The old good end to a bad week
ARSENAL 2 ASTON VILLA 1
FROM GOODPLAYA AT THE EMIRATES
I COULDN’T help feeling a sense of “if only” after this.
Like Blackburn, we hadn’t always been totally coherent. Unlike Blackburn, we were never anything less than totally committed.
And I think it was that which made the difference. And say what you want about the fickleness of the Emirates crowd, but I think the vast majority in the ground appreciated as much and were really willing the team towards victory. Of course, you’d expect them to do that, but what I mean is that the winner was one of those where you felt you almost detected a bit of the old fashioned sucking the ball in from the home support.
The first half had been infinitely better than I’d feared pre-game. We actually scored, a nicely taken Cazorla effort. He was the best of the bunch. Nobody shirked but some found their touch easier to come by than others. Villa, for their part, were always enterprising and “too good to go down” came to mind.
We came out, as is not uncommon, with the burners on the for the second half. But we were struggling to create chances. The Villa goal duly arrived – another poor moment for Szczesny. I can’t help thinking that at the very least he could do with some decent competition in the squad. The fact that Vito Mannone doesn’t even play in the FA Cup tells you everything you need to know.
Straight after their goal we again were struggling to create clear cut chances. But suddenly the pace picked up, one or two opportunities went begging and we had an excellent second: great ball from Wilshere, very good pull-back from Monreal and not an easy finish for Cazorla.
Player wise, I thought Aaron Ramsey continued to confound a few of his critics: he came on at a time when people were restless and would have been an easy target for the disenchanted. But he didn’t put a foot wrong and put a fair few right too.
A pleasing way to end what, we shouldn’t forget, was a pretty woeful week.