free on the right. The Welshman went for power but skewed it wide. I thought it was a very tough shot to execute as he was running at full pelt and had to stretch in the final stride to get the shot away. A better choice might have been to play it towards Theo or even to take a touch as Dunne was the only defender near him. At such a pace though, it’s tough to criticize the player as we see such misses all the time. Of course, that doesn’t mean one cannot expect better.

The other miss came from an overhit pass from Ramsey when Gervinho would have been clean through if the ball had the right weight. Again I thought the youngster rushed his pass as he was under pressure.

Arsenal went into the break ahead but you could see Villa were in with a chance as they were getting into dangerous positions.

The hosts started the second half with a higher press and put Wenger’s side under pressure. Song was being sorely missed but Arsenal were holding on. The goal, when it came in the 54th minute, was bit of an anti-climax after all the hard work in defence. Koscielny went to duel for a long ball but it skimmed of his head. Vermaelen was well positioned behind him and should have dealt with it. Instead he made the wrong choice and played it towards Mertesacker. The header lacked pace and Albrighton was able to sneak in between the two before slotting through the legs of Szczesny.

Vermaelen should either have headed the ball forward or out on the left. That would have given Arsenal enough time to regain the defensive shape. By playing it towards the German without any pace on it, he virtually gifted the chance to the Villa winger. Mertesacker was in a very risky position as a challenge could have led to a straight red or, at the very least, a second yellow. Szczesny again conceded between his legs. That is a technical weakness in his style that I have pointed out before. Someone in the coaching staff will have to identify it and work on it.

A minute later Walcott was running into the Villa box and won a corner from a sliding tackle by Dunne. Mertesacker forced a save from the resulting set-piece as he pounced on a loose ball.

For a while the game was about all the corners that Arsenal were winning and the crosses that Villa were getting into the box from wide areas. Both sides failed to seriously test the Keeper.

Arsene introduced Rosicky for Frimpong in the 65th minute. Little Mozart brought better movement and passing to the field an linked up well with the attackers. Arshavin and Benayoun came on for Gervinho and Ramsey with just around 10 minutes left.

Arsenal were able to sustain a spell of pressure. First it was Rosicky who had a shot blocked for a corner. Then it was Arshavin. Arsenal finally got the winner from one such corner after Benayoun was afforded a free header in the six-yard box. The Israeli did well to keep his eye on the ball and placed it well between the Keeper and the man on the post.

Arsenal held on to the ball and defended the lead relatively easily as Villa still couldn’t produce anything except more crosses into the box. An astute observer might say they lacked a plan B.

This was a game that could easily have been lost but the players deserve credit for fighting and winning. It was far from ideal but the circumstances weren’t favouring the Gunners either. The problems with the defending the flanks are a matter for another day.

I enjoyed these tweets from the players at the end of the game. Shows they have a great spirit and know what’s going on.

Benayoun,

Important win I’m so happy finally to score in the league after long time..this goal is for thomas vermaelen!!

Vermaelen,

Great win today! I wasn t easy. Thanks to @YossiBenayoun15!! U saved me today mate!

Ramsey,

@YossiBenayoun15 saved the day!great header!Had to dig a result out tonight.Fans kept us going!Disappointing game personally but big 3point

Individual Performances:

Szczesny: Did well to hold on to the crosses under pressure. Some of his distribution was rushed and can do with more composure, especially when the team is under pressure. Should work on his technique to avoid leaving such a big gap between his legs.

Coquelin: Struggled against the skills of N’Zogbia, which is understandable. Positioning was decent, tenacity heart-warming. Wasn’t able to help in bringing the ball out as much as regular full-backs would have done. Only attempted 27 passes when all other defenders managed more than double that. 6/9 in tackles, 15/22 in ground duels, and 2/2 in aerial duels.

Mertesacker: I don’t blame him at all for the goal. Had a very good game in the box and read dangerous situations intelligently. Made the most interceptions – 4. Won a lot of high balls around the centre of the pitch.

Koscielny: Superb game in and around the box. Got in the way of a number of crosses. Joint most touches and was composed on the ball. 2/3 in tackles, 7/9 in ground duels, 4/6 in aerial duels.

Vermaelen: Very bad decision and weak header for the goal. Very good game apart from that. 2/2 tackles, 6/8 in GD, 2/2 in AD. Sometimes shows his lack of understanding of the role and can’t contribute as much in attack but that’s a problem due to lack of experience in the position.

The defence was under pressure in this game as the cover for them wasn’t as good. Moreover, Coquelin was out of position and against a very tricky player. Vermaelen too wasn’t always certain with his positioning/decision making on the wing. It’s good to see the team can work hard defensively despite the issues.

Frimpong: Wasn’t able to receive, hold, or pass the ball under pressure. Many of his touches/passes were either heavy or hesitant. Positioning was poor. Seemed really out of his depth in this game.

Ramsey: As he said himself and I noted in the two attacking instances above, Ramsey was disappointing. But I also got the feeling he was doing the work of a player and half due to Frimpong’s weaknesses and Arsenal’s difficulty in bringing the ball forward. Was 1/8 in ground duels, has to do much better there.

Arteta: Another massive game and another MotM I’d say. Made the most passes with the highest accuracy and joint highest touches. Was always there to support the defence and was instrumental in sustaining possession at key moments.

Song absence had a noticeable impact. Frimpong just didn’t get into the kind of defensive positions his senior partner regular gets into. The youngster also wasn’t comfortable under pressure and his decision making wasn’t very good. This meant Ramsey had to move up and down a lot more. Without Arteta in midfield this game could easily have become a repeat of the Olympiacos one.

Walcott: Good skill to win the penalty. Also won a number of corners. Had a good chance one-v-one and he took it early. I don’t blame him for missing that but taking it around is also an option. Sometimes I feel he’s too focussed on early shots/crosses.

RvP: Composed and well-directed penalty. Excellent work rate and created the most number of chances. Corner deliveries were good and picked up an assist from one.

Gervinho: Wasn’t able to beat Hutton despite a number of chances to run at the defender. 1/5 in dribble attempts. Had very little impact in attack in general. Played parts of the game as an auxiliary left back and deserves credit for the effort put in.

Arsenal’s struggles to bring the ball out meant that the wide players didn’t receive as much service as they’d have liked. Wenger wasn’t able to make tactical adjustments to use the pace of his wingers even when Villa were pushing high up. That’s a long standing issue and there are some visible efforts being put in but Arsenal have to learn to use their pace intelligently when a team like Villa is chasing the game.

Subs: Rosicky was impressive on the ball and looked lively. His touches and passes oozed class. Benayoun got the all important goal showing classic poacher’s instincts. Arshavin had one good strike on goal and was moving around the pitch as if he wanted to make a difference.

Wenger: It’s understandable that a side so severely depleted by injuries will have one or two players out of position and that will result in a few anxious moments. But the manager will have to find a way to cover the weaknesses better and use the strengths more. Right now, when Arsenal can’t bring the ball out as well, they are forced into playing it around at the back. It still adds up to the possession and passing stats but the wide players are taken out of the game and the attacking impetus is non-existent. More pre-determined moves can help in such cases. Bringing Van Persie into midfield and releasing Theo in the centre is also an option.

A draw or win for Tottenham against Chelsea will keep Arsenal very close to fourth.


90 Responses to Aston Villa 1 – 2 Arsenal: Match Thoughts And Individual Analysis

  1. Tim says:

    It was a toss-up between Kos and Arteta for me as MotM – I went with the former. It’s great to see us win tough games like this, but I do worry a bit that several players are starting to look a bit jaded, in particular Ramsey and Gervinho. Aaron looks like he desperately needs a break.

    Still, three points is three points. Delighted with the result.

    http://thearmchairsportsfan.com/2011/12/21/benayouns-late-winner-brings-arsenal-christmas-cheer/

    • santori says:

      Benayoun is beginning to find his feet 9and head) for us.

      I like the way he is able to control the ball in tight spaces.

      We need to use him more. A very intelligent player IMO and an alternative to Gervinho/Walcott who have been playing quite a lot of games recently.

  2. True gunner says:

    Ramsey is lethargic, don’t blame it on Frimpong, when song is playing Ramsey is still horrible.

    • BarDel says:

      Lethargic?? Hardly! He has the highest distance travelled in that game. his decision making must improve along
      with his passing technique. Otherwise one cannot doubt his commitment.

      Anyways.. Good result. Id oike to see Yosi come out more… Especially to take off Gervinho. I didnt understand why Arsene went with Arshavin instead of Yosi in the Shiekh City game.

    • Steve says:

      That comment lethargic dude and your opinion is horrible. Just another hater who can’t even compose a couple of sensible sentences but wants to trash a player who is working his socks off.

    • Wrenny says:

      Lethargic? lolwut?

    • Sameep says:

      Ramsey covered nearly 0.5 km of distance more than the next best arsenal player in this game and that too in 80 min.s he played not the full 90.

    • GILBO says:

      I don’t know which games you have been watching, Ramsey is a class act and puts a massive shift in every game, “glad your not the manager”

      • VanTheManPersie says:

        Ppl dissing ramsey, its not hsi fault if the manager keeps playing him. He’s always tried the odd fanciful trick and part of the reason why the manager plays him there is u cannot do the same things in ur own half. Ppl have quickly forgoten the chipped assist to Gervinho which is what he’s capable of. Ppl should checkout the older vidoes and they will notice that he’s still not 100% in hsi movement after the horrific injury. At his age, i think he’s go the best shot on him compared to even fabregas. Fab improved on it in later seasons. He will be rested against wolves and would come out firing.

    • santori says:

      frimpong was rubbish. Don’t blame it on Ramsey.

      Wenger should have subbed him way earlier and pushed Le Coq up next to Arteta.

      But I think Le Boss was worried about Agbonlahor through the middle (and with good reason) . Koscielny shackled him very well me thought.:D

      • richie says:

        Its true Frimpong had an off day, thats the worst game he’s had for us including his sending off, because before his red moment he was having a good day. However I do think Rambo looks tired, he works harder than either of the others because he doesn’t read the game so well and covers more ground to make up for it.

      • richie says:

        PS when I say he doesn’t read the game as well its not really a criticism, its just lack of expirence that will come with time.

  3. NepaliGunner says:

    “An astute observer might say they lacked a plan B.”

    Priceless!!!

    Great analysis, as always. I’d say the best win of the season, because of the manner of this win. We are a team, and a very good one at that!

  4. sam says:

    is wenger really spending for a striker this january or its just paper talk?
    tevez, podolski etc…. maybe he should take a look at demba ba first.
    also if we are selling any player this january then they shouldn’t be selected anymore, they need to stay injury free to be able to pass the medical .
    no no complain about the game, just a little birdie told me wenger is keeping some players fresh for the second half of the seasons. one or 2 new signings plus ryo,chambo,afobe and park plus wilshere,sagna and santos back to fitness. we are going to collapse and we will fight till may.

    • VanTheManPersie says:

      We need to do something and get maximum points from the coming games. Cause except for the manutd game, all the others are now must wins. It doesnt matter if we have guys coming back later as at the end of the season every team knows its limitations as well as stengths and every game becomes virtually lieka cup game. Every team will drop points inspite of having full strenght squads as even the teams battling relegation play out of their skins to eek out points. Add to that the champions league and FA cup. We will drop points then even if we have these players back. The home games against Utd,City,Spurs,Chelsea would be difficult irrespective of players coming back. We need to win now. I wouldnt midn wenger spending even for the short term even if it would mean taking players just to cover the next 1.5 month period as that will be the most vital. If he pulls it off with the current squad, fairplay to him.

    • Droid says:

      So if the Boss were to buy in January, what good is to buy a player who won’t be available throughout January (and possibly later due to fatigue) while away on international duty (ACN)? another retard with a keyboard.. someone should do something about that!

      • VanTheManPersie says:

        I think you got me wrong…i meant wenger needs to buy players even if it means there will be surplus come february cause we cannot afford to drop points in jan . In prev years i have seen wenger gambling thinkin “you cannot buy players for the short term” and us suffering in the long term….i beleive one more i jury in defense will create a lot of pbms.Similarly if RVP gets injured

    • santori says:

      One possible signing – Striker

      One possible loan – LB

      That’s it IMO.

      Chamakh is off to ACN. Park is as yet unproven. We will need one more body up front that can knock them in.

      I like the looks of Leandro Damiao with Internacional. He is 6’1, relatively quick, good technically, strong in the air and most importantly, consistent for club.

      he should be a little under the radar with the gaze firmly fixated upon Neymar so there could be reasonable business done here.

  5. VanTheManPersie says:

    The mariseille game comes to mind when we stole it late on. When the squad is running thin, wenger may need to make subsitutions earlier than the usual 65th minute as players like Gervinho , Theo and Ramsey seem to get tired quicker. RVP too but even wenger cant sub him till the new year because of the record he’s chasing:) Has to use Yossi more as even without this goal, he always brings some urgency and professionalism on the pitch. Another gofly performance from arteta. He would have been an international everywhere except spain. Lucky for us thought he doesnt go on intl breaks. I wonder if wenger will look at Yennaris for any of these games as they are comign thick and fast. From the post match interviewit doesnt look good as he says no fullbacks till atleast mid to late january. I think we might have to go for one on loan but i cant see us gettign anyone good enough and match fit. We will just have to bite the bullet which may cost us. I’d be interested to see if he plays Yennaris in the home games when we are under lesser pressure as a natural fullback would make more overlapping runs.

    One of the most imp wins of the seasons so far along with the sunderland one where we stole it. We will definitely see Yossi starting the next one as one cannot see Theo,Gervinho and ramsey starting 3 in a row. C’mon you gunners.
    And thank you desi for keeping one blog as pragmatic and impartial as this one is. Keep it comin bro’

    • santori says:

      Yennaris. Not ready.

      • VanTheManPersie says:

        yeah but with more injury he might be needed. So just curious if he can get some minutes in home games against “weaker” teams. although in EPL every side has players that can cause problems

      • richie says:

        Yennaris might not be fully ready but if not now then when? Thats the question, because if we buy or loan who’s to say how long it will take the “new player” to adapt to how we as a team play? Never mind the adapt to the prem. Would it not be better to risk a promo from within “one of our own” than risk a buy or loan? After all it might not be that long till we get one of our first team full backs, back.

  6. cupsui says:

    Quality review…only saw a little of the 2nd half before i had to go to work (Australia)…it was at 1-1 and Villa were looking good and on top in mids…amazing to sneak a look and see the 2-1… A HUGE result!! well done lads…

    Desi great analysis…i loved the stats on all the players…you should invent a fantasy game…cause all the football ones are lame

  7. sam says:

    correction!

    i meant we are not going to collapse and we are not going to play twice against small teams in the fa cup like last season

  8. ghost of flamini says:

    Shouldnot be surprise to see coq in RB position. remember Flamini in LB position in the quest to 2006-07 CL Final. even Eboue was nominated as best defender of the year lol

    • XX says:

      I agree, he will improve at right back. he is a great player in my mind. great engine like flamini.

      • santori says:

        It was an unfamilar position and Nzogbia fleeced him several times but Le Cioq stuck to his task well (and in general always seems to put in effort)

        Frimpong on the other hand was simply abysmal.

        Would have preferred to have seen Le Coq in midfield.

        With Song back, Le Coq may continue out right (until Sagna is ready to come in which hopefully should be shortly)

        In which case Wenger does have the option to play Vermaelen @ LB (unless he finds a good loan for the position).. I don’t think he will prefer a purchase since we already have both Gibbs and Santos.

        There is a bit of give in Cback too even with Vermaelen out wide as Squillaci is still available (although quite obviously least preffered)

        The other player that I thought has done decent out left (being it is again an unsual position for him) is young Miguel Ignasi.

      • richie says:

        You see Santori you answered your own posed question from above. Young Miguel might not be ready either especially at left back but he did well enough to merit another run out in an unfamiliar position. Why not give young Yennaris a run out in a familiar position if at a higher level? As VanTheMan points out whether we get a loan or a new signing in Jan thats no guarantee Yennaris wouldn’t be needed anyway.

  9. XX says:

    Great Analysis Desi. The goalkeeper’s problem with the legs is due to his height. He is young and needs to improve on that as well as his distribution. Today’s win shows the importance of a good bench. To win trophies you need good players who can come off the bench and accelerate the game as well as implement a plan B. Rosiscky, the Ox, Benayoun, Frimpong are good subs. Unfortunately, Arshavin and Chamakh are not. We need to ship both out and replace them with a Wiltord type player- remember how effective he was against ManU when Wenger went with the plan B. I think podolski can be our new Wiltord. It would be nice if Wenger could also get Kalou, I just believe that Chelsea have failed to unlock his talent and getting podolski and Kalou off the bench, plus Benayoun, Rocisky or Ramsey ( Wilshere will be back) will lead us to win tight games like today.

  10. Aussie Jack says:

    No, I`m not a Frimpong man, nor a Ramsey man for that matter.
    Mertesacker is good to average.

    The day Arsenal (not Wenger) get it through their heads that we`re in the big boy`s league and are prepared to open their wallet the sooner we will get the consistentcy we need.

    Make no bones about it Arsene you need to buy some quality and it ain`t cheap. Two defenders,(LB and Vertonghen) one playmaker
    and one world class striker. Yes! you`re looking at 70 million and they not available in January. We didn`t achieve an awful lot in the last window.

    • sam says:

      buy buy buy! guess what? our brazilian left back is ready for spanish citizenship. wilshere is a playmaker and yes diaby, i mentioned him coz you were probably saying the same thing about van persie this time last year. he will be fit and help the team just like van persie is doing now.
      dudes, if you wanna support a team that will spend 70 millions this window please you better start driving up M1 then M60.
      what we gonna get is additions to our squad and we have about 15 players out on loan. we already have our vertonghen, he’s loaned to glasgow rangers till summer, we can recall him if things get worse.

      • sam says:

        yes i meant pedro botelho will soon win spanish papers, he can be our number 3 left back soon.
        instead of buying new one everytime we have injury.
        maybe we should start calling our loanees

      • Zgunner says:

        I second the Diaby mention. Great comment.

      • Titi says:

        Diaby is a very skilled player, hes gonna be a big asset when fully fit!

      • Aussie Jack says:

        I`m not one of the `buy,buy, buy` brigade, far from it ,but there is a question mark over Gibbs long term. Santos is out probably until March, so hence my comment about that position.
        Much has been said about buying a playmaker and I agree Wilshere`s return will be a blessing to work with Arteta, but I have no faith in Ramsey. Purely my own fantasy but I would like to see Vermaelen and Vertonghen paired in the middle of the back four. The striker, I don`t think anyone would argue with giving van Persie a partner. So no, I won`t be dashing up the M1 unless it`s to knock City off their perch.

      • santori says:

        We have some powder kept dry like Gazidis said but before we spend beyond a certain measure, we will have to sell – Squillaci, Denilson, Bendtner, Almunia. Then possibly Chamakh and AA.

        The wage structure must also be considered so we will have to make the necessary room for the incoming players.

  11. XX says:

    I disagree, we do not need any more defenders, we should get rid of squillach to raise more cash, but will cope defensively until our first choice fullbacks are back from injury. Our problem is that we have two key substitute players who are underperforming and should be shipped out- Arshavin and Chamakh. Wenger should sell them and replace them with Podolski and Kalou or whoever he wants as long as they are not lazy and know how to dribble cross and score goals coming off the bench and playing games when the first choice players are injured, tired or if Wenger wants to suprise the opposition. I keep going back to how Wenger often used Wiltord in the central position as a suprise move against ManU during those yes when we were great and tussling with ManU for supremacy. We need a strong bench to return to the golden days.

  12. Long Island Gunner says:

    Desi – great stuff all around. Just watched the highlights and I don’t think the goal was between Sczezzers legs as you have critiqued here – just shaped his body and went near post.

    A really valuable 3 points. 1 mistake from an unlikely source – TV5, albeit an out of position TV5. Kosc seems to be stepping up his game every week and Merte is settling in well. Shocker from Frimpong, expected much more.

    Said it before, will say it again – we MUST have goal production from AR’s midfield spot to be at the top of our game and he just does not seem to have the clinical finishing in the repertoire. Runs all match long and does indeed work hi socks off but rarely “explodes” into that extra gear that separates players at this level from those just below and really must start to deliver in the critical moments of a match to realize his potential.

    An off day for Gervinho and Theo has got to start to find the net more consistently as well. Really hope to see Ox get a run out over the Holiday fixture list.

  13. sam says:

    sorry buy buy brigade!
    another little birdie just told me although cesc position is up for grabe a fit diaby can do well with this formation. with wilshere coming back maybe there won’t be any urgency to buy as the best players are champions league cup-tied in january.
    for that reason, i am happy for both coquelin and frimpong getting games under their belt will help them develop while training with the first team instead of sending them out on loan to a small team.
    our top youngsters should get the chance to train with the likes of benayoun, arteta, song, van persie.

  14. Jeff says:

    Ramsey ran the whole match without really making interceptions and impacts.. Rosicky had already won many balls within 25 minutes.. not to mention some beautiful tackling,touches and passings.. on the other hand,Coquelin and Frimpong were both poor unfortunately..

    • sam says:

      yes lets buy new one midfielder to replace frimpong then

      coquelin is not a right back btw!
      i don’t see anyone slating vermaelen for the goal, you are not sincere. you are just looking for someone to pick on.

      hey it was a bad game but we won!
      can you please chill out

      • Titi says:

        Chill, he didnt say anything about buying anyone. He`s right, Ramsey is innefective in front of goal and as an AM he should be getting us at least 8 goals a season. I think Rosicky would be more effective with Arteta playing the Wilshere role. Can`t wait to see the Wilshere – Song – Arteta combo though, gonna be deadly!

      • santori says:

        Coquelin should be ahead of young Dench as understudy to Song IMO.

        We were essentially playing with a handicap with Frimpong waylaying too many of his passes.

        Therefore I find it a bit difficult to be so harsh on young Ramsey who had to do a lot more defensive work than usual.

    • Segun (Lagos, Nigeria) says:

      For all those statistics about the ground covered by Ramsey is hilarious. Those runs were aimless, we should cut this carry over symapathy for Ramsey and admit that for know he is still ineffective like those runs he makes.He has time on his side but his team does not have the time he has. Yossi for now should get the nod over him.

      • VanTheManPersie says:

        Cesc didnt have a lot of success on the goal scoring front when he started. It comes with experience and time on the ground. I remember people saying”if only he would score, then he would be a complete midfielder” adn he exploded in the next season. But we had Henry at the start of hsi career and later were playing 4-4-2 more often with RVP and ade whenever RVP was fit. But with 4-3-3 you need atleast 3 of your front 4 to be scorign for the diamond to work. At the moment Gervinho and Theo arent scoring freely either. So the problem looks a bit compounded. But we are still grinding out results with RVP and ppl like Vermaelen:) We know gervinho will come good sometime,Theo is gettign better,etc etc but we need them to step up now a we have ramsey who’s also still learning his trade.

        Dare i say, wilshere might have helped on the creative side but even he wouldnt be scoring as freely as say a lampard in his prime and we would still need the front “3” to do bulk of the scoring and not just RVP alone.

        So no we dont need another midfielder as we have ppl coming back, but we need our wingers to start scoring

      • santori says:

        On that note, I didn’t think we had a particularly difficult time with Villa in midfield even with Frimpong gifting them possession every 5 minutes.

        We could have easily gone to 4-4-1-1 if Le Coq played alongside the more experienced Arteta in which case I wuld have liked to see Arsharvin roled in the support striker role.

        The poor fellow looks bereft of confidence now. I don’t think it is an issue of quality. Again, I think he is more effective in the middle with license to roam.

        Wenger likes to play a particular system that gets the most out of the creative players that we have. BUt he should also relaise that some of ur players may benefit from a little more rigidity and that there is nothing wrong with playing that way either if it gives us a different tool to break the opposition down.

        Simply put, I think Chamakh and AA can both benefit froma 4-4-1-1 formation. It may not be something we will play with against all teams but against teams that are weak in the middle, it may add threat for us up top (particularly around the box) to have that added player hovering in and around RVP or for that matter for Chamakh to have that sort of support around him since he is a tad slow.

  15. Zgunner says:

    Rosicky substitution brought a great spark to the team.. followed by Arshavin and Benayoun.. the team had a new breath of life.

    Great substitutions Wenger :O)

    Rosicky is my man of the match for his great dynamism in midfield. I hope he get more playing time.

  16. ChuksChuma says:

    Good result but no good decision making.i think Ox culd have been a better alternative instead arshvn. I think prof culd have used Frinpong at right bak & Couqueln as a holding midfilder

  17. young gunner says:

    kozzer aka beast mode

  18. Timi Moody says:

    Massive result Desi !!! & did anyone notice how calm Arsene seemed to be even before winner came ? This team is not short of confidence, let January come and hopefully sagna, gibbs and posibly wilshere back, and hopefully wenger surpises us in transfer market…. team can only get better…. Best result tonight is #Spuds1 Chelski1#

  19. Kevin says:

    I agree.. Ramsey only needs to be more intelligent in doing his job.. Completely useless if he put his socks off without making any impact.. “the new Denilson”? I try not to be too harsh,but it seems like he’s the new one if not worse, as Denilson could still win some balls.. as A central midfielder,he needs to do some tacklings and be more combative..

    • VanTheManPersie says:

      nah…my problem with denilson was that he was caught in no man’s land doing niether many times. Just look at the counter attacking goals from rooney,drogba last year. Arteta this year is got the balance just right and hence we look more solid. People criticise his sideways passing but that might have been Arsene’s instructions to him just like arteta. Only Arteta’s got eh balance right. Just goes to show how difficult a role that can be and denilson was just not cut out for it

      • santori says:

        A bit difficult to slate Ramsey being that a third of the midfield was not working (frimpong). Therefore Ramsey had to undertake a lot more defending (As I recall, he made an effective tackle against Agbonlahor)

        Our central area was not ticking quite as usual because Frimpong’s passing was rubbish. he looked completely out of depth.

        Le Coq struggled out right against the tricky Nzogbia but he made a couple of excellent passes out right toward Walcott.

        He sould have played in midfield (as desi suggested) and Wenger should have persisted with young Miguel out left.

        The only reasoning I could see in Wenger playing Koscielny in the middle must be his attention toward Agbonlahor’s pace.

        Koscielny did an excellent job negating this threat.

        OTOH, Vermaelen had a poor game by his standards out wide.

        We allowed way too many balls in from the wide areas and were lucky that Villa were poor in front of goal. VERY LUCKY.;)

  20. Foolishgooner says:

    Three points! that is all i care about now. Frances Coq at right back? Arsene you must know much more than i do. (lol). Ramsey worked hard all game but wasted some opportunities, he has go to make better decissions around the box. Example, the Yossi game winner Ramsey will put himself in that kinda position (running from the top and seeking the in comming ball). I guess that will come with experience! The commentator mentioned that we scored only once from a corner this season? hard to believe. Our Mids need to show better judgement and fight in and around the oppossing box! Gervinho played against a determined Hutton/Dunne Hutton lost his head late that is the pressure playing against a menace with pace and ball control. lol. Song will be back Le Coq should continue at RB, because he has the engine and will learn. Cheers Gooners. Lets stay close third and fourth position is attainable. But we got to improve considerably or let Robin go and enjoy his life.

  21. Shafiu says:

    Good individual analysis but lack player rating. Pls improve it. Congratution to my fellow Arsenal for d 3points.

  22. Chinedu says:

    I think yossi should be used more as the supersub like kanu.

    • santori says:

      Excellent feet he has.

      • VanTheManPersie says:

        and consistency. You can expect a professional consistent output from him , just like arteta. Am sure we will see more of rosicky as well as yossi. Who knows whats in arsene’s mind. For all we know he has been saving him for ACN. We have to remember that both yossi and arteta had lengthy spells on the side lines last year. Imagien if he had played Yossi more and he got crocked now. Gervinho goes to ACN and we dont have a decent backup and have to rely on Ox who btw is cover for walcott:) I think we will see more of these two in 2012 along with Oxo

  23. Roly says:

    Scrappy game! Thank God we won at the end cuz d nature of the game really merited a prayer of winning. Pls we all shud beg Wenger never to play Ramsey ahead of Rosicky. Frimpong shud go to Barcelona academy to learn how to get confidence in big game and how to pass accurate and visionary passes. To me Frimpong doesnt fit Arsenal FC! He is a scrap. Champerlain and Benayoun shud be given some starts. Wenger shud adjust his time to substitute players. Benayoun and Rosicky shud have come in earlier when Ramsey, Gervinho and Fringpong were nt doing well.

  24. RedCore says:

    Cant understand why people are slating Ramsey. Ramsey is consistently in the top wrt distance covered through 90 minutes. He is consistently getting into good positions but cant find the finish. When he does the slaters will be singing a very different tune.

    • ugo says:

      ramsey has been a passenger for a few games now. rosicky or benayoun should be starting……..my opinion

    • Adiiii83 says:

      Agree with RedCore. You can see what Ramsey is all about, he’s a young Gerrard in the making….Keeps getting into great positions and will soon start scoring goals….But he is over used at the moment. He needs to be rotated more as he is still finding his feet at the top level. I would like to see Rosicky at the moment cos he’s finally injury free and when he’s fit is still one of the top midfielders. Great footballer and with Arteta in the middle, you could see us completely dominating games. Great win today and I’m glad to see people finally off Kozza’s shoulders and prising him for his performances. I feel like we have the 2 best central defenders in Europe (Verm & Koz). I would like to see us get our full backs back so I can watch them 2 together, no disrespect to Mertesacker cos he’s been great.

    • Damnit says:

      it’s not the time to give ramsey games to let him develop. we’re chasing the current top 4 so we should be playing with our most effective players.

  25. ike@Ghana says:

    It is simple. The team lacks depth. Podolski, Fullbacks and creative midfielder. If Arteta is suspended or injured and Song is down, what happens to the team?

    • santori says:

      We have at least 2 players for every position.I don’t think we have been unreasonable this season with regards depth.

      the fullback situation is unfortunate and (no pun) a bit of ‘arseluck as usual.

  26. Segun (Lagos, Nigeria) says:

    Dont make excuses for Ramsey, he has been playing below par for a while now. i think he should be dropped for either Yossi or Rosicky.

  27. rukky says:

    Good write-up. But personally, I won’t want a spurs victory tonight. Its not just about arsenal being close to forth, its also not allowing tottenham finishing above us. A draw would be perfect but if there must be a winner, u can guess who I would prefer. We are the arsenal!

  28. Mike kanvi says:

    I wud hav luv 2hav kosh at rightbak,verm wit per.at d heart of defence,miquel at leftbak.ramsey n gervers takin turns 2plug any space dat may arise frm miquel in-experience.if u dont concede u r halfway frm winnin.wenger needs2sign a leftbak first,maybe taiye taiwo can foot wenger loanbill.

  29. Tim says:

    Ramsey is simply suffering from fatigue. He broke his leg, he came back and Wilshere backed out through injury leaving a midfield to be mastered by Ramsey. So for the last 4 months now we have been relying on a player that is young and in his first season of first team football. I think some of you think every player will be like Wilshere straight away, well sorry to point it out but thats bullshit, Wilshere is one in a million, Ramsey will become a hugely important Arsenal player and atleast he tries. Like Arshavin never does anything when he comes on. Ramsey attacks then defends attacks then defends. He never stops working for the Red or Blue!! I personally think he needs a rest but his quality is undeniable, shown by his assist stats this year. I hate it when arsenal fans feel the need to attack Ramsey because you dont want to attack an arsenal love kid, Vermaelen, who did alright last night but almost lost us 2 points and he knows it too on those tweets you can see he understands his performance was below par. Solution? We let Ramsey sit out the next one and let Rosicky come in and play. Then let Ramsey come back in against QPR.
    Anyway i love this team with all my heart, such mental strength and until the 85th minute i believed we would score. Screw the Rooney lovers who say RVP just scores tap ins, ’cause those corners were deadly all night.

    P.S Koscielny is the best defender in the EPL right now. Never seen such passion, determination and reading of the play.

    • santori says:

      Cut ramsey some slack, he is only 21.

      He is quite obviously not the finish article and can be a little flimsy at times but he does have pretty excellent vision.

      My issue with ramsey is that he seems similar to Arteta.

      I believe that we have 3 different types (in general) of midfielders.

      1) The enforcers – Song, Frimpong (in some ways Le Coq)
      2) The ones who carry the ball forward at feet well – Diaby, Jack (both essentially can bring the ball up from deep and drive into the opposition half but both with slightly different methods with similar end result.
      3) The playmakers – Arteta, Rosicky and Ramsey … more reliant on passing and releasing the ball over the top toward the front men.

      When Jack (and Diaby) returns, there will be a further balancing in the middle.

      • VanTheManPersie says:

        bang on my friend. except ramsey is something non of the other arsenal players. He has lampard liek instinct with several examples of it liek the goal against utd on his return last season. His shooting was much better before he got the injury. The season after the next is when we can see the real ramsey provided there are no injury setbacks. Having said that, Wenger can def afford to make the subsitution at 60 min at times:)

  30. amwandi says:

    why cnt wenger just call back bartley (can play CB, RB and DM), lansbury (played RB for WHU recently) and boltehlo (LB) from their loans and play them until our regular fullbacks returns? playing vital players out of their expert position takes its toll and needs readjustment, hence the TV5 mistake. the second option will be to acquire 1 or 2 fullback/s on loan, nathan clyne(crystal palace RB) springs to mind

  31. SHIV says:

    Ramsey is a ‘nothing’ player. Like every other Brit, he’s over rated but provides very little value addition to the team. Would be much better off playing Ben or Rocky behind RvP.
    Gerv also seems nervous in front of goal and has missed numerous one-to-one situations. Just running with the ball in vacant spaces is of little help to the team.
    Le Prof should make them more incisive.

  32. Ruel Carvey says:

    Really hard fought game, Ramsay always seem to be in the right positions but poor decision making is costing us, he needs some rest and give (ros and ben some game time), Coquelin although out a position at right back, i think he may have the right mentality to play that position he also has a good engine, so i am looking for him to continue play there and he will be more than happy to get some playing time. I was really disappointed with frimpong who looked nervous and out of rhythm, just not enough confidence to move the ball forward. Diaby many may say he is not needed but i think he could do a fine job be a lot older now, he need games to get going and he has the ability to carry the ball forward with more menace . Kos was my man of the match and many are beginning to see his worth i also think he could also play the DM role if needed looks real comfortable on the ball with a good turn of pace. Well lets see if we can continue get these three points and make the necessary gains on the leaders

    • VanTheManPersie says:

      Verm,Kos look good with the ball at theri feet looking forward. Believe me its much more difficult playing facing ur won goal adn trying to bring the ball back. Its not easy what Song does for us

      • santori says:

        Diaby.

        We need someone like hiim as he can push through midfield with his strength.

        Jack and him are the only two players in the midfield who can carry the ball at feet forward effectively (albeit Song has been adding this to his repetoire of late)

      • VanTheManPersie says:

        @santori,
        You can add rosicky towards that list. When fit, he can turn hsi many and busrt through the middle better than even diaby and jack and like u said before he has the vision too. But yeah diaby is the most versatile as he also has the size an stength to fend of people. He”s one of a kind. Too bad his passing at times leaves a lot to be desired and sometimes the first touch is poor.

        Thats the beauty of the squad that we have a lot of different players in the middel of the park. Need more fire power upfront tho

  33. olumide says:

    Good analysis. I think we need to improve the organization in our defence. We already have the personnels in the centre.

  34. shaun timmal says:

    NAAMSTE,yup yup – Rambo is a major disappointment in the last coupla games. Id have Benny starting or atleats playing the last 20 min in stead. RAMBO ISNT GIVING A GREAT ACCOUNT OF HIS TALENTS, no way is he above Jack. Maybe even Arseshavin shold play with song and Arteta. Hes leaving, so why not Hazard a try. C’MON U GUNNERS

    • santori says:

      frimpong was a spare man. Absolutely no impact going forward whatsoever and in fact a handicap with the way he kept passing the ball to VIlla.

      In that context, we were effectively covering in the middle with a 4-4-2. In which case it is a bit naff to suggest that Ramsey could contribute equally effective supporting RVP and at the same time watching our back.

      Frimpong was poor and should have been subbed earlier.

      Rosicky looked fit and strong enough to boss midfield for us next to Arteta given the weak middle Villa possessed.

      Blaming Ramsey is facile at best deceitful in truth when you consider frimpong’s performance.;)

  35. anteneh says:

    if wilshaer arrives no need ramse

  36. XX says:

    Those calling for Ramsey’s head are missing the point, it’s not about the indvidual’s lone contribution, it is about how they help the unit tick, in this case, Ramsey bring balance to the midfield. Song, Ramsey and Arteta is the most balance midfield we have had since Gilberto and Flamini were at Arsenal. We are a more compact side. The goals will come, we should build from the back and I can not think of a better midfield three in the premier league, apart from Man city.

    • richie says:

      That might be true that the combo of Arteta, Song & Rambo has been our best since we had Gilberto & Flamini. But I think its much less to do with Ramsey and more to do with Arteta and Song. Its the fact that the Song Arteta combo is a more defensively minded unit which means the teams balance is far better. I think we could swap Rambo for either Rosicky, Jack or Diaby when either of the above returns with less of a problem for the team than resting Song or Arteta. As was seen when Frimpong took Songs place. I think Rambo is looking tired because to keep pace with both Song & Arteta he has to work harder as he doesn’t read the game as well so runs more.

  37. santori says:

    Wrong selection at the back.

    I can understand why Wenger opted for le Coq out right instead of Miguel out left but Frimpong was simply poor and le Coq should have started in midfield.

    Some of the team looked a little leggy which was a concern. It was refreshing to see Rosicky and Benayoun come in and make an impact. Benayoun in particular should be played more.

    Walcott was not on his game again and squandered possession way too often.

  38. Micko says:

    I don’t know why but I think this year arsenal will be like the A’s in the movie Moneyball. They lose all their good players and replace them with winners and cheaper players.
    Soon we will rise up and win.

    • VanTheManPersie says:

      except these players are not as average as some of the players in A’s. Its just the media and fans which call them panic buys. Arteta was never brought in to replace cesc. He was brought in to play wilshere’s deep role with wilshere being pushed forward.

  39. Chris says:

    Great in depth analysis Desi.
    Ramsey is by far the hardest working player on the team no doubt about that. Yet I find he doesn’t deliver many thru passes which should be expected of a creative midfielder.
    Still can’t take anything away from him, gives his all on the pitch.

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