Arsenal were “were just that little bit slower out of the blocks” at Aston Villa

Arsenal’s great run of undefeated games has now come down to earth with a bump after consecutive defeats against Wolves and Aston Villa, meaning that both sides have now done the double over us this season.

It was actually a very even game in the case of total shots on goal, but the big difference was that Arsenal only had three (of 14) on target, while Villa had eight (of 12) heading towards the net.

The Gunners actually had 66% possession, and it would probably have ended 0-0 if not for one moment of madness in the second minute, when the fates conspired against us to give Villa a very early lead.

Poor old Mat Ryan had only played two minutes in an Arsenal shirt when they scored, but the Ozzie was given no chance to stop the deflected shot. As the ex-Brighton stopper said after the game: “Besides the start of the game, we thought we were right in it. We were competing but we were just that little bit slower out of the blocks than they were.

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 06: Ollie Watkins of Aston Villa scores his team’s first goal past Mat Ryan of Arsenal during the Premier League match between Aston Villa and Arsenal at Villa Park on February 06, 2021 in Birmingham. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

“We got punished for it and at this level, you get punished for the smallest of things. You don’t even need to make a mistake or be off your game to get punished at this level. That happened in the first initial minutes and they made us pay for it. I can’t fault the effort we put in. We were probing and pushing but the ball just wasn’t falling for us at the end. Emi made a couple of blocks and interventions, I tried to play my part at the other end but unfortunately I wasn’t able to contribute to the result. We’ve got to build on it and keep going.”

But Ryan had a solid game all in all, and was very happy to playing for the famous Red & White for the first time. He was asked if he feels that he slotted in well. “I feel like it. Obviously with everything that’s been going on with my circumstances, I just tried to adopt the mentality of focusing on myself and readying myself for the next opportunity, whenever or whether that may come. I think it was probably down to all that, that I was able to come in and have a performance like I did. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to help us with the result. It was a deflection and I haven’t watched it back yet, but there wasn’t a lot I could do I don’t think. It felt good to be out there though, I loved being out there. It still hasn’t quite sunk in that it’s my childhood club that I grew up supporting that I’ve just played for. But I’m sure it’ll start to sink in a bit now that I’ve got a moment to reflect on it. I wanted the perfect start with the result but it wasn’t meant to be.”

Considering that Mat only arrived on loan two weeks ago, he was asked if he was surprised to be playing so quickly. He said:” I was just thinking that there’s a greater power in life. Things happen for a reason, even the situation with Bernd. I probably could have pushed myself with some medication to be available for the Wolves game. If I’d have done that and the boss would have selected me, I’d have made my debut there. But when all that happened, in the 75th minute of the Wolves game my hip started to feel quite a lot better! That stuff can happen in football so it’s just about trying to be ready and prepared. I was just thankful to go out there, do my best today and I want to kick on from it now. I want to continue to grow as a person and as a goalkeeper.”

It’s a real shame that we had that moment of madness, or we would now be talking about how Ryan had held off the Villain hordes to save us a point. Hopefully he will have a better day the next time he wears the short….

Tags Aston Villa Mat Ryan


  1. Where we were very unlucky against wolves (cheating officials)we were absolutely dire against villa ,2 contrasting games in a space of 4 days .
    Like a few fans have said you could see what game that was going to be yesterday within 10 mins ,the slow build up play ,no urgency and this constant fascination of crossing the ball with virtually no chance of them being converted ,especially when you have 4 defenders against a 5-9 “ striker .
    The only positive (if I can say that )yesterday was RYan in goal .
    Partey injured again
    Martinelli not getting any minutes when he’s fit to start on the bench .
    VAR once again against us (not an excuse though ).

  2. The more possession we seem to have, the worse we tend to play.

    We should work on sitting a bit deeper in possession to try and draw the opposition out a bit.

    Currently we pass slowly from the midfield, gradually push high, hold possession and just pass sideways.

    We are a much better team on the counter…

  3. Am so happy for the players who got a chance to leave Arsenal this January. Finally there is no scapegoat.

  4. Once again the team reverted to type under Arteta.A slow careless start led to an early chance and in this case conceding a goal.Our build up play was too deliberate and lacked “punch”.The team struggled to create anything meaningful and without any cutting edge Villa could easily defend their lead and counter attack with better purpose.
    Pepe’s movement both on and off the ball was predictable at best and he made Cash look world class.Arteta once again chose to allow things to drift for too long before making changes and when he did he brought on an almost invisible Aubamayang when Matinelli’s drive and movement would have served better and later to compound that mistake bought on the completely useless Willian who managed to slow all of Arsenal’s attacks down to a predictable “crawl”…Just to compound matters it seems that Partey has been injured once again.
    Unfortunately with Arteta in charge Arsenal will never be the real sum of their parts and until Management see him for all his inadequacies then Arsenal won’t be challenging for any of those top four places as we should be…

    1. I thought Pepe had a great game playing from the left. The position became much improved when saka got into left back. The position died when Willian (who signed him) came in.

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