Aston Villa Review – Arsenal weren’t brilliant but we need to build on the psychological boost

Arsenal win by going back to the basics by Konstantin Mitov

Well, lovely Arsenal people, if you love this club as I do, these games are not good for your health. We ended up winning 4-2, a scoreline that barely tells the whole story.

Let’s be honest, it wasn’t a great performance, especially in the first half. We gave away 2 goals far too easily again. A pattern stretching back to Everton.
I am getting annoyed with Zinchenko. The opening goal of the game, summed our last 3 weeks. We are sloppy and give possession away far too easily, then one long ball leaves our defender 1 on 1, he doesn’t deal with it, and we concede.
I am not sure what has happened to Saliba and Gabriel? Maybe it’s Partey missing or they are just tired, I’m not sure. Ben White also had a few shaky games, and the way he was left for dead on their second goal was poor. And I am getting even more annoyed with Zinchenko. I know he scored a good equaliser for 2:2, but the guy is virtually anywhere but left back, and we were left exposed again.
It’s bad enough the goals we give away, but some of our misses –  oh my god. Eddie is not good enough, I am sorry. The sooner Jesus is back the better. That’s the 3rd game in a row, he misses critical chances that can swing the game in a different direction. But the one time he did something right and set up Odegaard in front of an open goal, the Norwegian missed it. That miss was criminal. After it, they had a chance, when Ramsdale had to tip it into the bar and we got away with it. A better team could’ve punished us for our sloppiness.
In the end Jorginho hit a beast of a shot that hit the bar, then Emi Martinez’s head and went in. I loved it. It was so poetic. The guy who we sold because he wanted to leave, that comes back every time to have a dig at the club, scored an own goal, then practically assisted us by going up for a corner, avoiding his manager’s orders not to, then leaves an open goal, which eventually Martinelli finds.
In the end our second half performance deserved the 3 points. We went back to the basics. Passing was better, the ball was moving faster, we played with more urgency. We rode our luck a little, but showed some fight and desire and we were rewarded for it.
There were 2 standout players on the day. Jorginho, who was our best player for the second game in a row and Bukayo Saka. That boy is a phenomenal athlete and fighter. He is one of the most kicked players in the league and he struggled with an injury during the entire game, and you could see it, but he was still on the score sheet and still a threat. The guy is 21, it’s simply unbelievable what he has done, considering he’s played almost every game for us in the last 3 years.
Now, we shouldn’t get carried away though, because City dropped points in a game they should’ve easily won and they had all the chances. We must look at ourselves and aknowledge the weaknesses we’ve shown in the last 3 weeks, if we’re to have any hopes of winning the title. By the way Man UTD are not too far behind. 5 points between 1st and 3d is a three horse race in my eyes when there’s 15 games left.
Let’s just take the psychological boost of this game and build on it. I am no longer looking at the table. We dropped 8 points in 10 days and somehow we are still top with a game in hand. The coming fixture list is kind to us, not that we don’t like making it hard, but let’s just go one game at a time, go on a winning run again and see where we get to.

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  1. Can we stop with this Eddie bashing. Considering he’s only a backup striker, he’s doing fantastic job leading the line! He doesn’t always miss crucial goals, as we saw against Man Utd.

    Brilliant second half performance! It may only be Villa, but I honestly think this one of our best and most important performances of the season.

    Huge pressure coming into the fixture, confidence low, poor form, behind twice in the game, yet we kept going and got the win.

    Arteta is performing miracles when you consider we have youngest team in the league, our front three are all under 23, not much depth (especially first half of the season), and our brand new star striker will miss most of the season.

    1. Agree.
      Nketiah worked his a.. off, and would have gotten an assist, if Odegaard hadn’t missed the goal.

    2. I totally agree about Eddie. He works so hard and is getting into the right places so it will come. Martinelli unfortunately hasn’t really looked himself since he got the contract should be on the bench as he is not on form. Zinchenco is very confident but often holds onto the ball too long and is dispossessed as per the first Villa goal. I think his game time should be managed by playing Tierney or Tommy. Neither Olec nor Martinelli cross from the left which doesn’t help Eddie. Personal differences between Martinelli and Eddie should be put to one side.

  2. Both Nketiah and Jesus missed plenty of clear-cut chances. Even Haaland, Nunez and Balogun missed them too

    But Nketiah has to work on his hold-up play and header. He doesn’t have to score many goals, but he had better handle the opposition’s CBs as Kane and Watkins did

    If we fail to win a trophy this season, I bet Arsenal will sign someone who can do it constantly

  3. I don’t actually believe we will always keep clean sheets the rule is always to outscore your opponent which is exactly what arsenal did their is nothing wrong with our two centre backs, our full backs need to bull up the socks it seems they are being beaten quite easily the two goals villa scored was a result of Zinchenko and Ben White being beaten Zinchenko holding the ball too long and being dispossessed.

  4. Congratulation to Nuno Tavares for is sixth goal of the season and being the first Marseille defender to score six goals in a season for 20 years

    1. The quality of the goals he’s scored has been incredible. He’s clearly extremely gifted both technically and physically, but i think he has to transition to a more attacking role to be useful to this arsenal side.

      1. Actually resently he hired a personal coach to help him do better defensively and I think also he should train to be a box to box midfielder he will do good he has a good hight

    2. NAFTALI What his scoring record shows, and all his time when still with us , is that he is NOT a defender at all and ought never to be considered as one.

      He IS however a gifted player going forward.

      Obvious solution then? Play him further forward to get the best from him. He will return at some pount and I hope lessons are now learned by those who play him positionally wrongly.

  5. We need to reflect that Eddie has practically played every minute since Jesus has been out. I realise that others do too but he has no one to provide him with back up and in-game replacement for the final 20 mins when most teams will bring on a fresh player to do that important pressing and hold-up play.

  6. Stop the Nketiah bashing, GJ got chances during is barren run too & I still don’t understand why anyone would expect Nketiah to still be performing at is maximum when he plays every 90mins since boxing day though he hasn’t played 5 games in a roll before. The guy needs a rest just to recharge physically and phycologically

    1. sir is not about missing chances, Nketiah lack dribbling skills on pressure inside the box, GJ yes missed lot of chance but one on one with a defd he’s gone, and he is good in creating space for others to score

  7. Nketia and Xhaka really need some rest. They don’t need an injury before they are given break. For now, I think only injury will cause them not to play. The same with Saka, even after being kicked several times, he played with pain until the end of the match. Though, we don’t have the luxury of the squad depth like City, some players should still get some rest to avoid being burnt out.

  8. Don’t really think it’s bashing Nketiah when someone is merely pointing out facts. No one is defending Odegaard missing his chance, same with Nketiah.

    What hurts Nketiah is if he’s not scoring he struggles to offer anything else. No hold up play, can’t interchange with wingers, can’t drop deeper and help with buildup play.

    Lacking those often makes him an easy target if he’s not scoring. It’s magnified when at a top club, and even more so in a title chase.

    He’s not the first or last player to get bashed, fans opinions are what they are.

    1. Is Harland doing all the above? Nketiah does those those things far better than Harland. Let’s spear the guy whenever things aren’t working please. He isn’t GJ and never will he be

      1. Tomi Not only do I agree about HAALAND, but all along have considered him , when he fails to score, virtually a passenger. Compared with Nketiah, on all non scoring play, I’d take Eddie all day long.


      2. Sorry but Nketiah does nothing better than Haaland. 26 PL goals currently for Haaland, so he does not go missing too often.

        Haaland draws attention and defenders which open up space for wingers, something Jesus offers us as well.

        Like I said above, if Edie was a clinical finisher the rest would be a lesser issue. Otherwise things get magnified

        1. “Nothing better than Harland”, that’s amazing. The only thing that guy does so well is score goals (you can’t have those midfielders behind you and not score goals). I’m not saying Nketiah is at Harland’s level but saying he bring nothing to table is ridiculous

        2. Durand, there are some laughable comments. People trying to compare Eddie to Haarland. They don’t know football, if they are. Haaland is a phenomenon and probably not playing to his full potential. Eddie has done ok in a system that doesn’t suit. Haarland has been out of this world in a system that doesn’t suit. There is no comparison to the educated.

    2. Agree Durand and, as our CF he SHOULD be converting the chances he gets.

      There’s no point comparing him to Jesus, as they are totally different players and the latter brings so much more to the table.

      I look at the other clubs at the top of the PL and their strikers – would Eddie get into any of their teams?
      Yes, he has really surprised me and his new contract seems to have given him a new life, so he gets my support.

      Having said that, I can’t wait for Jesus to come back.

      1. At £100,000 a week, I wouldn’t call him a “back up striker”!!

        So answer my question… of the top clubs , city, united, spuds, newcastle, liverpool and even chelsea, where would Eddie fit in and, from his performances, who would buy him anyway?

        Still got my support by the way.

        1. I will pick him
          over Isak of Newcastle,
          over Weghost of Man Utd

          Spurs don’t have a backup Striker

          So only Man City have a better backup in Alvarez (amongst those team u mentioned)

          1. @Babasola: Um, Richarlison is the backup striker at Tottenham…and he has scored exactly ZERO league goals.

            Funny thing, Alvarez isn’t exactly lighting up the Premiership! I agree with you, Nketiah is doing just fine.

        2. @ken
          My question was actually to Durand.
          I consider Nketiah to have been signed/resigned primarily as a back up to Jesus. And I am very positive about his ability.
          Don’t see many clubs having a better second choice.
          His salary may prove to be a bargain and very clever business. IMO

      2. 👍
        We aren’t just appreciating what we’ve, cos ‘you don’t know the value of a thing until you loose it’
        Which teams backup striker is more efficient than him?

        1. Though he’s a backup, some fans still expect him to perform like a first choice. I don’t get them. He is doing more than enough for a backup.

          1. I agree and that’s my point.
            He is only a good back up.
            We need better as we go forward… in my opinion.

            1. Babasola pointed out the backups of other teams and non as done what Nketiah. so @ken1945, why do we desperately need a better backup when other teams back up aren’t as good as ours

              1. why comparing other with our team, we are ARSENAL, we are the best and asking for a better backup striker is’t a bad thing..

                1. If Kane gets injured they have Son and Rucharlson for example.
                  Bring back Balogun and we might be in a different situation.

  9. In a league as strong as this
    1. No team will dominate every game that they play
    2. No player will be in great form all 38 games
    3. No formation/tactic will be flawless over the entire season
    4. Every team will drop points
    5. No team or individual can keep the intensity at 100% every minute of every game

    The Arsenal are no exception to any of the above. As fans we must support the player and manager through the thick and the thin. They need our support the most when they have a bad result. Constantly moaning and scrapping for negatives does no good to anyone. This season has certainly seen more highs than lows and I am thankful to this young team for providing us so much joy.

  10. Were these comments “Copy-Pasted” ?

    I think I read close to 10 comments I had read on another post that was put up here sometime ago.

    I’m scared of Man Utd now
    They’re the ones now on our 1st-Half-Form

    They must surely fear noone presently and will be eager to beat anything in their front of them

    We just must get to our previous form
    Cos it’s like Man Utd won’t drop (too-many) points for a while

    We have an easy-March
    But a very tough April (that also has 6 EPL games)

    That’s what I’m scared of
    Our April looks like a points-dropping month – unless we be flying really high before then

  11. Think we all agree that Eddie is not the Answer but he is for now until GJ. is back from his injury.
    Kon you seem to write this article like we have lost the game
    your not happy Zinchenko
    BW seems awful to you
    the 2 centre half’s have gone walk about
    MO missed a sitter
    we agree on Eddie
    thought we were really good 2nd half and even in to injury time you just knew we were going to get 3 points
    the boys done us proud. showed the mental strength that some said they done have
    showed that they have the inner stuff to take it all the way
    15 to go and we are getting closer to that who’s got it in them to want it more
    onwards and upwards

    1. alanball, I can tell you categorically that “we do NOT ALL AGREE” about Eddie at all.

      Some undoubtedly do agree with you and others, myself included , definitely do NOT!

      Therefore, no truthful use of the word “ALL” exists in this case.
      It is merely the opinion of some but not of others. Not “ALL” by any means!

      I will be grateful if you do not include me in your generalisations, in future.

  12. Little bit of a crazy and very negative analysis in my opinion. We won, as was pointed out earlier, teams and players have swings in form (ask Haaland !!) and we showed something that we wouldn’t have been able to with a routine 2-0 victory (which is what some people want and expect I think but it’s never going to happen that way). Spirit, Fight and Guts – things that put fear into your rivals and upcoming opponents, I bet Leicester are NOT looking forward to playing us. For the record, I’ve been a fan for 52 years and although that doesn’t make me any more or less qualified to give my opinion, for what its’ worth – the only Arsenal team I’ve ever supported that I expected to win and usually with style was the 2004 team. If you look at the season, in reality we had many average and sub par performances, we just didn’t over analyse wins.
    This is an incredible team doing incredible things. let’s give them credit. Saliba, Nketiah in particular are very inexperienced but are doinf superbly. Xhaka, Zincheko are older experienced heads (now along with Jorginho) that calm the team down. Everyone is having a great season, by any standards.

  13. Well jon
    I stand corrected
    In my opinon a majority of arsenal fans do not feel eddie is good enough to hold the main strikers position .
    Unfortunately until GJ has returned to full fitness and takes up his rightful place and leads our attack then we might be stuck with Eddie carrying up top for us
    do hope thst is to your satisfactory Mr Fox
    Really surprised you are sticking your neck out for eddie

  14. Great analysis Konstantin, the win was a result of resolve and character, but there was a lot to feel nervous about as well. I won’t blame Saliba and White though. They are being left exposed and put in one on one situations whilst back pedalling. Opposition teams can get from their goal line to ours with three to four direct passes,which to a knowledgeable observer would mean that something is wrong somewhere and certain players, either the fullbacks and midfielders are not doing their jobs Also please don’t even try to put Haarland and Nketien on the same page. You obviously haven’t watched many City games. More often than not the guy links up with their midfielders, passes the ball on and then gets himself into good scoring positions. I think you are comparing a “noble steed to a donkey” as Eddie Murphy’s voice over in Shrek would have pronounced.

  15. That should have been Gabriel, not White. I think White along with Tomiyasu would be very good centre halves but as fullbacks they provide few attacking options and are prone to the type of errors which we saw against City and Villa.

  16. To some extent, I think we are letting goals in due to the absence of Partey. His presence makes a massive difference to the team and he shields the back 4. That said, I had hoped Arteta might forsee his injury situation and procure a quality DM in the January transfer window to rotate with Partey, but its ok, we have to continue till the end of the season with the players available. I agree though Jorginho played a great game and of course, Saka was phenomenal. The amount of fouls committed against him and the boy just continues, I sometimes think he is not human, simply amazing. For us to have a shot at the title we have to continue our good run, play with grit, determination and a clear plan. We just have to play our natural game and be ourselves. That said, I think Zin can play in place of the tired looking Xhaka and Tierney can come on as LB. This will not only give greater defensive cover but also provide Martinelli/Trossard with greater overlaps which Tierney does effectively and in the meantime Zinchenko can play his natural game as LCM. Also how about giving Nketiah some rest and play Martinelli as CF with Trossard as LW, I think both Martinelli and Trossard will complement each other and we will have a great strikeforce.

    1. 👍
      Freshness is necessary for efficiency. People do forget this guys are human not robots. Even my office printer do request to cool off at times

  17. Jorginho signing was good but Arsenal still lack a body in that area to compete in both PL and Europe. They have 3 players who can play in MF but if one is injured then the other 2 have to play 90 min in every game!!There is not even a quality young player from academy on the bench .

  18. These kinds of overwrought, negative panic-filled articles really need scaling back.
    This is a great PL season. The results from game to game look increasingly unpredictable. Who would have guessed that the likes of Chelsea and Liverpool would be so far down the table at this stage.
    The fact that we are leading the PL at this stage is fantastic. We pulled out a great result against Aston Villa in what was an exciting game.
    We have the foundations of a great team. We have a great chance to make history.
    C’mon JA surely you can do better than this.

    1. David
      JA is all about opinions and you make it sound like ALL articles are negative. You know better than that. And you also know that all Arsenal fans are entitled to their own opinions whether you agree with them or not.

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